Veterinary Surgical Assistance

Science & Technology
Veterinary Technology
Course Code
VTEC 2304
Semester Length
15 weeks + Practicum
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered


Course Description
This course will detail aseptic technique, upkeep of surgical areas, packs and equipment, preparation of the patient for surgery, anticipation of surgeon’s needs and post-operative care of surgical patients. Each student will scrub into and assist during live animal surgery. Enrollment is limited to students in the Veterinary Technology Program.
Course Content

The major topics in this course include the following:

  1. Aseptic technique
    - techniques to reduce rates of infection and contamination
    - differentiation between disinfection and sterilization
    - physical and chemical methods of sterilization
  2. Surgical instrumentation and equipment
    -  general surgery instruments
    -  specialty surgery instruments including ophthalmic, orthopedic, and arthroscopic
    -  care and maintenance of instruments, surgical drapes and gowns
    -  preparing histological sections, including techniques for fixation and sample submission
  3. Surgical assistance
    -  preparation of the surgical suite, personnel and the patient
    -  proper positioning of the patient
    -  maintenance of sterility in the operating room
    -  surgical assistance for specific surgical procedures
    -  prepare and submit tissue samples for histology
  4. Suturing
    - suture materials, needles and alternative closure techniques
    - perform basic suturing techniques.
  5. Wound healing and bandaging
    -  wound lavage, debridement and methods of closure
    -  wound management and bandaging in small animals
Learning Activities

This course includes five to seven hours of classroom and laboratory instruction per week with additional practicum placements.

Means of Assessment

The instructor will present a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester. A final minimum cumulative grade of “C” or 60% is required (in both lecture and lab components) in order to pass this course. Evaluation will be based on quizzes and assignments, practical evaluations including a final practical examination, at least one midterm and a final written examination.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course the student will be able to:

  1. Utilize aseptic technique for the preparation of surgical equipment including methods of sterilization.
  2. Perform proper pre-operative surgical suite, personnel and patient preparation.
  3. Recognize and describe the purpose of general surgery instruments, and some specialized equipment.
  4. Maintain and appropriately handle surgical instruments and equipment.
  5. Perform the duties of surgical assistant and circulating nurse.
  6. Describe proper patient positioning and tissue handling and care during surgery.
  7. Describe suture materials, surgical needles and various suture patterns and their uses.
  8. Demonstrate simple suture patterns that can be used by the veterinary technologist.
  9. Take responsibility for patient recovery and care.
  10. Discuss the principles of wound healing, proper closure and methods of wound care.
  11. Perform proper wound care and bandaging in small animals.
Textbook Materials

A list of required and optional textbooks and materials is provided for students at the beginning of each semester.



Successful completion of Year 1 of the Veterinary/Animal Health Technology Program





Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for VTEC 2304
There are no applicable transfer credits for this course.

Course Offerings

Summer 2023