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Courses open for VSPNer registration

TECH206-0312: Canine and Feline Dermatology for Veterinary Technicians

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INSTRUCTOR(S): Shelley Shopsowitz, RVT, BA

COURSE OPEN: March 16-April 25, 2012

REAL TIME SESSIONS (RTS): Sundays, March 25, April 1, 8, and 15, 2012; 8:00pm-9:30pm 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 Real Time Session. 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 Real Time Session.

Level and Prerequisites: This intermediate course will cover small animal dermatological conditions seen in veterinary practices and cover collection and diagnostic testing commonly performed by veterinary technicians in a dermatology practice.
VSPN CE Course. This course has been submitted for RACE approval veterinary technicians only.

Course Description:
The itching, odor, appearance and general discomfort seen in animals with skin conditions is a major concern to pet owners. Veterinary technicians are instrumental in collecting samples, performing diagnostic tests, and aiding veterinarians with dermatologic diagnoses, patient care, procedures, treatments, and client education. This course will cover basic skin anatomy and physiology, terminology, and basic skin conditions commonly seen in the practice of dermatology. Mange mites, fleas, lice and ticks will be covered. We will look at dermatophytes and how to perform a fungal culture. Skin and ear cytology, atopy, and food reactions will all be discussed. Immunotherapy, shampoos and skin treatments, biopsy, and aspirates will also be covered.

This course consists of four (4) ninety (90) minute Real Time Sessions, supplemental library materials, interactive message board discussions, a mandatory end-of-course test, and may include online multiple choice quizzes (after each Real Time Session). Successful completion (scoring 80% or better) on the end-of-course test is required to be considered for a course certificate of completion.

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

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

Required Texbook(s): There is no required textbook for this course.

About the Instructor: Shelley Shopsowitz has a long standing interest in dermatology working in a specialty practice focusing on dermatology since 1993. Her extensive background also includes lab animal science, clinical pathology, and emergency medicine, and education.

Course Outline:
Week 1 (Real Time Session March 25): Introduction to Skin Anatomy and Skin Lesions; History and Record-keeping; Fleas, Lice and Ticks
Content: In this first class we will cover the basic structure and function of skin, alopecia, erythema, pruritus, and several types of skin lesions commonly seen in dermatological conditions. We will also determine the importance of obtaining a complete history and relevant information for the veterinarian's diagnosis of skin disease. Fleas, lice and ticks will be discussed in this session, with a special emphasis on flea control.

Week 2 (Real Time Session April 1): Mange
Content: The various types of mange mites commonly seen in dogs and cats including Scabies, Cheyletiella, and Demodex as well as ear mites. Sample collection including skin scraping, tape tests, hair plucking, ear swabs, and microscopic evaluation will be examined in detail.

Week 3 (Real Time Session April 8): Microscopic Sample Evaluation and Sample Collection and Relevant Diseases Seen in Dermatology Practice
Content: We will cover microscopy including skin and ear cytology, focusing on recognition of cells encountered. Set up and monitoring of a dermatophyte culture and microscopic identification of dermatophytes will be covered. Use of the Wood's lamp, KOH evaluation and trichograms will be discussed as we review dermatophyte species commonly affecting dogs and cats. Collection of samples for skin biopsy, bacterial culture, fine needle aspirates, and blood tests relevant to dermatological conditions will be covered. Examples of skin diseases and microscopic cells in dogs and cats will be included to augment these diagnostic tests.

Week 4 (Real Time Session April 15): Atopy, Adverse Food Reaction, and Control of Pruritic Individuals
Content: Intradermal testing and allergen specific immunotherapy and in vitro allergy testing will be discussed. Food allergy, food trials, and provocation trials will be covered. We will also look at the various types of diets available for patient with an adverse food reaction(s). Shampoos, dips, and conditioners used in dermatological conditions will be discussed. Treatment protocols and incorporation of patient care and client compliance will be covered including advice for reducing itchiness in the allergic pet.


Tuition: $120 ($108 early bird if registered by March 2, 2012).
*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).
** 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 Participant 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.
**Note: To ensure rapid handling of your request for withdrawal, we recommend that you call the VIN/VSPN 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 & 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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