Course Overview

Over the past 16 years, there has been increasing recognition of the importance of properly assessing and managing pain. A fundamental part of practicing good medicine, human or veterinary, is recognizing and treating pain. Society has an increased concern for the ethical and compassionate care of humans and animals suffering from pain and distress. Making pain management a priority in your practice means that every person on the team has an important role to play in identifying pain in every animal. Relieving pain is compassionate care at its best, and compassionate care is both a quality-of-care and a quality-of-life issue. The pain management team consists of veterinarians, credentialed veterinary technicians, veterinary technician assistants, kennel staff, groomers, receptionists, and practice managers.

Effective management of pain requires ongoing diligence on the part of the entire veterinary team. Owners, Zoo Caretakers and/or Principle Investigators and their laboratory staff need to be educated regarding pain and what to look for. Once a pain management plan has been made, the team must maintain consistent contact with the primary daily caretaker to assess the animal’s status and adjust management plans accordingly. Delegating specific tasks to each team member will help ensure this happens.

Through a variety of educational modalities, the veterinary team has the opportunity to improve their understanding of pain, and to incorporate this new found knowledge into their day to day practice.

Pain Management: Focus on Large, Exotic and Laboratory Animals is an 8-week course focuses on the physiology of pain and the development of acute pain to chronic and neuropathic pain. Recognition of pain and development of a pain scale to use in your practice or facility will be strongly reviewed. Pharmacologic management of pain for large, exotic and laboratory animals will be studied in detail. Multimodal analgesia will be discussed extensively since this has been designated as the most effective way to manage pain. Physical medicine issues such as acupuncture and rehabilitation will be briefly discussed. Finally, participation in detailed case studies will enable the student to be a valuable, contributing member to the veterinary health care team in the welfare of their animal patients. Participants are not required to work in practice to complete this course. 

This course was previously titles Advanced Concepts of Pain Management: Large, Exotic and Lab Animals.


Continuing Education Credits

Course meets the requirements for 25 RACE hours of continuing education credit for veterinary technicians and veterinarians in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB's RACE approval. However, participants should be aware that some boards have limitations on the number of hours accepted in certain categories and/or restrictions on certain methods of delivery.

This course is an interactive online course that meets RACE requirements; program number 57-11150.


Course Content

This 8-week course will focus on the physiology of pain and the development of acute pain to chronic and neuropathic pain. Topics discussed include pain terminology and clinical presentation of pain, physiology of pain, how stress can affect animals, strategies for pain management, analgesic drugs, their usage, contraindications and interactions, analgesic techniques, pain management for specific conditions and procedures, chronic pain and implement its management, complementary and alternative medicine techniques available for large, exotic and laboratory animals, pain management scale, and Constant Rate Infusions and how they can be utilized as part of the analgesic plan.


Course Focus and Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Use and understand pain terminology
  • Define the physiology of pain
  • Explain how stress can affect animals
  • Recognize the signs of pain
  • Develop strategies for pain management
  • Identify analgesic drugs, their usage, contraindications and interactions
  • Describe and understand analgesic techniques
  • Demonstrate pain management for specific conditions and procedures
  • Interpret chronic pain and implement its management
  • Discuss what Complementary and Alternative Medicine Techniques are available for Large, Exotic and Laboratory Animals
  • Create a pain management scale to be utilized in your practice
  • Explain how Constant Rate Infusions can be utilized as part of the analgesic plan


Participant Feedback

...The quizzes really made me read the text in detail and helped me learn a lot. The instructor (Mary Ellen Goldberg) was super helpful in providing lots of relevant resources and feedback.

...-the assignments made me more fully understand the concepts that I had studied in the text and how to apply them - I truly learned the material to a point that I could share the knowledge with colleagues -I have always been very active with pain management in research animals. This provided me with information about a lot more options even though I think that what we do now is very effective, improvements can always be made. -the extra papers and powerpoint presentations were great - it is always easier to truly learn when more than a textbook is used -I am comfortable with the level of information and of safety presented for agents that I haven't used previously

...The supplemental materials provided by the instructor were wonderful. The instructor is very knowledgable and able to provide significant amounts of information.

