Exotics, Wildlife & Unusual Pets for Nurses & Techs

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August 15th - September 19th, 2023

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7:30pm Tuesday nights, AEST

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CPD value: 10 AVNAT points

Certificate on completion
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Who loves wildlife and exotics in your practice? This course celebrates the clinical nursing approach to exotic, wildlife and unusual species kept as pets in Australia.

Every veterinary practice has a few key people who “deal with wildlife and exotic companion animals”. If that’s you, welcome! You’re among friends, and you’re really going to extend your knowledge in this course.

If that’s not you, keep reading. We have lots to offer you, too. This course covers baseline husbandry, housing and restraint topics, as well as a range of the medical and clinical skills you need to care for small mammals, birds and reptiles in veterinary practice.

Access to course materials opens August 1st, 2023 and expires December 19th, 2023.

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Veterinary nurses & technicians only

What’s important for exotics, wildlife and unusual pets in veterinary practice?

Safe restraint & handling techniques

These entry-level skills are required before you commence clinical care of small mammals, birds and reptiles. Stress reduction is your goal, and it could be the difference between success and failure (or worse, losing a patient). As this course kicks off, take in the important differences between species and apply these to clinical practice right away.

Husbandry & housing

This is crucial to health and wellness in exotic pets. It might not seem so urgent when you’re faced with a seriously unwell patient, but you have an important coaching opportunity here. Pet owners need your support and advice at discharge from hospital, and we’ll help with valuable insight throughout this course.

Clinical procedures

Every time you see an exotic companion animal, your practical skills will be important. We’ll cover different sites for venipuncture, safe collection volumes, nutrition, cytology sampling, radiographic positioning and more.

Anaesthesia of small mammals, avian species, & reptiles

The final sessions are deep dives into anaesthesia. This is a vast and critical component of veterinary care for exotic species and wildlife, and we will dedicate three whole modules to this area.





  • Q & A FORUM

Know your exotics

Get the knowledge you need
  • Important behaviours
  • Species differences in physiology
  • Recognising pain
  • How to coach clients on husbandry
  • Using lateral thinking 
Hands-on skills for clinical practice
  • Creating suitable hospital environments
  • How to avoid getting bitten
  • Emergency triage & critically ill patients
  • Venipuncture options & IV access
  • Airways & intubation
  • Anaesthesia case management & monitoring



Five Tuesday evenings & a $397 investment in your career


Proactive management & clinical care of exotic companion animal species


Be “the one” for wildlife & exotics, with a CE course to prove it

Weekly modules & timetable

Bonus module – Exotic companion pet emergencies
In recent years, non-traditional pet ownership has increased dramatically with many owners opting to own exotic pets such as reptiles, birds, small mammals, fish, and amphibians. As husbandry plays a significant role in the health and well-being of these pets, it is inevitable that they will present to veterinary clinics for care. This creates a unique challenge for the emergency team as exotic pets contain a huge diversity of species that vary greatly in their husbandry, anatomy, physiology, and common disease processes and treatment protocols.

In this module, we will cover:

  • Assessment & triage, including the emergency ABC’s & mentation
  • Clinical exam covering common emergency presentations
  • First aid including the 4 x H’s (hypoxaemia, hypothermia, hypovolaemia & hypoglycaemia)
  • Common analgesia protocols.

Module 1 – Exotic companion pet handling & restraint: creating positive outcomes
Exotic companion pets are not domesticated, and many of them are also prey species. This should be taken into consideration when a patient presents to the clinic, as stress, escape or sudden death are all risks associated with handling these species. On the other hand, some of these species can be dangerous and pose a risk to you and your colleagues.

In this module, we will cover:

  • Rules for handling exotic animals, including mitigating risks to both you & the patient
  • Handling considerations for different species
  • Techniques for using the least amount of restraint necessary
  • Strategies for reducing stress during the hospital stay.

Module 2 – Clinical techniques for the exotic technician / nurse
Clinical techniques in exotic patients, although challenging, are readily achievable by the veterinary nurse and technician. Coupled with the advancement of veterinary diagnostic equipment, this allows nurses and technicians to add significant value to patient outcomes.

In this module, we will cover common clinical and diagnostic techniques used daily in an exotics practice including but not limited to:

  • Venipuncture
  • Intravenous access
  • Crop feeding
  • Cytology sampling
  • Radiographic positioning.

