Course Overview

"...the specialty of exotic pet mammal medicine and surgery has become more mainstream in veterinary practice, and, as a matter of fact, has become an integral component of most small animal clinical practices. The knowledge base has expanded tremendously as interest in small mammals has prompted research in these animals not as just as laboratory species, but as companion animals. As information about these species has become much more accessible via Internet websites and chat groups, the public has increasingly recognized that these species are valued as pets and deserving of high quality veterinary care. Many pet owners look beyond the financial value of these animals and expect state of the art veterinary care at the same level as that given to dogs and cats...we therefore must be able to provide a high level of medical and surgical care, based on a solid knowledge base, for these pets."

Katherine E. Quesenberry, DVM, MPH, Diplomate ABVP (Avian) and James W. Carpenter, MS, DVM, Diplomate

This course designed to help veterinary technicians advance their knowledge of the diseases and disorders that often present to practices, enabling them to provide comprehensive client education, and to help develop effective diagnostic and treatment protocols.


Continuing Education Credits

Course meets the requirements for 18 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 is an interactive online course that meets RACE requirements; program number 57-19496.


Course Focus, Content, and Learning Objectives

Veterinary Nursing: Diseases and Disorders of Companion Animal Exotics is a 6-week, advanced level course that covers diseases and disorders of ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas, small rodents, sugar gliders, and hedgehogs. Each species is unique in the diseases and disorders they experience. Individual systems are examined in the light of viral, bacterial, and parasite infections, along with neoplasia.

This course is designed for veterinary technicians seeking to advance their skills and knowledge in exotic medicine, including those working towards their VTS in clinical practice (exotic companion animal medicine).

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

  • compare and contrast diseases of the gastrointestinal tract in ferrets including viral and bacterial diarrhea
  • identify and discuss disorders of the urinary tract system in ferrets
  • identify and discuss cardiac and respiratory diseases in ferrets, including myocarditis, heartworm disease, influenza, and pneumonia
  • evaluate endocrine and dermatological related diseases in ferrets
  • recognize Gastrointestinal Stasis in rabbits
  • compare and contrast respiratory diseases, including Pasteurellosis, in rabbits
  • identify and discuss disorders of the urinary tract and reproductive system in rabbits
  • compare and contrast bacterial, fungal, parasite, and viral dermatological infections of rabbits
  • identify and discuss diseases of guinea pigs, chinchillas, and other small rodents
  • compare and contrast diseases of sugar gliders, and hedgehogs including neoplasia, musculoskeletal and, reproductive disorders


Open Enrollment and Activity Requirements

Open enrollment allows students to enroll in a course at a time that is best for their schedule. Each participant has a personal start and end date. Unless otherwise requested, a participant's start date will be within 48 hours of payment submission.

During their personal 6 weeks of access time, the participant is not expected to be online in the course at any specific times as there are no real time lectures. However, all assignments must be submitted by the assignment deadline date.

This course is designed to be as schedule friendly as possible as we understand it can be hard to fit interactive CE into an already busy schedule.


Completion Requirements

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

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

  • Module and Course Examination: Examinations must be submitted with a score of 80% or better

  • Course Survey


Technology Requirements

It is recommended that participants utilize a program such as MS Word to create, and save, their assignment submission to their computer. Then the information can be pasted into the assignment submission area.

Some sections of the course give the student the option of viewing on the page or via a PDF document; the latter facilitates downloading for future reference.


Required Materials

Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents – Clinical Medicine and Surgery 3rd Edition Katherine Quesenberry, DVM, Dipl ABVP (Avian) and James W. Carpenter, MS, DVM, Dipl ACZM 

Important Text Information:

It is mandatory that each participant has access to this textbook as the contents of the book are 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 it 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.


Participant Feedback

...I liked that the assignments required an in-depth study of the material in order to complete them. I felt the instructor expected much more than a cursory response for the assignments and case studies and therefore I was required to really convey my understanding of the diseases and disorders covered in the class. I liked this challenge. While the modules assigned certain chapters in the text for reading, the book offered many additional chapters that would supplement the information needed to complete the written assignments. I thought the text was a great resource for this class -- thorough but not too technical; that is, the information was accessible. Feedback on the assignments was returned in a timely manner and I felt the instructor was available for any questions.

...The case studies were wonderful and the follow up questions after some of them really helped me hone my skills more. It is nice to take a step outside of typical clinical practice and evaluate all the possibilities not just what you have learned through your employer! I actually feel much more secure in my applying for the VTS!

...The assignments were good. They were very time consuming but really made me look deeper into the subject matter than I would have without.

...I enjoyed the case studies the most because I could figure out differentials, diagnostics, and treatments as if it was a real patient.

...It was nice to have my own timeline to complete the modules and case studies.


Course Instructor

Jody Nugent-Deal, RVT, VTS (Anesthesia), VTS (Clinical Practice-Exotic Companion Animal)Jody Nugent-Deal, RVT, VTS (Anesthesia), VTS (Clinical Practice-Exotic Companion Animal)

Jody Nugent-Deal is a Registered Veterinary Technician and a Veterinary Technician Specialist (VTS) in Anesthesia and in Clinical Practice - Exotic Companion Animal. Jody has worked for the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital since 1999, working in the Companion Exotics Department for 10 years and currently the Small Animal Anesthesia Department where she is the supervisor.

She is a founding member of the Academy of Veterinary Technicians in Clinical Practice and is the executive secretary for the group as well as the appeals committee chair. Jody is an active member with the Academy of Veterinary Technicians in Anesthesia and Analgesia having served on the nominations, credentials and appeals committees. Jody is currently a Member At Large for the AVTAA. Jody also serves on the board for CaRVTA.

She has lectured throughout North America since 2000 on anesthesia and various exotic animal topics. Jody has published numerous articles and book chapters for both canine/feline and exotic animal medicine and anesthesia topics. Jody is an instructor for both VSPN and VetMedTeam and she has a special interest in anesthesia, analgesia, pain management and critical care in exotics and dogs and cats.

In Jody's spare time, she loves to read, visit the ocean, run, road and mountain bike.



Price: $179.00

This course is eligible for the 10% Multi-course discount. To learn more about the discount please visit the Multi-Course Discount page.