...Mary Ellen provided individual attention and had a wealth of resources and information available to answer questions and give additional instruction.
...It stimulated my interest and research in to analgesia in my patients and it is already benefiting our practice. The 2-4 hours a week is most likely on the course material itself but a further 2-4 hours where spent on tangent articles found in literature searches. (This has been a good thing for increaseing our knowledge)


Participation Access Parameters

The design of this course allows participants to enroll at any time. 

After enrolling, please allow up to 48 hours for course activation. Each participant will have a personal start and end date that begins upon activation.


Required Materials

Handbook of Veterinary Pain Management - second edition James Gaynor, DVM, MS, DACVA, DAAPM and William Muir, DVM, MSc, PhD, DACVA, DACVECC

Important Text Information:

It is mandatory that each participant has access to this textbook as the content of the book is not reproduced within the course. It is up to each person to determine the best way to acquire the text. Some will already have the text in their library and, therefore, will not need to purchase another copy. The text is available as a print publication and as an eBook. Where to purchase and in what format is totally up to the participant. The text is not included in the fee for this course.

USA residents: Elsevier texts, both print and eBook, are available via the VetMedTeam Elsevier Text Portal at discounts off regular retail of 25 - 35 %. If you would like to visit the portal to take advantage of the discount please use this link:

VetMedTeam's Elsevier Text Portal

Important: Regardless of which option the participant chooses, access to a copy of the textbook is mandatory. Without the text, the student will not be able to complete the assignments, case studies and examinations. If enrolling close to or beyond the course start date, it is recommended that the text be purchased as an eBook to prevent text acquisition related delays. VetMedTeam has no control over shipping delays and other related problems.


Course Completion Requirements

Completed students are awarded a certificate of completion. Completion requirements include:

  • Instructor Graded Interactive Module Assignments: Designed to help the participant reinforce newly learned material

  • Instructor Graded Interactive Case Study Assignments: Designed to help the participant apply the newly learned skills and knowledge though patient and practice based scenarios

  • Examinations: All examinations must be submitted with a score of 80% or better

  • Course survey


Course Instructor

Mary Ellen Goldberg, BS, CVT, VMT, LAAS, SRAMary Ellen Goldberg, BS, CVT, VMT, LAAS, SRA

Mary Ellen Goldberg graduated from Harcum College and the University of Pennsylvania. She took the Virginia state boards and is also licensed in the state of Florida. Mary Ellen is a Surgical Research Anesthetist certified through the Academy of Surgical Research.

She worked at the Virginia Commonwealth University in the Division of Animal Resources as a Laboratory Animal Anesthesia and Analgesia Specialist and has been the instructor of Anesthesia and Pain Management at VetMedTeam, LLC since 2003.

In addition, she is the Co-Editor of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management’s newsletter and active in the formation of Academy credentialing for veterinary technicians and veterinarians. Mary Ellen is an elected member of the Board of Directors and Executive Secretary of the IVAPM (International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management). She is on the Exam Writing Committee and the Case Study Review Committee as part of the credentialing process for Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner (CVPP). She is a member of the Executive Committee. She is a member of the American Academy of Pain Management, American Society of Pain Educators, and Association of Veterinary Anaesthetists.

Mary Ellen has now been appointed to the faculty at the Mannheimer Foundation, Inc., a primate facility in South Florida, to teach residents in Laboratory Animal Medicine from the University of Florida and other Veterinary Colleges about Primate Anesthesia and Analgesia. Mary Ellen is part of the faculty/staff for Canine Trigger Point Therapy Programs in The Woodlands, Texas. She does relief work as a veterinary technician for the Lion Country Safari Hospital in Loxahatchee, Florida.

Mary Ellen has worked in various aspects of veterinary medicine from small animal and equine to mixed practice, coccidiosis research for a pharmaceutical company, zoo animal medicine and laboratory animal medicine.

She lives in Boynton Beach, Florida with her husband. She has 3 grown sons.


Upcoming Sessions



Price: $211.00



VetMedTeam 2014