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Course Description

Table top covered in flasks and beakers with white rat all in shades of blue

This course is the first module in the Certificate in Laboratory Animal Medicine. The laboratory animal veterinarian is a specialist with training and experience whose mission is to advance the humane care and responsible use of laboratory animals. Because of this, it is critical for veterinarians entering this field to understand and reflect on the use of animals in research, to understand the role that laboratory animal veterinarians have in influencing refinements and changes in this area, and to have a sense of the ethical issues surrounding this field.

Introduction to Lab Animal Medicine - Theory is designed to provide entry-level continuing education to licensed veterinarians working in the field of Laboratory Animal Medicine. This online, self-study course will provide the theory necessary to complete the applied modules.

Designed For

Licensed U.S. Veterinarians

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the learner should be able to:

  1. Identify the major ethical viewpoints on the use of animals in research including their own personal viewpoint;
  2. Describe the pertinent portion of the Animal Welfare Act, as it applies to the use of animals in research and the role of the USDA in enforcing the Act. Explain existing controversies with this legislation and be capable of navigating the Animal Care (USDA) website;
  3. Describe pertinent portions of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, which institutions it applies to, and how it differs from the Animal Welfare Act in its basic approach;
  4. Define different types of animal models and their uses in research and be capable of providing examples of each;
  5. Define ethical issues inherent in the production of genetically engineered animals and the use of animals for antibody production;
  6. Recognize intrinsic and extrinsic factors that may alter research data and potential resources for further information;
  7. Identify and rank the importance of potential sources of variability, given a research scenario;
  8. Design appropriate anesthetic protocols for various laboratory species and provide relevant species-specific intra-operative monitoring techniques;
  9. Write a Standard Operating Procedure for an appropriate technique to euthanize rodents with carbon dioxide;
  10. Predict potential occupational health hazards for employees working in a vivarium;
  11. Define the ACC’s (Animal Care Committee) responsibility in the occupational health and safety program;
  12. List and describe the early clinical signs and associated species for common zoonotic agents found in domestic and laboratory animals;
  13. Explain common indicators of normal and abnormal behaviour for each species; and
  14. Summarize preventative health maintenance programs required for each species.

Course Topics

  • Role of the Laboratory Animal Veterinarian and Bioethics
  • Oversight of Animal Care and Use in the United States - Federal and State
  • Local Oversight - The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee
  • Animal Models and Alternatives
  • Factors Affecting Research Data
  • Anesthesia, Analgesia, and Euthanasia
  • Occupational Health and Safety/Biosafety
  • Overview of Common Animal Species as Research Models

Additional Requirements

Licensed US Veterinarian. Proof must be supplied with registration in first course.


The course requires the completion of assignments and quizzes. A minimum of 80% must be achieved on each assignment and quiz. A final exam is not required. Pass (80% or higher)/Fail


College: Ontario Veterinary College
Department: Pathobiology

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

*Course details are subject to change.


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