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TECH173-0309 : Canine and Feline Pharmacology

Lee Palmer, DVM and Darci Palmer, LVT, VTS (Anesthesia)

March 26-May 16, 2009
Real Time Sessions: Wednesday evenings, April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, and May 6, 2009; 9:30pm-11:00pm ET (USA)

This course is designed to help the veterinary technician understand the fundamentals of small animal clinical pharmacology. The course will cover the major pharmacological drug classes used in veterinary medicine. The drug classes will be organized by the organ system that they have an effect on. An overview of physiology for each organ system will also be included to help the participant understand how each drug class elicits its effect. The real time sessions will focus on clinical application of select drugs for each organ system.

Lee Palmer, DVM, has strong interests in emergency and critical care medicine and pharmacology. Darci Palmer, LVT, VTS (Anesthesia) has specialty practice experience with a focus on anesthesia and pain management. The course will have six 90-minute online sessions covering small animal clinical pharmacology, weekly online quizzes, and a comprehensive final exam. This is NOT a basic course; a good understanding of physiology is strongly recommended, but not required. The course is geared toward experienced veterinary technicians and soon-to-be graduating veterinary technician students. Veterinary assistants are welcome, but should have a good physiology background and experience with pharmacology in practice.

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

TEXTBOOKS: There are no required texts for this course; however, a list of suggested references will be available in the course area library for all participants.


Week 1: Basic principles of pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and intra-/inter- species differences
Content: This session will define key pharmacological terms and discuss factors that affect drug pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics to include intra-species differences.

Week 2: Neuropharmacology and analgesics
Content: This week's session will discuss the physiology of the nervous system to include an overview of the autonomic nervous system, the predominant cellular receptors involved, key therapeutic drug classes and specific drugs used in neuropharmacology. We will also review the pain pathway and discuss the key classes of analgesics to include their mechanism of action and common uses.

Week 3: Cardiovascular and respiratory
Content: This week's session covers the physiology, as well as, the key drug classes associated with the cardiovascular and respiratory organ systems. Key drugs will be discussed according to their mechanism of action, common uses and major drug contraindications.

Week 4: Gastrointestinal, hepatic, and endocrine
Content: This week's session covers the physiology, as well as, the key drug classes associated with the gastrointestinal, hepatic, and endocrine organ systems. Key drugs will be discussed according to their mechanism of action, common uses and major drug contraindications. Gastrointestinal drug classes discussed includes anti-emetics, gastroprotectants, prokinetics, emetics and appetite stimulants. The endocrine section will include drugs used for the treatment of hyper- and hypoadrenocorticism, hyper- and hypothyroidism, and diabetes mellitus.

Week 5: Corticosteroid, immunosuppressant and topical dermatology
Content: This week's session covers the physiology, mechanism of action, common uses and contraindications for corticosteroid and immunosuppressant pharmacotherapy. Also included is a review of commonly used topical drugs and formulations for certain dermatological conditions.

Week 6: Antimicrobial therapy, drug interactions, and overview of administrative drug aspects
Content: This week's session provides a review of antimicrobial drug classes, conditions requiring antimicrobial use, the most common pathogenic bacterial organism involved for certain organ system infections, as well as, the most appropriate empirical antimicrobial drug class used to treat those infections. Also covered are factors that contribute to drug interactions and adverse drug reactions. A list of the most common drug interactions encountered in veterinary medicine will be provided. The remainder of the session will be dedicated to the technician's role in prescription labeling, drug inventory and classification of controlled drugs.

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.


$180 ($162.00 early bird special if registered before March 12, 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.
Note: "This course has been submitted for approval of 9 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
1-800-846-0028 or 1-530-297-4950, ext 187

Charlotte Waack (, ext 193
Chris Upchurch (; ext 197
Darci Palmer (; ext 179
Debbie Bess (; ext 178
VSPN CE Services
1-800-846-0028 or 1-530-297-4950


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

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