Veterinary Assistant

Tuition and FeesSecond Career

Program Title: Veterinary Assistant
Credential Earned: Ontario College Certificate
Delivery: Full Time
Program Length: 2 Semesters
Program Status: WAITLISTED
Program Codes
Program codes are for September intakes except those that are indicated differently.
NORT – H057 (HL) Haileybury Campus

Program Specific Information and Forms
Below are requirements or forms that have to be completed before the start of the semester or the date specified.

Requirements for Veterinary Assistant (PDF, 81 KB)


  • Program Description
    This one-year program will prepare students to assist members of the veterinary team. They will gain the skills required to assist professionals working in associated fields of veterinary science and other applied animal sciences.

    Upon completion of the program, students will be able to care for patients’ basic needs under the direction of the veterinarian or designate, administer and monitor the use of physical restraint agents, assist the technologist and technician by preparing for surgical procedures, assist the technologist and technician with standard diagnostic laboratory work, counsel clients and co-workers on patient care, prepare labels for medication, book appointments, and perform receptionist duties.

    Important Information for Graduates
    A limited number of spots are available for graduates of Northern College’s Veterinary Assistant or Animal Grooming programs. Graduates of those programs that wish to apply to the Veterinary Technician program must have – in addition to the usual requirements for direct entry from high school – a 75 percent minimum average (3.0 GPA) upon graduation from Veterinary Assistant or Animal Grooming programs. Applicants will be assessed according to highest academic achievement in their program.

    Career Opportunities
    Graduates may find employment in veterinary practices, federal and provincial institutions, universities, humane societies, pet food outlets, veterinary companies, grooming facilities and kennels.

  • The teachers get to know their students...

    Erinn Dalton

    on an individual basis, and care about their academic performance.

    The classes are small, which makes it easier to get in touch with teachers and work hands-on with the animals. The hands-on component really is the best part of this program. - Erinn Dalton, Veterinary Assistant and Animal Grooming program


Contact Information
Nancy Goudreault, RVT
Veterinary Sciences Coordinator
Tel: 705-672-3376 ext. 8841
goudreaultn@northern.on.ca
Admission Requirements
Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)
Grade 12 English (C, U, or E)
Grade 11 Biology (C, U)

Or equivalent

Proficiency in word processing recommended.

Or mature student status (an applicant who does not have a high school diploma or equivalent, and will have reached the age of 19 years on or before the start of the program). Mature students must undergo academic testing prior to admission into a program. Call the Admissions Office at 705-235-7222 for more details. Academic prerequisites for this program may be obtained free of charge through Academic Upgrading.

Additional Admissions Requirements

  • Proficiency in word processing recommended
  • Rabies vaccine series and titre prior to start of program (at student’s expense)
  • Some experience in a veterinary clinic or hospital is considered an asset

Important Information for Graduates
A limited number of spots are available for graduates of Northern College’s Veterinary Assistant or Animal Grooming programs. Graduates of those programs that wish to apply to the Veterinary Technician program must have – in addition to the usual requirements for direct entry from high school – a 75 percent minimum average (3.0 GPA) upon graduation from Veterinary Assistant or Animal Grooming programs. Applicants will be assessed according to highest academic achievement in their program.

Applicants will be assessed according to highest academic achievement in their program.

Semester 1
AG1013 Grooming the Companion Animal
GN1083 Managing for Success
VA1001 Animal Behaviour
VA1022 Animal Structure and Function
VA1032 Client Relations
VA1033 Clinical Procedures
VA2022 Large Animal Studies
VA2042 Animal Handling
VA2062 Laboratory Skills
VT1123 Kennel Duty I

Semester 2
EV7003 Issues in Environment Sustainability
VA2032 Feeds and Feeding of Companion Animals
VA2052 Basic Animal Procedures
VA2053 Coat and Skin Care
VA2072 Basic Anatomy and Physiology
VT2042 Management Technology
VT2123 Kennel Duty II
VT3033 Veterinary Hospital Management

Year 1 – Semester 1

AG1013 Grooming the Companion Animal
This course will educate students on how to handle and care for various companion animals, both large and small. This course will also prepare the student to work proficiently in a grooming facility. The student will learn and practise proper bathing procedures. The student will also be able to recognize and care for skin and coat conditions and will learn proper ear and nail care. They will also learn how to communicate effectively with their clients.

GN1083 Managing for Success
The course is designed to help students gain insights and skills to promote personal and professional development. Students will develop an understanding of how they manage their lives and incorporate skills to maximize their strengths and reduce the impact of less effective techniques. Students will learn about resources that are available to them and the intelligence of accessing additional support when needed. The content of this course provides students with the opportunity to lay a foundation for lifelong learning; learn to communicate effectively, build and value productive and satisfying diverse relationships and prepare for the challenges and rewards that make life meaningful.

VA1032 Client Relations
This one semester course is designed for the Animal Grooming, Veterinary Assistant, Veterinary Technician and the Veterinary Technology programs. The course is designed to look at their role in the daily operation of a veterinary practice. The course will include sections on customer service, telephone skills, and welcoming skills, confrontation and conflict resolution. The course will assist students in becoming more comfortable assisting clients through the grief cycle. There will be a component on Client Communication utilizing both oral and written communication in the veterinary practice.
This course will have a self-directed on line grammar component. This course will enable the students to practice the skills required for effective work in client relations.

