Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2021
Units: 5
Hours: 5 lecture per week (60 total per quarter)
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Non-GE
Transferable: CSU
Grade Type: Letter Grade Only
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Describe the role of the Veterinary Assistant in the veterinary health care team; articulate and distinguish the scope of allowable tasks and responsibilities from those of the Licensed Veterinary Technician.
  • Describe the essential tasks and responsibilities of the Veterinary Assistant working in the front office of the veterinary practice.


First in a two-course series in the theory and practice of veterinary assisting focusing on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required for competent support to the veterinarian (DVM) and to the registered veterinary technician (RVT). Emphasis is on the practical aspects of front office management, working as part of the veterinary health care team. Entirely online and may be taken as a stand-alone class or may be combined with V T 52B and V T 88A to earn the Certificate of Achievement in Veterinary Assisting.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. Describe the scope of the veterinary medical profession.
B. State the specific job descriptions of each member of the veterinary health care team.
C. List and classify the various career choices available to the veterinary assistant.
D. Define and explain professionalism as it relates to the veterinary profession.
E. Use effective verbal and written communication in all assignments.
F. Discuss the importance of the human-animal bond.
G. Describe the euthanasia process and the five stages of grief.
H. Discuss proper telephone skills.
I. Apply appropriate conflict resolution techniques when working with difficult people.
J. Apply standard procedures when working with medical records, authorization and consent forms, and hospital logs.
K. Explain the proper procedure for patient admission and discharge.
L. Demonstrate proper appointment scheduling skills.
M. List and explain the components of a comprehensive workplace safety plan.
N. Describe proper sanitation and disinfection in the veterinary hospital.
O. Use proper medical terminology in all work-related speaking and writing.
P. Demonstrate entry level pharmacy skills.
Q. Outline the basic nutritional requirements for healthy dogs and cats.

Course Content

A. Scope of the veterinary medical profession
1. Small animal practice
2. Large animal practice
3. Specialty practices
4. Shelter medicine
5. Exotics
6. Zoo
7. Biomedical
B. Job descriptions within the veterinary health care team
1. Veterinarian
2. Registered (licensed) veterinary technician
3. Veterinary assistant
4. Kennel worker
5. Receptionist
6. Practice manager
C. Career choices available to the veterinary assistant
1. Private practice: small and large animal
2. Biomedical
3. Retail
4. Shelters
5. Boarding kennels
6. Dog walking, petsitting
D. Professional codes of conduct
1. Appearance, dress, grooming, hygiene
2. Behavior
3. Communication
4. Work ethic
E. Effective communication skills
1. Listening skills
2. Verbal and non-verbal communication
F. Human-animal bond
1. The companion animal's role in society
2. Importance of the pet as a family member
G. Euthanasia: process and the five stages of grief
1. Medical procedure of euthanasia
2. Pet loss and grieving
3. Stages of grief
H. Telephone skills
1. Talking with clients on the phone
2. Triage
3. Scheduling appointments
I. Conflict resolution techniques
1. Strategies for working with difficult people
2. Types of difficult people
3. Resolving conflict
J. Medical record keeping
1. Assembling medical records
2. SOAP format
3. Use of a variety of logs
a. Laboratory
b. Radiology
c. Surgery
4. Authorization and consent forms
K. Procedures for patient admission and discharge
1. Office visits
a. Admission
b. Discharge
c. Client education
2. Hospitalization
a. Admission
b. Discharge
c. Client education
L. Appointment scheduling skills
M. Components of a comprehensive workplace safety plan
1. Illness and injury prevention plan
2. Code of safe practices
3. Hazardous materials lists
5. Medical waste
6. Sharps
7. Anesthetic waste gases
8. Taking radiographs
9. PPE
10. Zoonoses
N. Desanitation and disinfection in the veterinary hospital
1. Disinfectant scrubs and solutions
2. Universal precautions
3. Appropriate PPE for task at hand
O. Medical terminology
1. Prefixes and suffixes
2. Common terms by body system
3. Common abbreviations and acronyms
P. Basic pharmacy skills
1. Reading and interpreting prescriptions
2. Five Rights
3. Proper prescription labeling
4. Determining how much to dispense
5. Explaining medications to clients
Q. Canine and feline nutrition
1. Nutritional requirements for healthy animals
a. Energy producing nutrients
b. Non energy producing nutrients
2. Feeding recommendations for companion animals
3. Prescription diets

Lab Content

Not applicable.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

Multimedia capable computer and access to the internet.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Written quizzes and examinations
Written assignments and projects
Participation in class discussion forums

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

Electronic discussions/chat
Online course modules

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Sonsthagen, Teresa. Tasks for the Veterinary Assistant, 4th ed.. 2019.

Romich, Janet A.. An Illustrated Guide to Veterinary Medical Terminology, 4th ed.. 2014.

Although the Romich text is older than the suggested "5 years or newer" standard, it remains seminal in this area of study.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. Weekly reading assignments from online modules, text, internet resources, and other outside sources, ranging from 30-60 pages per week.
B. Written assignments, participation in online forum discussions.


Registered Veterinary Technician