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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

VTEC 2713: Veterinary Technology Surgical Assistant


Students develop a practical understanding of the principles and techniques of sterility, surgical instruments, operating room conduct and the role of the veterinary technologist in a surgical setting. Topics include cleaning and maintenance, surgical pack preparation, suturing, fluid rates and requirements, and per and post-operative considerations. Students implement surgical principles and techniques within the operating room.

Learning outcomes

  • Recognize the principles of asepsis and apply them appropriately
  • Operate an autoclave and explain its role and purpose in preparing equipment for surgical procedures
  • Identify surgical instruments and explain their function, as well as proper procedures for cleaning and maintenance
  • Demonstrate personnel, patient and surgical pack preparation
  • Identify suture material, needles and demonstrate suture patterns
  • Calculate fluid rates and discuss fluid requirements for patients
  • Discuss pre and post-operative considerations for surgical patients
  • Describe surgical procedures for canine and feline ovariohysterectomy (OVH) and castration
  • Demonstrate competency in the practical surgical assistant skills of a veterinary technologist in an operatory suite
  • Maintain accurate patient records and logs for surgical patients
  • Effectively communicate verbal and written home care instructions with clients
  • Calculate fluid rates and demonstrate the operation of the fluid pimp machine

Course topics

  • Module 1: Surgical Suite, Physical Plant & Maintenance 
  • Module 2: Asepsis
  • Module 3: Surgical Packs and Instruments
  • Module 4: Preparation of OR Personnel
  • Module 5: Patient Preparation & Draping
  • Module 6:  Personnel Roles 
  • Module 7:  Sutures – Materials, Needles and Selection
  • Module 8: Pre-op & Post-op Considerations
  • Module 9:  Fluids
  • Module 10: Selected Surgical Procedures

Required text and materials

The following materials are required for this course:

  1. Tear, M. (2022). Small animal surgical nursing (4th ed). Elsevier.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN 978-0-323-75913-7

The following textbook would have been purchased in VTEC 1101. Students who did not take VTEC 1101 and/or don't already own the required textbook, will need to purchase it. To do so, please contact Enrolment Services at or 1.800.663.9711 (toll-free in Canada), 250.852.7000 (Kamloops, BC), and 1.250.852.7000 (International).

  1. Bassert, J. M. (2022). McCurnin’s clinical textbook for veterinary technicians (10th ed.). Elsevier.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN: 9780323722001

Additional Resources:

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

  • Aiello, S. E., & Moses, M. A. (Eds.). (2016). The Merck veterinary manual 11th ed.). Merck & Co.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN-13: 978-0911910612 (This textbook is available online at: Merck Manual, Veterinary Manual)

Required Lab Equipment (at the placement location):

  1. Camera and tripod
  2. Gravity displacement autoclave
  3. Standard surgical instruments
  4. Ultrasonic cleaner
  5. Surgical drapes (paper and/or linen) and steripeel
  6. Huck towels
  7. Microchip scanner and microchip
  8. Infusion pump
  9. Surgical prep solutions and scrubs

Additional requirements

Students will also need the following:

  • A computer with Internet Access
  • A video recording device


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: Critique of Surgical Suite 5%
Quiz 1: Asepsis and Autoclaves 4%
Assignment 2: Surgical Pack 5%
Quiz 2: Surgical Packs and Instruments 4%
Assignment 3: Personnel Prep 5%
Assignment 4: Patient Prep and Draping 5%
Quiz 3: Personnel/Patient Prep and Draping 4%
Assignment 5: Personnel Role Checklist/SOP 5%
Assignment 6: Suturing 5%
Quiz 4: Sutures 4%
Quiz 5: Pre- and Post-Op 4%
Assignment 7: Fluid Setup 5%
Assignment 8: Case Study and Patient Record 5%
Final Examination (mandatory) 40%
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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