Back Print Save Bookmark in my Browser Main : Course Catalog : Basic Medical Calculations

Courses open for VSPNer registration

TECH159-0110 : Basic Medical Calculations

Elizabeth Warren, RVT

January 12-February 18, 2010
Real Time Sessions: Monday evenings, January 18, 25 and February 1 and 8, 2010; 8:30pm-10:00pm ET (USA)

This six-hour skills development course reviews the fundamentals of math and is designed to help students learn to work through the types of calculations frequently performed by veterinary technicians and assistants in veterinary practice. There will be a review of basic math concepts and an introduction to the formulas and skills necessary to solve drug and fluid dosage problems and opportunities to practice (as a group and individually) doing the types of medical math problems that we encounter every day in the veterinary hospital.

Medical calculations require the understanding and use of fundamental arithmetic and algebraic concepts. We recommend that you take the pre-course math assessment quiz before enrolling in this course. Though the basics will be reviewed in this course, the time for review is limited, so those who need more thorough instruction in fundamental concepts may have difficulty with the fast pace of this short course.

Elizabeth Warren is an RVT and instructor at Austin Community College, where she teaches first-year courses to veterinary assistant and technician students, including medical calculations. She also works part-time in a veterinary emergency hospital and has been a VSPN staff member since 2001 and is a regular contributor to the VSPN Notebook´┐Ż.

Upon completion of this course, the participant should be able to

TEXTBOOK: There is no required text for this course.
However, the instructor recommends participants have at least one of the following: COURSE OUTLINE:

Week 1: Math assessment and review of decimal numbers, fractions, and percentages
We will discuss the pre-course math assessment quiz as well as math anxiety, and I will share some tips and tricks that can help make math less stressful. We will start thinking about math as a language (very helpful for organizing the information in word problems and interpreting verbal and written medication orders) and practice estimating answers before solving problems. Then we will talk about and work with decimals, fractions, and percentages.

Week 2: Solving for "X" and systems of measurement
The second week will cover common systems of measurement, commonly used units of measurement, and converting from one unit to another using the principles of basic algebra. Most medical calculations require us to equate a known set of information to a partially known set of related information in order to find the unknown, or missing piece of data in the information set. Knowing how to do this is fundamental to dosage and fluid calculations.

Week 3: Dosage calculations
We will now determine oral and parenteral drug dosages using the skills developed in weeks one and two. We will cover calculating quantities of medication for patients based on weight and body surface area, dosing units of medication, filling prescriptions accurately, and measuring liquid volumes of medication.

Week 4: IV fluid calculations
In the last week we will determine fluid dosages and learn how to calculate fluid doses (for maintenance, replacement, anesthesia, and shock) drip rates, cover rate-control devices, and calculate volumes for common fluid additives.

LIBRARY MATERIALS: Library materials will be made available prior to the topic week so participants will have plenty of time to prepare for the real time sessions and discussion.

MESSAGE BOARD DISCUSSIONS: Message board discussions regarding the topic presented will begin on the day the course opens and continue for one week following the last real time session. These discussions will be held in the VSPN CE course area.


$120 ($108 early bird special if registered before December 29, 2009).
*Students currently enrolled in and taking at least 2 classes or 5 units at an AVMA accredited or CAAHT approved Veterinary Technician Program may be eligible to receive a 50% discount off the regular rate for this course (upon verification of student status). You must include the following information in the comments section of the CE enrollment form in order to be eligible for this discount: your program director's name and contact information (email/phone) and school name.

** NOTE: Enrollment will be closed when the maximum number of participants is reached or at 5pm ET the day of the first real time session.

**The Participant's Resource Center includes all you need to know about online CE with VIN and VSPN.


  1. Each person must individually be a registered member of VSPN ( Membership in VSPN is free.
  2. To enroll in any VSPN CE course click on the ENROLL NOW link below the course title on the right side of the page at
  3. Each enrollee must be able to receive emails from and addresses. This is our major form of communication with participants. It is highly recommended that course participants use their own, personal emails rather than clinic/hospital email addresses.
  4. VIN Member veterinarians SHOULD NOT register for their staff. Please have the staff member register through VSPN. Please email if you have questions.
  5. VIN Member veterinarians ARE ELIGIBLE to take this course, we are requesting RACE accreditation for both veterinarians and veterinary technicians. **Please access the course enrollment through
Note: "This course has been approved for continuing education credits in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB 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 of continuing education. Call VSPN CE at 1-800-700-4636 for further information." (Attendees are encouraged to check with their licensing jurisdiction(s) for information regarding recognition by their board).
COURSE WITHDRAWAL AND REFUND POLICY: Withdrawal prior to the listed start date of a course entitles the registrant to a complete refund or a credit toward a future VSPN or VIN CE course, whichever is preferred. Withdrawal within 1 week after the listed start date (i.e. including no more than one real-time session) entitles the registrant to a credit toward any future VIN CE course. (Does not apply to courses with only one real-time session.) After the first real-time session, a registrant may withdraw due to special circumstances and receive prorated credit towards a future VIN course. These requests will be handled on an individual basis. The amount of the prorated credit will be determined based on 65% of the time remaining in the course at the time of withdrawal. It is not possible to withdraw retroactively.
Note: To ensure rapid handling of your request for withdrawal, we recommend that you call the VIN office at 1-800-700-INFO (4636).
** For More Information on VSPN's upcoming CE Courses, check out

Nanette R. Walker Smith, M.Ed., RVT, CVT, LVT
VSPN Content Director & CE Coordinator

VSPN CE Services:
1-800-846-0028 or 1-530-756-4881
Charlotte Waack (, ext 193
Chris Upchurch (; ext 197
Darci Palmer (; ext 179
Debbie Bess (; ext 178
Nanette Walker Smith (; ext 187


800.700.4636  |  |  530.756.4881  |  Fax: 530.756.6035
777 West Covell Blvd, Davis, CA 95616

Copyright 2000, Veterinary Information Network, Inc.