Emergency Medicine | Centre for Veterinary Education

Emergency Medicine

Develop your capacity to treat emergency and critical care cases confidently every single time.

This course aims to develop your practical skills and techniques for the treatment and monitoring of critically ill animals.

The emphasis on case-based problem solving and the basics of critical care makes this an essential course for veterinarians in all practice situations.

Past Participants:

"The tutors were fantastic. The information was extremely relevant to general practice. I feel confident attending to emergency patients."

Nicole Johnston, QLD

"I have really enjoyed the course, the notes and practical were excellent and very well organised. The mix of practical advice and up to date theory was an excellent mix for vets in practice. Over the years I have done quite a bit of post grad study and I will be back to the CVE."

Stephen Reid

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Confidently assess and treat acute trauma cases and critically ill patients, including cases of acute dyspnoea, acute abdomen, diabetic ketoacidosis and intoxication

  • Understand the principles of, and be able to perform, emergency procedures such as thoracocentesis, tracheostomy and CPR

  • Develop the ability to create appropriate fluid therapy plans to manage shock and hypovolaemia and for ongoing maintenance

  • Reach competency in ‘cage side’ clinical pathology (using blood smears to assess anaemia, analysing fluid from body cavities and analysing urine sediment)

  • Perform blood transfusions safely and improve optimal wound management

  • Monitor critically ill animals

  • Improve your ability to differentiate between cardiac and pulmonary disease


1.  General set-up of a critical care area, toxicities and envenomations

  • Triage of the emergency patient
  • Interpretation of the emergency database blood tests
  • General approach to animals with a suspected intoxication

2.  Shock, fluid therapy and transfusion therapy

  • A practical run through of the pathophysiology of shock
  • What fluids to use and when
  • A review of the current recommendations for the use of synthetic colloids
  • Blood transfusion basics

3.  Electrolytes, acid/base ​

  • A discussion of serum electrolytes and their impact on fluid therapy
  • An introduction to acid base
  • Interpretation and use of acid base in clinical cases

4.  CPR and analgesia

  • Analgesia options in emergency and critically ill
  • Current recommendations in veterinary CPR

5.  Cardiovascular and respiratory disease

  • How do you tell them apart?
  • Emergency treatment of the dyspnoeic patient
  • Oxygen supplementation
  • An introduction to ventilation

6.  Anaemia, erythrocytosis and bleeding disorders

  • How to narrow the differential list for anaemia
  • What, other than dehydration causes erythrocytosis
  • How to differentiate the causes for abnormal bleeding

7.  Acute abdominal disease and nutrition

  • The approach to an animal with an acute abdomen
  • Pharmacology of drugs used to treat abdominal disease
  • GDV, pancreatitis
  • Abdominal effusions including uroabdomen

8.  Metabolic and endocrine emergencies, urinary tract disease

  • An overview of the approach to common endocrine emergencies
  • How do I manage the DKA patient?
  • Managing acute renal failure
  • Laboratory diagnosis of renal insufficiency

9.  Multi-system trauma and wounds

  • Managing wounds to ensure we don’t interfere with healing
  • Putting it all together: how to approach the patient with multi-system trauma

10. Intra-cranial and extra-cranial neurological disease, ocular emergencies

  • Treating the animal with head trauma
  • Managing seizuring animals
  • Ophthalmic examination
  • Ocular emergencies

Course Delivery

This online course comes with:

  • A set of detailed written notes, images, journal articles and recommended readings 

  • Self-assessed quizzes and case studies to test your knowledge and understanding

  • A discussion forum for conversation, debate and sharing cases with your peers and tutors

  • A monthly assignment where you will receive individual feedback and explanations from your tutors

  • A practical 2 day workshop covering clinical pathology, imaging and a hands-on emergency practical session

Pay as you learn

Choosing your DE course is a big commitment, so there’s no need to add further stress by paying your course up front. To pay as you learn, you will need a $1,000 deposit to secure your place, followed by 50% of the total course fee 10 days prior to course commencement date. We’ll arrange simple monthly direct debits from your credit card over 3 or 6 months.

Note: Payment Plan will incur an additional $250 administration fee, and Early Bird rates do not apply if you choose the payment plan option.

Distance Education

Thursday 1 February - Friday 30 November 2018
2-Day Workshop
Date TBC
Delivered Online
Super Early Bird
30 June 2017
Early Bird
31 October 2017



Dr Trudi Mcalees is a Massey Graduate who started her career in NZ in a mainly dairy practice in a small town in the centre of the North Island of New Zealand. There she was introduced to the rewards and frustrations of emergency practice. Trudi then spent a few years doing long-term locums in the UK and travelling before moving to Melbourne in 2000 to pursue a residency in Emergency Medicine and Critical Care. Trudi worked at the University of Melbourne teaching hospital for 10 years. She then returned to private practice, initially in Melbourne and now back home in New Zealand.

Trudi is committed to post-graduate education. She is passionate about improving the ability of practitioners to deal with emergencies, and as a side benefit, hopes to decrease the angst that can accompany these cases when they present. T Trudi has a particular interest in analgesia, ventilation and multi-trauma cases. Trudi presents the CVE’s Feline Emergency TimeOnline course & is co-tutor of the Emergency Medicine Distance Education along with Sandra Forsyth.

Trudi has memberships of the ANZCVS in Anaesthesia and Critical Care, and in Emergency Medicine and Critical Care and was the first person to achieve Fellowship in Emergency Medicine and Critical Care in 2008.


Sandra Forsyth did a residency in Anaesthesia and Critical Care at the University of California-Davis, gained her boards in Anaesthesia and headed back to New Zealand to teach at Massey University. After 12 years of late nights, emergency call-outs and backache from moving sleeping horses, she decided a change in direction was needed. Analysing clinical pathology results had been an inspiring part of both anaesthesia and critical patient care, so when an opening came up in the clinical pathology department at Massey in 2002, Sandra's new direction was determined. In 2004 she took up a dual position within a diagnostic laboratory and the university then moved cities and jobs to a full time position in a diagnostic laboratory (SVS Laboratories).  She loves her work–especially the interaction with veterinarians and working through the exciting and unusual cases that they provide. Sandra has been a co-tutor with Trudi McAlees in the CVE DE course on Emergency Medicine as well as running her own DE course on Clinical Pathology.

Course Fees

Member TypeSuper early birdEarly birdFull rate
Non-member / eMember$6100$6400$6600
*Members include: Practice, Professional, Part-time, Recent Graduate, Academic and Student members

Please note: All course fees will be charged in Australian dollars AND you must be a qualified veterinarian to enrol in this courses.

If you completed 2 or more Distance Education (DE) courses in the previous 5 years, you are eligible for a 10% discount on the next DE course/s. Contact the CVE on +61 2 9351 7979 or cve.disted@sydney.edu.au to redeem this discount.

Further details

Have a question? Your answer could be on our frequently asked questions page. If you cannot find an answer for your question, please email us or call us on +61 2 9351 7979.