Module 3 – Anaesthesia of small mammals
Anaesthesia of small mammals is a challenging but regular event in the life of the exotic animal nurse or technician. Physical restraint of our exotic patients can be particularly stressful, with the potential to be fatal. For this reason, general anaesthesia is the preferred low-stress approach to diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical procedures. Anaesthesia techniques have advanced dramatically in recent history but anaesthetic-related mortality is still significantly higher than our canine and feline patients.

Anaesthesia management is an area where the nurse or technician can add significant value to the care of the small mammal patient, where diligent monitoring produces positive outcomes.

In this module, we will cover the specifics of small mammal anaesthesia:

  • Preparing for the anaesthetic
  • Assigning an ASA score
  • Options for premedication combinations and analgesia
  • Induction & intubation
  • Intraoperative fluid therapy
  • Perioperative monitoring equipment & intelligent interpretation
  • Recovery.

Module 4 – Anaesthesia of avian patients
Avian species share some characteristics with small mammals, but there are plenty of clinically-important differences. During this module, we will cover the following aspects specifically for avian species:

  • Preparing for the anaesthetic
  • Assigning an ASA score
  • Options for premedication combinations and analgesia
  • Induction and intubation
  • Intraoperative fluid therapy
  • Perioperative monitoring equipment and intelligent interpretation
  • Recovery.

Module 5 – Anaesthesia of reptile patients
The final challenge in this course is reptilian anaesthesia. This module is dedicated to how reptiles behave before, during, and after an anaesthetic, including:

  • Preparing for the anaesthetic
  • Assigning an ASA score
  • Options for premedication combinations and analgesia
  • Induction and intubation
  • Intraoperative fluid therapy
  • Perioperative monitoring equipment and intelligent interpretation
  • Recovery.

Your educator

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Gary Fitzgerald 2023

Gary Fitzgerald

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Qualifications: BAppSc(Veterinary Technology) AVTCP VTS

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Specialisation: Veterinary Technician Specialist

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Gary is a qualified Veterinary Technician Specialist (VTS), Practice Manager of the UQ VETS Veterinary Teaching Hospitals, and President of the Veterinary Nurses Council of Australia (VNCA).

His VTS qualification means he has met the rigorous requirements set by the Academy of Veterinary Technicians in Clinical Practice (AVTCP), which is modelled on the American Veterinary Medical Association accredited college, the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP). Gary's subspeciality within the Academy is Exotic Companion Animals, and he is the only technician to hold this qualification in the southern hemisphere. There are only 11 technicians worldwide with this qualification.

Gary enjoys all aspects of his job but training students in small animal anaesthesia and reptile medicine, anaesthesia and surgery are his major passions.


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Your Questions Answered

Do I need to attend specific session times?
Not at all. Of course, you can only ask questions and participate in the discussion if you attend live, but it’s not a requirement. Each live session is recorded and uploaded within 24 hours of the live timeslot. Participants have access to recording during the course and for 2 weeks afterwards.

Are there group discounts available?
Absolutely Work together, learn together, we say. If 3 or more participants register from the same clinic under the same booking, you’ll receive a 5% discount at checkout when you book on our website. For 4+ registrations, the discount increases to 10%. This isn’t valid with any other promotion.

Can I pay in instalments, or do you offer payment plans?

Under some circumstances, we can accept payment in instalments. Please email us at [email protected] for a confidential discussion.

Will I get CPD points and a CPD certificate?

Of course! Each participant will receive a CPD certificate via email. We do this after you’ve provided feedback and completed the quiz questions at the end of the course.

What kind of learning materials are included?

All live online courses include live and recorded video presentations. Our educators also provide a variety of other resources so you can expect supporting materials like images, diagrams, course notes, slide presentations, journal articles, links to further reading, and more.

How long is course access open?

24/7 access is available for the duration of the course, and for two weeks after the last live session. You can access recordings, references and reading materials via your course library at any point during this period. We’ll remind you to download and review the course materials before the time is up.

What happens if the workshop is cancelled?

If we cancel a course, we will refund your course fees. It’s a simple as that.

What happens if I pay and then later can’t attend?
See the terms and conditions tab on our website for full details. In a nutshell, refunds are provided for cancellations made in writing up to 45 days prior to the course. Cancellations made inside 45 days incur a 30% administration fee, and cancellations made less than 7 days before a course are not refundable.

Still have questions? We’ve got answers.

Still have questions? We’ve got answers. Call 0409 743 100 or  0411 798 165