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TECH197-0611: Avian Hematology and Cytology

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INSTRUCTOR: Jenni Jenkins-Perez, LVT, CVT and Drew Bickford, AS, CVT

COURSE OPEN: June 7-July 15, 2011

REAL TIME SESSIONS: Tuesdays, June 14, 21, 28, and July 5, 2011; 9:00pm-10:30pm ET (USA)
Course RTS Times in Your Area: World Clock Converter
Practice Sessions: In order to prepare you for a successful experience in your CE course, we request you attend a practice session prior to the first RTS. Times and dates will be listed in your course confirmation email. Expect to spend up to 1 hour at one of the 2-4 practice sessions held prior to the first RTS.

Level and Prerequisites: This basic course is designed for all veterinary support staff handling avian patients and performing diagnostic hematology and cytologic tests. Course participants should be familiar with avian medicine and be actively involved in performing laboratory procedures. VSPN CE Course. This course has been submitted for RACE approval for veterinary technicians only.

Course Description:
Participants will learn how to perform a full hematological and cytological evaluation of the avian patient. Topics will include sample handling and preparation, cell evaluation, calculations and counts, and blood parasites. The cytology portion of this course will cover the basics of avian cytology, including how to safely collect samples for cytologic evaluation from the avian patient, how to prepare those samples, and how to identify the differences between inflammation and neoplasia in avian species.

This course consists of four (4) Real Time Sessions of ninety (90) minutes each covering library course materials, discussion of situations and cases, interactive message boards to discuss the Real Time Sessions, as well as a mandatory end-of-course exam. Successful completion (scoring 80% or better) on the end-of course-exam is required to be considered for the certificate of completion.

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

Course Materials: Course materials will be available in the course library prior to each Real Time Session.

About the Instructors: Drew Bickford has worked in veterinary medicine with an avian specialty since 1993. He has worked in small animal/exotics practices and emergency clinics and is now the Senior Veterinary Technician at the University of Minnesota, The Raptor Center. Drew has also lectured internationally on avian care, clinical pathology, and nursing. Jenni Jenkins-Perez has been a licensed veterinary technician since 1988. She has worked in zoos, aquariums, and veterinary diagnostic labs. She has been a technician supervisor for a small animal and exotic practice and a curriculum developer for veterinary assistant programs. Currently she works part-time for a veterinary specialty practice and is a speaker at various veterinary conferences.

Course Outline:
Week 1 (Real Time Session June 14): Sample Collection and Handling, Staining Techniques, Performing Cell Counts
Content: This week will cover sample collection, anticoagulants, and slide preparation. We will cover various methods of obtaining cell counts.

Week 2 (Real Time Session June 21): Red Blood Cell and White Blood Cell Identification and Morphology and Avian Blood Parasites
Content: This week we will examine the different changes that can occur to white and red blood cells and how these can paint a picture of the patient's health. We will also discuss commonly seen avian blood parasites and their significance.

Week 3 (Real Time Session June 28): Sample collection, preparation, staining for cytologic evaluation.
Content: This session will include sampling techniques from the more common locations of the avian patient. This includes cloacal swabbing, choanal swabbing, tracheal washing, crop washing, and fine needle aspirates. Also covered this week will include how to properly prepare the samples once collected for cytologic evaluation and normal cytologic findings in various avian species.

Week 4 (Real Time Session July 5): Avian inflammatory cells, benign neoplasia, criteria for malignancy, and abnormal findings.
Content: This week's session will include the inflammatory process in birds and how it differs from mammalian inflammation as well as other abnormal findings (i.e., parasites, fungal elements, etc). Also covered this week will include identification of the cells to help the technician determine the differences between benign neoplasia and malignancy. Students are encouraged to bring images of avian cytology samples to post in the message board discussions to help with identification of their own slides.


Tuition: $120 ($108 early bird special if enrolled by May 24, 2011).
*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.

** To ensure participants are ready and prepared for classes, enrollment will close when the maximum number of participants is reached or at 5pm ET the day of the first Real Time Session unless otherwise noted. If the first Real Time Session is on a weekend, course will close on the Friday before the first Real Time Session.

**For more on how online CE works see the VSPN Participant's Resource Center

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  1. Enrollment qualifications: VIN CE courses are open to VIN member and non-member veterinarians. Veterinarians enrolling in a VSPN CE course must be a VIN member. Veterinary support staff must be a VSPN member to enroll in a VSPN CE or a VIN CE course open to VSPN member enrollment.
  2. Each enrollee must be able to receive emails from and addresses. Email is our major form of communication with participants; personal emails are highly recommended rather than clinic/hospital email addresses.
  3. Each person is individually responsible for his/her own registration. To ensure that all information received is secure and correct, please do not enroll for a course on behalf of another individual.
  4. For further assistance call 1-800-700-INFO (4636) or email (VIN CE) or (VSPN CE) Please include the course title, your full name, and contact information in your correspondence.
Note: "This course has been submitted for approval for 6 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: A complete refund of the paid course price will be issued when your withdrawal request is received prior to the listed start date of the course. If you wish to withdraw after the start date please contact the VIN/VSPN office 1-800-700-INFO (4636) to discuss eligibility for a pro-rated refund.
** For More Information on VSPN's upcoming CE Courses, check out

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

VSPN CE Services:
1-800-846-0028 or 1-530-756-4881 or direct line to VIN/VSPN from the United Kingdom: 01452226154
Charlotte Waack (, ext 193
Chris Upchurch (; ext 197
Darci Palmer (; ext 179
Debbie Bess (; ext 178
Jennifer Withrow (; ext 159
Nanette Walker Smith (; ext 187


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