Course Overview

It is important for the members of the medical team to have a strong foundation in fluid therapy and in transfusion medicine. Technicians place catheters, do blood typing and crossmatching, administer fluids and blood products, and monitor patients. Assistants help with all aspects of patient care and will benefit from understanding fluid therapy and transfusion medicine so they can recognize complications and anticipate the needs of the doctor, technician, or patient.

Fluid therapy is a cornerstone of veterinary care. Providing safe, appropriate hydration and returning patients to electrolyte and fluid balance takes skill and an understanding of the factors involved. Veterinary technicians are generally responsible for patient preparation and treatment plan implementation and must be diligent guardians of ongoing treatment and catheter care. It is crucial that technicians understand why fluids are essential, the different types of fluids available, and how to provide them. Intravenous fluid therapy is vital for the management of shock, dehydration, and maintenance in animals that require parenteral fluid therapy.

Since the early 1980s, blood product administration to treat critically ill animals, or those undergoing surgical procedures, has increased tremendously. However, it is important to note that blood products are obtained from donor animals and represent a limited resource that is not available in all situations. Because they are biologic products, they bear the inherent risks of transmitting infectious diseases or causing other adverse reactions. Technicians in the critical care setting play a key role in providing safe and effective transfusion therapy and, therefore, should be aware of the principles of transfusion medicine. The safe use of blood component therapy requires knowledge of blood groups and antibody prevalence, and knowledge of the means to minimize the risk of adverse reactions by including the use of proper donors and screening assays that facilitate detection of serological incompatibility. Transfusion medicine is a vital part of veterinary emergency and critical care medicine.

EEC: Fluid Therapy and Transfusion Medicine will help team members provide stronger medical support and practices provide superior medical services.

This course was formally titled Basic Principles of Fluid Therapy and Transfusion Medicine.


Continuing Education Credits

Course meets the requirements for 15 RACE hours of continuing education credit for veterinary technicians 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 57-1175.


Course Content

ECC: Fluid Therapy and Transfusion Medicine is a 5-week course that will cover the topics of electrolytes, fluid therapy, transfusion medicine, and acid-base in relation to the treatment of dogs and cats. Participants will discover the importance of each electrolyte contained in various therapeutic fluids, what these electrolytes are and how they work to balance electrolyte deficiencies in compromised patients.

Once the student develops a good familiarity with electrolytes, they will proceed into learning about various venous access points in dogs and cats as well as the types of intravenous catheters, insertion techniques, and maintenance of the catheter site. Types of fluids will also be discussed including their usage for shock therapy and specific patient ailments. An introduction to transfusion medicine is included in this course and provides the student with the knowledge of blood products, transfusion reactions, and transfusion patient management. The last component of this course discusses acid-base balance, its importance in patient fluid therapy management, and blood gas interpretation.


Course Focus and Learning Objectives

ECC: Fluid Therapy and Transfusion Medicine is designed for practice team members who are seeking a strong grounding in the principles of these two vital components of medical treatment.

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

  • Explain the advantages and disadvantages of various types of IV catheters
  • Describe the advantages and disadvantages of IV catheter insertion site options
  • Identify IV cathete- related problems, their causes, and solutions
  • Discuss different fluid types and their usages
  • Explain electrolyte abnormalities, their consequences, and treatment
  • Distinguish between various blood products and list their advantages and disadvantages
  • Manage a patient receiving a blood transfusion
  • Recognize and respond to a transfusion reaction
  • Outline the basic contributors to acid-base status
  • Interpret a basic blood gas reading


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.


Participant Feedback

...I liked the mathematical/ blood gas problems the best. It allowed for me to see how the equations come together and solve them myself. Information about electrolytes was most beneficial for me.

...This course covered everything I wanted to learn about transfusion medicine. I am pleased and am taking away a lot of knowledge I didn't have before.

...This course was a really good refresher course. I would strongly recommend this course to any technicians who wants to become more familiar with fluid therapy.

...I really appreciated the fluid therapy, bolus and maintenance volumes. I really appreciated the review of which fluid was beneficial to certain diseases. This will help me tremendously for my job. I really enjoyed and learned the most from the transfusions. Different kinds of blood used for certain conditions. I feel much more confident and proficient in both these categories and eager to share them with my team.

...The indepth studies of fluid therapy and blood transfusion, exceeded what was covered in school.

...Most beneficial were the assignments/case studies that discussed the different types of fluids, why they were used, calculated maintenance volume, etc.


Required Materials

Small Animal Critical Care Medicine Authored by: Deborah Silverstein DVM, DACVECC and Kate Hopper BVSc, MVSc, 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.


Additional Courses Using Required Text


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

Brandy Tabor, BS, CVT, VTS (ECC)Brandy Tabor, BS, CVT, VTS (ECC)

A native of Colorado, Brandy graduated from Colorado State University in the spring of 2003 with a BS in Equine Sciences. While attending CSU, she worked as a nurse’s assistant in the Critical Care Unit at the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Here, she learned just how far you can go with a career as a veterinary technician. She enrolled in Front Range Community College in Loveland, CO, graduating in 2005. Brandy then moved to Parker, CO where she currently works as an emergency and critical care technician. She had the honor of becoming a member of the Academy of Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care Technicians in 2008.

Brandy has a passion for writing and has written several articles for Veterinary Technician magazine including ”Recognizing and Treating Diabetic Ketoacidosis”, “Heatstroke in Dogs”, and “Osteoarthritis”

Brandy currently lives with two birds, three cats, and one crazy dog.



Price: $162.00



VetMedTeam 2014