VT1123 Kennel Duty I
This course will prepare the student to function in a veterinary environment. Students will provide care for the animals owned by Northern College. The use of Standard Operating Procedures will assist the student. The Veterinary Science facility simulates the professional environment and enables the students to learn the skills necessary to function as a productive team member.

VA2022 Large Animal Studies
This course will deal with the general needs of large animal veterinary practice. The veterinary assistant will develop an appreciation for livestock medical and surgical techniques, and commonly encountered conditions. The student will acquire general understanding of clinical procedures, bandaging, reproduction, biosecurity, animal handling and restraint. Proper sample collection and animal identification for official certificates will be reviewed. The student will also become familiar with the general clinical examination of equine and ruminant species.
Particular emphasis will be placed on preparing the student for interaction with large animal clients.

VA2062 Laboratory Skills
This course will commence the student’s study of the basic components of the veterinary lab. The veterinary assistant must develop competency in applying safety procedures, practicing aseptic techniques, ensuring quality control and preparing samples for analysis when assisting other members of the veterinary team.

VA1022 Animal Structure and Function
This is the first of two courses designed to teach the student the basics of anatomy and physiology. The levels of organization within the body will be discussed. The function of body organs and systems will be described and related to the common diseases the student may encounter in a clinical environment. Students will learn appropriate directional and anatomical terminology as well as terminology related to common medical conditions. This course focuses on the structure and function of the dog and cat.

VA1033 Clinical Procedures
This course deals with animal husbandry. The student will learn to assist with restraint of companion animals. Emergency Triage will be covered, as well as patient admittance into a Veterinary hospital and discharge. Pharmacology will be covered in this course. The assistant must be proficient in recognizing legal issues involving drugs in the workplace, recognize general types and groups of drugs and describe prescription label requirements. Labelling, packaging and dispensing of prescription medication will also be covered. Biological therapeutic agents will be discussed.

VA2042 Animal Handling
This course will outline the fundamentals of animal restraint and the factors that influence behavior. Handling, restraining, feeding, and analyzing of cats, dogs and lab animals will be emphasized. Proper forms of animal approach, handling, restraint, and release will be demonstrated and practiced by the student. All classes will start with a lecture and/or demonstration on how to perform the procedure, followed by a lab of applying that knowledge.

VA1001 Animal Behaviour
Animal care providers often handle animals with behaviour problems. They must know what advice to give and when to refer the problem to the veterinarian. The technician/assistant/groomer must also know the procedure involved in referral to a behavioural specialist and/or an obedience trainer.

Year 1 – Semester 2

VA2052 Basic Animal Procedures
This course will outline the fundamentals of basic animal procedures that may occur in a small animal clinic setting. Handling and restraining will be emphasized during basic procedures such as; bandaging, emergency triage, proper sample collection and handling, equipment uses during emergency situations. All classes will start with a lecture and/or demonstration on how to perform the procedure, followed by a lab of applying that knowledge.

VA2072 Basic Anatomy and Physiology
This is the second of two courses designed to teach the student the basics of anatomy and physiology. The levels of organization within the body will be discussed. The function of body organs and systems will be described and related to the common diseases the student may encounter in a clinical setting. Students will learn appropriate directional and anatomical terminology as well as terminology related to common medical conditions. This course focuses on the structure and function of the canine and feline species.

VA2032 Feeds and Feeding of Companion Animals
This course covers the basic concepts of nutrition and provides students with sufficient understanding to advise clients on the nutritional needs of large and small animals at various life stages. While the major focus of the course if on feeding the healthy animal, the dietary needs of dogs and cats with specific organ diseases are also covered. Students are introduced to common dietary toxicities and deficiencies encountered in small animal companion medicine

VA2053 Coat and Skin Care
This course will encompass all aspects of grooming procedures for the companion animal.
It will prepare the student to recognise and care for various skin disorders. All areas of
concern will be discussed and practised in providing a safe environment for the groomer, workplace and the companion animal.

VT3033 Veterinary Hospital Management
This course orients veterinary technicians/assistant to practice management with emphasis on marketing, communications, business operations, inventory control, scheduling, standard operating procedures, maintenance and retrieval of records, and occupational health and safety issues. By understanding the legalities that impact on veterinary practice, while at the same time appreciating the need to conserve costs and increase practice income, the graduating technician will be better prepared to contribute to the effective operation of the practice. The student will be expected to apply communication skills developed in the Client Relations course.

VT2123 Kennel Duty II
This course will prepare the student to function in a veterinary environment. Students will provide care for the animals owned by Northern College. The use of Standard Operating Procedures will assist the student. The Veterinary Science facility simulates the professional environment and enables the students to learn the skills necessary to function as a productive team member.

VT2042 Management Technology
The purpose of this course is to develop the skills necessary to effectively use computer programs specific to the veterinary environment. This course will give the student practical skills on specialized veterinary software packages such as AVImark and Impromed. Students will be able to set up files for new clients and/or new patients. They will know how to bill for services and products, print appropriate certificates as well as prescription labels. Accepting payments will be practiced.

EV7003 Issues in Environmental Sustainability
Our human society is at a crossroads in terms of our management of the environment. Population growth, and the demands it continues to place on our available resources, has resulted in a situation in which the judicious management of those resources is no longer an option. This multidisciplinary, general education course is of interest to students of all walks of life and all intended professions, as a guide to how they can learn to live more sustainably in their personal and professional lives, and, in so doing, preserve the environment for the needs and enjoyment of future generations.