Course Overview

Please Note: The instructor for this course will be unavailable from May 3, 2015 to May 21, 2015. Each student's personal end date is being extended by 2 weeks as a result. During this period students will continue to have access to the course and may submit assignments that will be graded upon her return.

General anesthesia is regarded as one of the miracles of medicine. Advances in the art and science of anesthesia have allowed tremendous advances in surgery and medicine. Yet anesthesia is not without its complications and side effects. Decreasing reactions and minimizing side effects, while increasing the effectiveness of anesthesia, must be a primary focus of every team member involved in the anesthesia process. In any discussion of the foundational principles of veterinary anesthesia, it is agreed that practitioners and nurses/technicians must have a strong understanding of, and comfort level with, anesthetic drugs and combinations. Another basic principle is the need to constantly improve existing protocols, either by simple changes or by extensive revision of drugs and procedures. The question every team member needs to ask is “What can I do to make anesthesia safer?”

Anesthesia: Fundamental Concepts and Components: Part One and Anesthesia: Fundamental Concepts and Components: Part Two are partner courses designed to provide a review of foundational knowledge for the safe practice of veterinary anesthesia. For some participants, this will be their initial introduction to the art and science of anesthesia while for other ii will be a valuable refresher course allowing for the inclusion of current practices. Although a foundational level set of offerings, both courses contain material that would be of benefit to many veterinarians. As indicated by a boarded veterinary anesthesiologist who has reviewed the content of this course, “Courses like this allow the practitioner to review the basic concepts they learned in veterinary school as well as to learn about new drugs, techniques, and monitors that are being used." It is recommended, although not required, that participants work in a practice to complete these courses. 

Anesthesia: Fundamental Concepts and Components: Part One covers patient preparation for anesthetic procedures along with current medication options. Anesthetic equipment and workplace safety are included. Please review the learning objectives and content section for more details.

Anesthesia: Fundamental Concepts and Components: Part Two reviews anesthetic monitoring and special techniques such as local anesthesia, assisted and controlled ventilation and neuromuscular blocking agents. This course also provides information on species-specific anesthetic considerations. Participants will choose between companion animal, equine, ruminant and swine, or rodent and rabbit species-specific tracks. Please review the learning objectives and content section for more details. It is recommended, but not required, that participants take the courses in order.

Enrollment: The enrollment button on this page enrolls into the Part One course only. To learn more about Part Two please use this link Anesthesia: Fundamental Concepts and Components: Part Two catalog page.

This course was formally titled Basic Principles of Anesthesia, Part One.


Continuing Education Credits

Course meets the requirements for 15 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 57-13029.


Course Content

Anesthesia: Fundamental Concepts and Components: Part One is a 6-week course that provides an overview of foundational anesthetic concepts and principles. This course is designed for the veterinary technician or veterinarian seeking to solidify and update understanding of core anesthetic principles.

The content, assignments, examinations and case studies address terminology, an overview of anesthetic principles, pre-anesthesia patient assessment and pre-to-post anesthetic drugs. Also addressed are pain-related topics including analgesic agents, types of pain, multimodal therapy and terminology. Endotracheal intubation, anesthetic delivery systems, breathing circuits and oxygen flows, scavenging equipment and hazardous agents round out the content of this course.


Course Focus and Learning Objectives

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

  • Define anesthesia, and differentiate topical, local, regional, general, and surgical anesthesia, including common indications for anesthesia and the fundamental challenges and risks
  • Explain the concept of balanced anesthesia and the advantages of this approach
  • List the qualities and abilities of a successful veterinary anesthetist and explain the importance of effective communication
  • Explain the reasons for preoperative patient evaluation and the components of a minimum patient database
  • Take a complete history, perform a preanesthetic physical assessment, identify findings that affect anesthetic event planning and assign a patient to one of the five physical status classifications as specified by the American Society of Anesthesiologists
  • Discuss the value of intravenous catheterization for patients, describe types and purposes of IV fluids and calculate fluid infusion rates
  • Classify anesthetic agents and adjuncts based on route of administration, time of administration, principal effect, or chemistry as well as indications, mode of action, adverse effects, and use
  • Differentiate agonists, partial agonists, agonist-antagonists, and antagonists based on their action and effect
  • List the inhalation anesthetic agents in common use, and describe their indications, mode of action, effects, adverse effects, and use
  • List the reasons for, and advantages of, endotracheal intubation and choose and prepare an appropriate endotracheal tube
  • Describe the four basic anesthetic delivery systems, identify the parts of each system, and describe the basic operation of an anesthetic machine
  • Explain the use of oxygen supply of the anesthetic machine and trace the flow of oxygen through an anesthetic machine and patient breathing circuit for rebreathing and non-rebreathing systems
  • Compare and contrast vaporizer-out-of-circuit (VOC) and vaporizer-in-circuit (VIC) vaporizers in terms of setup, use, and agents administered in each of these systems
  • Explain the impact of oxygen flow rates on anesthetic concentration within the breathing circuit, changes in anesthetic depth, patient safety, and waste gas production
  • Describe both the short-term and long-term effects of waste anesthetic gas on team members and outline ways in which the release of waste anesthetic gases may be minimized


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

...It was challenging for me. I'm not certified and have never taken any vet tech classes (even though I have a bachelors degree in animal science) so I learned a lot especially about the anesthesia machines and flow rates. Mary Ellen Goldberg was wonderful with her feedback, links, and timely responses. My coworker raved about her so I was really looking forward to taking a course with her.

...I cannot say enough great things about the instructor! She provided a lot of outside materials in addition to the course book that were very tangible and applicable. One article in particular that I truly enjoyed related to Marine Mammal Anesthesia and Analgesia, as I have previously interned as an RVT student at the Marine Mammal Center.

...I'd covered all of this material in school a few years ago, and still had a copy of the previous edition of the text that I used at that time. However, this course was a good refresher on the details that I'd lost in the press of all of my other classes back-when. I particularly found the discussions of carrier gas flow rates and anesthetic pharmacology helpful. I also prefer the current text over the one I already owned.

...I really liked that fact that the material was presented in a way that is clinically relevant. I'm not sure if this is because I am out of school and have some experience or if thats just the way it is. Either way, it is an effective way for me to review this material and think critically about the things I do everyday. Thank you!

...The most beneficial was Getting refreshed on the over all Anesthesia and its concepts. Reminding myself to keep up with the care and maintenance of the anesthetic equipment. Using better balances analgesia and anesthesia in our patients .

...Ms. Goldberg provided timely and abundant feedback. She also provided additional references to strengthen my understanding and application of the course content.


Required Materials

Anesthesia and Analgesia for Veterinary Technicians 4th Edition John A Thomas DVM and Phillip Lerche BVSc, PhD, Dipl ACVA 2011 Mosby/Elsevier

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.



Price: $179.00



VetMedTeam 2014