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Veterinary Surgical Assistance

Course Code: AHTT 2304
Faculty: Science & Technology
Credits: 4.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Lab, Field Experience
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course will detail aseptic technique; review routine upkeep of surgical areas, packs and equipment; preparation of animal and surgical sites, anticipation of surgeon’s needs, and monitoring surgical patients. The technologist’s role in assisting in actual and simulated surgeries will be emphasized in addition to post-surgical care and counseling client. Enrollment is limited to students in the Animal Health Technology Program.

Course Content

The major topics in the course include the following:

1. Aseptic technique

- principles of techniques to reduce rates of infection and contamination

- differentiation between disinfectation 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 instrument packs, surgical drapes and gowns

-  understand the methodology of preparing histological sections, including techniques for fixation and sample submission

3. Surgical assistance

-  preparation of the surgical suite and personnel, as well the patient pre-operatively

-  proper positioning of the patient

-  maintenance of sterility in the operating room

-  surgical assistance with specific surgical procedures

4. Suture material

-  qualities of suture material, needles and alternate closure techniques

5. Wound healing and bandaging

-  wound lavage, debridement and methods of closure

-  wound management in small and large animals with emphasis on the equine

6. Large animal anaesthesia and surgical assistance

- provision of adequate analgesia/anaesthesia and humane treatment to ensure patient comfort

- aspects of aseptic technique, preparation of surgery, personnel and patient pre-operatively

- practical wound healing and management, bandaging techniques and patient care post-operatively

Methods of Instruction

This course involves up to three hours per week of classroom instruction and two to five hours per week of laboratory activity for six weeks, in addition to up to eight hours per day for six weeks of Workplace Lab Instruction in small and large animal veterinary clinics to develop significant levels of ability with respect to practical skills.

Means of Assessment

Quiz # 1                                                                                              10-15 %

Quiz # 2                                                                                              10-15                                                                                                            

Laboratory Assignments & Projects                                                            30

Professionalism (Preparation, Participation & Attendance)                            10

Final Examination                                                                                   30


Grades:    A+ 95-100,      A 90-94,      A- 85-89,      B+ 80-84,      B 75-79,      B- 70-74,

                   C+ 65-69,         C 60-64,      C- 55-59,      P 50-54,        F 0-49.

Learning Outcomes

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

1.  understand the principles of aseptic technique including methods of sterilization.

2.  perform proper pre-operative surgical suite, personnel and patient preparation.

3.  individual general surgery instruments, as well as the specialized equipment.

4.  undertake the care and handling of instruments and equipment requiring disinfection and sterilization.

5.  understand the role of the animal health technician in surgical assistance.

6.  recognize proper patient and tissue handling and care.

7.  describe qualities of suture materials and nomenclature.

8.  accept responsibility for patient recovery and care.

9.  understand the principles of wound healing, proper closure and methods of wound care.

10. perform proper wound management and bandaging in small and large animals.

course prerequisites

Successful completion of Year 1 of the AHT program.

curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.