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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

VTEC 2243: Exotic and Lab Animal Care


In this course, students will further explore exotic and lab animal medicine theory after they have attended and successfully completed VTEC 2345. Students develop practical knowledge of the principles and techniques of housing and husbandry needs of common exotic pets and laboratory animal species. Through lecture, students will solidify the skills learned onsite on how to handle, determine the sex of, medicate, anesthetize, and restrain common exotic and lab animal species for clinical procedures.

Learning outcomes

  • Handle, care for, and perform basic technical procedures on common lab animal species and pocket pets.
  • Explain appropriate husbandry and some common technical procedures for avian and reptiles.
  • Discuss the principles of research ethics and describe the role of the veterinary technician in animal research.
  • Identify the required design components of a research facility that are vital to ensuring a proper, safe and humane environment.
  • Recognize the importance of quality control in a research facility and differentiate between containment and isolation.

Course topics

  • Module 1: Biomedical Research and Ethics
  • Module 2: The Animal Facility
  • Module 3: Animal Colonies, Containment, and Isolation
  • Module 4: Mice, Rats, and Rodent Technical Procedures
  • Module 5: Gerbils and Hamsters
  • Module 6: Degu, Chinchilla, and Mink
  • Module 7: Rabbits
  • Module 8: Guinea Pigs, Ferrets, and Hedgehogs
  • Module 9: Non-Human Primates
  • Module 10: Avian
  • Module 11: Reptiles
  • Module 12: Aquatics and Wildlife

Required text and materials

There is no required textbook for this course.

Additional requirements

Students may also find the following resource useful for looking up any terms in the course with which are not familiar:


Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, you are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in-person approved Testing Centre. Please contact with any questions about this.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 60% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory exam.

Assignment 1: Discussion—Working with Animals in Research 8%
Quiz 1: Research and Ethics 2%
Assignment 2: Facility/Housing Design 12%
Assignment 3: Animal Research Paper — Proposal 5%
Quiz 2: Animal Colonies, Containment, and Isolation 2%
Quiz 3: Mice, Rats, and Rodent Technical Procedures 3%
Quiz 4: Rabbits 2%
Quiz 5: Guinea Pigs, Ferrets, Hedgehogs 2%
Quiz 6: Avians 2%
Assignment 4: Animal Research Paper — Draft 5%
Quiz 7: Reptiles and Aquatics 2%
Assignment 5: Animal Research Paper — Complete 15%
Final Exam (mandatory) 50%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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