Veterinary refresher scheme for companion animal practice
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Veterinary refresher scheme for companion animal practice

This course is for veterinarians returning to companion animal practice or those wanting to change to companion animal practice from another area of clinical practice. It is also a mini-refresher course for those veterinarians already in companion animal practice.

 Export to Your Calendar 1/01/2020 to 31/12/2020
When: Start now!
Where: Online
New Zealand
Contact: Shannon Leader
+64 4 495 1145

Online registration is available until: 30/11/2020
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About this course

  • Can you confidently anaesthetise dogs and cats?
  • Are you up to date with current surgical practices and techniques?
  • Are you comfortable handling the most common medical consultations?

A survey conducted by the Companion Animal Society identified that the biggest barriers for vets re-entering clinical practice after a period of absence was a loss of confidence in their skills, and the concern that they were out of date.

Who should do this course?

This course is for veterinarians returning to companion animal practice or those wanting to change to companion animal practice from another area of clinical practice. It is also a mini-refresher course for those veterinarians already in companion animal practice. Build strong foundations and be confident in your core skills and knowledge for companion animal practice.

It is available to all veterinarians who feel they need to update their knowledge and increase their confidence before going back into practice. It has been particularly helpful for veterinarians who are sitting their NZ registration exams however it is not compulsory. 


This refresher course consists of four companion animal medicine modules. Each module is divided into topics comprising of notes, an assessment quiz and a module discussion forum which participants can use to communicate with other participants.

The course is self-directed and is not facilitated by tutors. The forums are monitored by a representative of the Companion Animal Veterinarians Branch of the NZVA. Participants should expect to complete one to two topics each week (approximately two to four hours of work) each over six to eight weeks.

Once a module is complete, participants will have access to the module certificate and MyCPD record.

Participants can enrol in one, two, three or four modules. The more modules a participant enrols in within one calendar year, the more discount they will receive.

Learning outcomes

All the learning outcomes for each module can be found here.


Module 1: Anaesthesia and critical care
This module starts with a quick summary of the effect of anaesthesia on physiology before taking you through the stages of anaesthesia and recovery, with guidelines for choosing appropriate anaesthetic agents. You’ll learn drugs and dose rates for the most appropriate agents as well as their beneficial and expected side effects. The module covers analgesia, advantages and disadvantages of various anaesthesia machines’ circuits, before discussing anaesthetic and monitoring considerations (including drugs and dose rates) for compromised patients. Lastly, you’ll cover key points about critical care patients

Module 2: Surgery
This module begins with a revision of surgical principles and assessment of the surgical risk for a patient. It covers Halsted’s principles with particular reference to aseptic techniques, choice of suture materials and patterns for different body systems. The examination, diagnosis and treatment options of more commonly encountered surgical procedures will be discussed; this includes orthopaedic, neurologic and oncological conditions.

Module 3: Clinical pathology
Many practices now have “in-clinic” analysers that provide results, but not interpretation. This module helps you with interpretation of laboratory data and what tests are available in clinical practice. It starts with interpretation of anaemia and the underlying causes and then abnormalities of the white blood cell count. You will discuss the laboratory changes seen in liver, kidney, pancreatic, and hormonal diseases and discover why certain tests are better than others for many of the hormonal diseases. Microbiology and serology of viral diseases commonly seen in practice is discussed as well as recently available clinical tests such as DNA and PCR testing.

Module 4: Medicine and practical pharmacology
This module deals with the most common consultations seen in companion animal practice. These include vaccinations, cat fight abscesses and animals presenting with urinary, skin, cardiac and neurological conditions. It takes you through the problem as it would present in a consultation, its clinical examination, plus diagnostic, treatment and monitoring options. It also discusses any recent changes in relevant diagnostic testing and treatment.


Sandra Forsyth BVSc, DipACVA
Sandra graduated in 1980 gaining clinical experience in New Zealand and Britain before instructing in Anaesthesia at the University of Missouri, and a Residency in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care at the University of California. Sandra is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Anaesthesiologists and an experienced clinical pathologist. She is currently a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Pathology at Massey University and Resident Clinical Pathologist for NZVP.

Andrew Worth BVSc, MACVSc (Radiology), PGDipVCSc, FACVSc (SA Surgery)
Andrew spent nine years in small animal practice prior to undertaking a residency in small animal surgery at Massey University, where he is now a senior lecturer and Specialist Small Animal Surgeon. Andrew is a Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists.

Kate Hill BVSc, ACVIM
Kate graduated in 1996 and undertook a Residency in Small Animal Medicine at Purdue University in 1999. She is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, and a Registered Veterinary Specialist with the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council. Kate is currently a Senior Lecturer in Small Animal Medicine at Massey University.

CPD points

Activities in this course can be recorded under either:

  • Self-directed learning (2hrs = 1 pt)
  • Continuing veterinary education (1hr = 1 pt)
  • Collegial learning activity (1hr = 1 pt)

Australian veterinarians, contact your local veterinary board for CPD points allocation.

NZVA members can allocate CPD points by completing this course in both the SDL and CVE categories. Participants will need to record the number of hours they do to calculate their CPD points.

Pricing information

NZVA member:
1 module $300
2 modules $535
3 modules $700
4 modules $800
1 module $450
2 modules $805
3 modules $1,050
4 modules $1,200

Terms and conditions

Please click here to find out more about NZVA events and education terms and conditions.