Giddy up for vet nurse training

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Off the Track WA horses will help vet nurses learn new skills through an online training course starting this winter.

Applied Vocational Training (AVT) is launching an equine care course to give nurses the chance to gain a broader knowledge of the handling and treatment of large animals.

AVT Assessor Ann-Marie Moyles said content was created in partnership with Racing and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA) and other leading equine veterinarians.

RWWA vet Caroline McMullen demonstrates horse handling and health checks at the OTTWA estate

“Equine practices throughout WA are struggling to find veterinary nurses with the necessary knowledge to care for horses. There is a lack of resources and education available in this area,” Ann-Marie said.

“A majority of veterinary nurse providers tend to focus on small animals. As a result, vet nurses get a lot of practice handling dogs and cats but not so much with horses.

“Since it’s an online course, we wanted as much video as possible so students could see the process, from the basics of how to approach horses safely to physical examinations and administering injections.

“Horse education is important, so people are not just following processes but understand the reasons behind them.

“By filming with a RWWA vet on-site at the Off the Track Estate, we could ensure our content was relevant to the equine industry.”

RWWA regulatory veterinarian Caroline McMullen helped to create the videos, demonstrating and explaining a range of techniques with former racehorses at the estate.

“We filmed basic horse handling skills demonstrating safety for the horse, handler and veterinarian, general health exams, soundness assessments, flexion tests and simulation of safe injection techniques,” Caroline said.

“In all the training modules, the emphasis is firmly on ensuring safety for the animal, the handler and the vet.

“Off the Track WA has the facility and resources to support educational programs such as this and it’s an opportunity to expand awareness and promote good veterinary industry horsemanship.”

The equine nursing course includes units on hospital management and nutrition, critical care, laboratory diagnostics, surgical and orthopedic nursing and reproduction. It is designed for qualified veterinary nurses who are looking to move into equine care or for nurses who are already working with horses and wish to further their skills and knowledge.

It develops the collaboration between RWWA and Ascot-based AVT which began in early 2021 to provide an intensive course in animal care and welfare.

Students of AVT’s nationally recognised ACM20117 Certificate II in Animal Studies Intensive (Animal Care and Welfare) are welcomed at Greyhounds as Pets WA to gain the practical experience necessary for a range of careers with animals.

A video preview of the new course, featuring Dr McMullen, is here and more information on the certificate is at Equine Veterinary Nursing – Certificate.