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.

Anesthesia is required for most surgical procedures, rendering the patient immobile, unaware, and without pain. In addition, certain diagnostic procedures require anesthesia, notably stomach or airway endoscopy, bone marrow sampling, and occasionally ultrasound. Animals may require anesthesia for therapeutic procedures, such as urinary catheterization to relieve obstruction, injection into a mass, or removing fluid from the eye to treat glaucoma. Aggressive animals may require anesthesia in order to be safely and humanely handled for even the most general of procedures, such as a physical exam or blood draw.

In addition to anesthesia, analgesia is often managed by anesthesiologists and anesthetists and included in the considerations for anesthesia. A balanced anesthesia protocol can be utilized for different drugs with different effects so that a high dose of just one drug can be avoided. The movement to higher quality anesthetic management requires a commitment to our patients. We are not just adding medications and monitoring equipment. We must look at our patients as a separate individual. Is the patient young or old, calm or excitable, small or large, healthy or diseased?

By thinking of our patients as individuals, we can adjust a given protocol to achieve the best possible balance of safety and comfort. Through the application of advances, we can provide a much more valuable service to our clients and provide safer anesthesia for our patients. We need to forget the thought that anesthesia is giving so many mg per kg of drug, with the only question being the weight of the animal. This course can provide a basis for viewing anesthetic management as the essential of quality veterinary medicine that it should be. It is recommended, although not required, for participants to work in practice to complete this course.

Partner Courses: The art and science of anesthesia and analgesia is constantly adapting to new advances. Anesthesia: Advancing Small Animal Procedures and Protocols: Part One and Anesthesia: Advancing Small Animal Procedures and Protocols: Part Two are partner courses designed to provide advanced level training to help practitioners and veterinary technicians update and expand their procedures and protocols. 

Anesthesia: Advancing Small Animal Procedures and Protocols: Part One provides an in-depth review of the evaluation, considerations, and regulation of acid-base balance and fluid therapy. The anesthetic management of dogs and cats across such considerations as species, age, breed, and other factors like trauma and pre-existing disease are also addressed. Drug selection from the viewpoint of procedure-related factors covers topics including the level of invasiveness and length of procedure. The next section reviews the anesthesia and immobilization of small mammals like laboratory rodents, pocket pets and non-domesticated/exotic patients. This course then moves into anesthetic considerations for special procedures such as ocular, cesarean, trauma and the critically ill, neonatal and geriatric, dental and orthopedic. Select procedures including laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy, CT and MRI are addressed as well. Please review the learning objectives and content sections below for more details. 

Anesthesia: Advancing Small Animal Procedures and Protocols: Part Two picks up where Part One left off, starting with considerations for patients with cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and airway compromise. It also addresses neurological disease, endocrine disorders, renal disease and liver disease. The final module reviews the factors involved in anesthesia emergencies and accidents including high-risk patients, cardiovascular emergencies like cardiac arrest, respiratory insufficiency, delayed recovery and other situations that need to be understood and planned for. It is recommended, but not required, that participants take the courses in order. It is also highly recommended that the participant have a strong foundation in the fundamental principles of anesthesia, well beyond a surface training in dial-setting and number watching. The content covered in our Basic Principles of Anesthesia Part One and Part Two courses should already be mastered. The advanced courses build on a foundation and will not provide basic level training.

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: Advancing Small Animal Procedures and Protocols Part Two catalog page.

This course was formally titled Advanced Concepts of Anesthesia, Small Animal Part One.


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 57-10159.


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.


Course Content

Anesthesia: Advancing Small Animal Procedures and Protocols Part One is an advanced level 6-week course. The content, assignments, examinations and case studies address acid-base balance, fluid therapy considerations, balanced anesthesia, drug selection and procedure-related factors in patients with special needs and situations. It covers anesthesia and immobilization of a number of small animal species. Ocular, cesaarian, trauma, critically ill, neonatal, geriatric, dental, orthopedic and select diagnostic procedures are also reviewed.


Course Focus and Learning Objectives

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

  • Define acid-base balance, identify systems responsible for maintaining acid-base balance, discuss simple and mixed disorders and compare alternative approaches to acid-base analysis
  • Evaluate fluid and electrolyte distribution and develop perianesthetic fluid therapy protocols based on patient status
  • Identify and contrast crystalloids, colloids and various blood products
  • Evaluate and select drugs to create a balanced anesthetic protocol
  • Select drugs for anesthesia based on patient-related factors, procedure length and invasiveness
  • Identify appropriate delivery systems and anesthetic agents , develop safe and appropriate anesthetic and analgesia protocols and manage anesthetic emergencies in rabbits, rodents, pocket pets and non-domesticated/exotic patients
  • Identify conditions, evaluate and utilize appropriate anesthetic agents and implement local and regional blocks for ocular surgical patients
  • Assess the alterations on females induced by pregnancy and consider the impact of these alterations on anesthesia
  • Evaluate drugs that cross the placenta, identify appropriate anesthetic drugs for cesarean section patients and anticipate the need and care of neonates
  • Identify and manage shock, administer supportive therapies and determine the best anesthetic protocols in a trauma or critically ill patient
  • Identify the special considerations of, and prepare an anesthetic plan for, a neonate or geriatric patient
  • Explain the importance of local and regional blocks in dental patients
  • Develop an appropriate anesthetic protocol for orthopedic patients that includes local, regional and postoperative analgesia
  • Develop an anesthetic plan for laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy patients
  • Identify contrast agents used for MRI and CT scans
  • Implement safe anesthetic protocols for patients with a mega esophagus
  • Develop anesthetic protocols for an exploratory laparotomy
  • Describe considerations associated with GDV, hemoabdomen, and obesity


Participant Feedback

...Even though it was a little redundant at times I enjoyed the way the assignments were arranged. It forced me to read and comprehend the book material and then apply it in my own way. Most of the procedures talked about my work already performs, however this class helped me sharpen my techniques.

...I felt the recommended reading material was good and I do feel that I have learnt a lot. The supplementary information supplied by Mary Ellen Goldberg was particularly helpful. I did find the text very technical and I struggled to understand some of the concepts.

...Having to come up with anesthetic protocols for different patients is great practice for real life. It allows me to take the time and evaluate the patient's needs.

...I think the critical thinking and case studies were a huge help in putting what I had learned into context, and really made me think about the influence of medications not only on the patient but with each other. I am looking for a more varied approach to anesthesia, and I feel more confident in other drug choices than i would have been.

...I really like Mary Ellen's responses and timely manner she got back to me. Makes me want to sit down at a sidewalk cafe with a cup of coffee and discuss anesthesia :) Thanks ME! I also appreciate the extra articles, very helpful.

...I really liked the assignments. They made me think about what I read about and needed to use that information to complete the assignments.

...I found all the information helpful. It also helped me to remember lessons I was taught in school and implement them at work.


Required Materials

Essentials of Small Animal Anesthesia and Analgesia, 2nd Edition by Kurt A Grimm, William J. Tranquilli, Leigh A Lamont; 2011 Wiley-Blackwell

Important Text Information: This course utilizes a textbook. It is up to each participant 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. Where to purchase and in what format is totally up to the participant. The text is available as a print publication and as an eBook through Wiley-Blackwell. The following link to their website is provided as a courtesy.Scroll down to the bottom of the Wiley-Blackwell page to view all book delivery options:

Purchase Text From Wiley-Blackwell

Important: Regardless of what 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 as the material is not reprinted within the course. 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.


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