BECOME A
VETERINARY
HOSPITAL
ASSISTANT

Veterinary Hospital Assistant

I WANT ANSWERS!

Overview

Your energy, personality, and love for all creatures great and small makes you the perfect candidate for a career in animal care. You are a calming influence to both animals and their owners, and you can think of nothing more rewarding than making sure people and their pets get the very best of care. The Veterinary Hospital Assistant program will introduce you to lifelong friends who share your love for animals. This is a career where you really can make a difference by the end of the workday. In only nine months, you will have practical know-how in the following key areas: Surgical Preparation—Instrument Identification—Front Office Procedures—Client Care and Communications—Animal Nutrition—Veterinary Medical Terminology—Animal Anatomy and Physiology.

VETERINARY HOSPITAL ASSISTANT TRAINING KELOWNA

The 9-month Veterinary Hospital Assistant program has always been a popular course at Centre for Arts and Technology. Classes begin in both April and October, and usually fill up far in advance. Graduates of the program become qualified “front-line” Veterinary Hospital Assistants, and regularly find rewarding careers in a variety of animal care settings like: Veterinary Hospitals • Animal Emergency and Critical Care Clinics • Boarding Kennels • Animal Non-Profit Organizations • Grooming Facilities Centre for Arts and Technology prides itself on hiring not just the best instructors, but professionals who are leaders in their field. Our instructors have first-hand experience in the veterinary practice and are a great resource for anyone wishing to make animal care their chosen career.

“I’m extremely happy that I took the VHA course and pursued a career in animal care. It has been a life-changing experience with lots of personal growth, and the knowledge I gained from this program has been essential in the field. I would certainly recommend this course to anyone who wishes to follow a career path in animal care.” –     Aleesha Leslie

Campuses

Kelowna

Program Length

9 months

Application Deadline

September 6th

Course Flow

  • Semester 1
  • Semester 2
  • Semester 3

In the first term of your Veterinary Hospital Assistant training, you will gain a foundational understanding of animal anatomy and physiology, which you will continue to build on throughout the program. You will explore both domestic animals (Dog and Cat Breed Identification) and livestock animals common to farms and ranches (Livestock and Exotics), and start learning the appropriate industry vocabulary via Medical Terminology. Lastly, you will be introduced to a fundamental understanding of some of the external parasites found in small animal medicine via Parasitology.

Continuing your understanding of Anatomy and Physiology, you will learn the anatomy and function of the nervous, digestive, respiratory and urinary systems in animals. You will study Immunology and Vaccinations, and Small Animal Nutrition, and become certified in Pet First Aid where you will learn about dealing with basic prevention of animal or human injury, CPR techniques, airway obstruction, poisoning, diseases and handling emergency situations in a clinical or domestic setting. You will also gain the fundamentals of working in a veterinary environment, including topics of reception, billing, software, client communications in Veterinary Office Procedures and Client Communications. Lastly, in Clinical Procedures, students will learn and practice the techniques involved in patient examinations, surgical procedures, fecal examinations, urinalysis procedures, restraint, radiology, hematology, and cytology.

In your final term of Veterinary Hospital Assistant, you will gain an advanced practice in and understanding of veterinary hospital practices and practicing real life scenarios to cement your skills and exploring various avenues in the animal welfare sector (Practical Experience and Role Play Simulations). You will receive in-depth training in Diagnostic Imaging, Veterinary Toxicology, and Veterinary Pharmacology. In Fundamentals of Dental Procedures and Introduction to Surgical Procedures, you will build an understanding of both areas, including the basic principles and procedures of small animal dentistry and veterinary surgery. Veterinary Hospital Assistant Employability Skills will allow you to explore the areas of Pet Behaviour, and potentially emerging advanced topics, to prepare you for a career as a Veterinary Hospital Assistant.

Faculty

DEBORAH LAMPITT-MCCONNACHIE | PROGRAM MANAGER

Deborah ‘s career encompasses fashion, film, music,  television, print journalism and education at the post graduate level and has spent most of the past 30 years in London, UK (with a couple of years here and there in Los Angeles and Vancouver).

Deborah is a committed animal lover who has spent twelve years running BA programmes in Fashion Journalism and Music Journalism plus an MA course in Fashion and Lifestyle Journalism for the University for the Creative Arts in the UK.

She and her husband relocated to Kelowna in 2012, along with their British Blue Shorthair ‘Bug’, and have since acquired a whoodle named ‘Muddy’ – both of whom are very excited about ‘mom’s’ position as Program Manager for the VHA program at Centre for Arts and Technology.

HENRIETTA SCHAFER | INSTRUCTOR

Providing professional and friendly customer service and support, Henrietta has been a staple at Kelowna’s Lakeshore Animal Clinic for over a decade.  With experience in clinics throughout BC and Alberta, Henrietta is excited to bring her knowledge and practical experience to the Centre for Arts and Technology.

TARA EDWARDS | INSTRUCTOR

Tara has been practicing as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine since graduating from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 2002.  She started in mixed animal practice and slowly transitioned over to small animal medicine.  She became interested in physical rehabilitation for companion animals and how this service could improve patient care.  She has obtained certification as a Canine Rehabilitation Therapist, A Veterinary Pain Practitioner, and Veterinary Medical Acupuncturist.  She became board certified in 2012 by the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation.  She is currently working at Lake Country Veterinary Specialist Hospital.  Her areas of interest include improving the quality of care for geriatrics and raising the bar for pain management.  She has a love for lecturing at veterinary conferences and is excited to be teaching at the Center for Arts and Technology.

CODEE KOCH | INSTRUCTOR

Codee has always pursued a career within the animal health care sector.  After graduating from UBCO with a BSc degree majoring in Zoology she began working as a veterinary hospital assistant. She started her career off working at the Calgary Animal Referral and Emergency Centre. It was here she found her passion for emergency medicine and surgery. About a year ago, she moved back to the Okanagan where she started working as a surgical assistant at VCA Canada Tri Lake Animal Hospital and Referral Centre. Being able to work exclusively with the specialty surgeon has allowed her to gain experience with surgical procedures, protocols and emergency medicine. Codee is very excited to be able to share her experience and knowledge with the students at the Centre for Arts and Technology.

VELINA TASKOV | INSTRUCTOR

Velina is Veterinary Nurse from Australia and has been living in Kelowna and working at a variety of vet clinics throughout the Okanagan for the last 2 years.

Velina graduated from Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia with a Veterinary Nursing diploma, certificate in Frontline Management and a certificate in Companion Animal Services. She pursued further training in small animal surgery and was a key surgical nurse at Advanced Vetcare.

Advanced Vetcare is a specialist veterinary clinic and animal emergency hospital servicing greater Melbourne and surrounding suburbs and regional centers of the state of Victoria. Advanced Vetcare was a significant contributor to Velina’s career in the Animal industry and she goes back yearly to do cameo shifts and visit her Aussie colleagues, recently celebrating 10 years of working there.

Despite her main interest being in orthopedic surgery, Velina has worked in multiple referring departments, including, internal medicine, ICU and emergency, hydrotherapy and physiotherapy and dermatology.

Previous to working at Advanced Vetcare, Velina has worn many hats including being a phlebotomist and also working with Wildlife Victoria, an Australian wildlife rescue organization.

When Velina is not at a Vet clinic or teaching at CATO you can find her traveling and actively pursuing stand up comedy. Her experience working in other parts of the world include New York City, Los Angeles and Vancouver; this gives her a global perspective in the animal industry which she loves to share with students, coupled with her humor.

KELSEY HALL | INSTRUCTOR

Kelsey has been a Certified Veterinary Assistant for over 7 years. She has worked in clinics throughout BC and has worked with many different species of animals. She did her practicum with a small animal vet in the Lower Mainland, and also at O.W.L (Orphaned Wildlife Rescue Rehab, and Release) working with Birds of Prey.  While not teaching at CAT, Kelsey works full time in clinic, and spends her free time traveling back and forth from the coast.

MELISSA BRALEY | INSTRUCTOR

Melissa grew up with many pets and always wanted to pursue a career involving animals. She graduated from the Animal Health Technology Diploma program at The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in 2007. She completed her practicum at a mixed animal clinic in Williams Lake BC. There she gained experience in large and small animal emergency veterinary medicine. Immediately after that she started working at the Lakeshore Animal Clinic in Kelowna. Melissa has been on maternity leave from the clinic but plans to work part time to keep her career in animal medicine alive while still enjoying the role of being a new mom! Melissa is excited to teach the Veterinary Office Assistant program so she can help lead the students to success and enjoyment in the program and in their new careers! Melissa currently has two dogs, one of which is a rescue from the SPCA.

HEATHER GORDON | INSTRUCTOR

Heather graduated from the University of Calgary, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in 2014, and has been working as a small animal veterinarian ever since. She got her start in the profession working overnights at a busy emergency practice in Calgary. Part of what drew her to the profession was the potential for forming long-term relationships with animals and their owners, something that just wasn’t possible at an emergency hospital. As a result, she moved with her young family to Kelowna, and is currently very happy to be practicing a mixture of primary and emergency medicine as part of the team at Tri Lake Animal Hospital in Winfield. In addition to the interesting people and animals, Heather has a deep appreciation for the science that is at the heart of veterinary medicine. During her undergraduate studies in Microbiology and Immunology, she was fascinated by the diversity and complexity of living organisms, and the various ways that animals cope with disease. She is very keen to share her passion for science with the students in the Veterinary Hospital Assistant Program.

MICHELLE HEIL | INSTRUCTOR

Michelle is a registered veterinary technician that graduated from Olds College in Alberta in 2011.  She has been working at a nearby emergency hospital, Fairfield Animal Hospital, for the last 6 years. Growing up on a small farm in Golden, BC, gave Michelle an early love for all animals and pursuing a career in a field that involved animals was always a dream of hers.  Michelle currently resides in Kelowna with her rescue tuxedo cat, Sassy.  When not working she can be found spending time with her family, camping, horseback riding, and enjoying the outdoors.

LISA RICHTER | INSTRUCTOR

Lisa grew up in Osoyoos and began her love for animals at a young age working on a cattle ranch, spending most of her childhood at rodeos with her family. In 2012, she graduated from the Veterinary Hospital Assistant program at Centre for Arts and Technology. Lisa has applied her education and experience at the KLO Veterinary Hospital, the South Okanagan/Similkameen BCSPCA and she spent 4 years working in Penticton at Anderson Veterinary Clinic, where she assists the Veterinary Technicians and Veterinarians in the clinic treatment and surgery suite. Lisa is excited to join our team at CAT and share her passion for this program and assist students to an exceptional career in the Veterinary industry.  She shares her home with her son, Colton and their rescued Australian Cattle Dogs, Torque and Splash. Lisa and Colton love spending time with their horses on their acreage in the Similkameen Valley.

Graduate Success

Aleesha Leslie

“I’m extremely happy that I took the VHA course and pursued a career in animal care. It has been a life-changing experience with lots of personal growth, and the knowledge I gained from this program has been essential in the field. I would certainly recommend this course to anyone who wishes to follow a career path in animal care.” - Aleesha Leslie