Emergency Medicine | Centre for Veterinary Education

Emergency Medicine

Develop your capacity to treat small animal emergency and critical care cases confidently and maximise your patient outcomes.

This course aims to develop your practical skills and techniques for the treatment and monitoring of critically ill animals. Triage, fluid therapy, analgesia, acute abdomen, respiratory distress and multisystem trauma are all covered with an emphasis on case-based problem solving.

Up to date theoretical information is put into practice in a cadaver-based workshop making this an essential course for veterinarians in all small animal practice situations.

Hear what tutor Trudi Mcalees has to say about the course-

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

  • Better 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:

  • Comprehensive 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

  • Keeping DE notes in digital format saves almost 300 000 sheets of paper, 1 500 000L of water and 30 trees.

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

Saturday 1 February - Monday 30 November 2020
3-Day Workshop: Sydney 29-31 MAY 2020
Delivered Online
Super Early Bird
30 June 2019
Early Bird
31 October 2019



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. 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. She was the first person to achieve Fellowship in Emergency Medicine and Critical Care in 2008.


Sandra Forsyth has had a mixed career having been in practice, undertaken a residency in anaesthesia and critical care, gained her boards in Anaesthesia and taught anaesthesia and critical care at Massey University for 12 years. Late nights, emergency call-outs and backache from moving sleeping horses, prompted a change in direction and as analysing blood results had been an inspiring part of both anaesthesia and critical care, Sandra’s new direction was determined when an opening arose in the clinical pathology department at the university. This was followed by a dual position in a diagnostic lab and teaching at the university, moving to full time diagnostic pathology in 2016. She loves her work, especially the interaction with veterinarians and working through the exciting and unusual cases that they provide. Sandra is a co-tutor with Trudi McAlees in the CVE DE course on Emergency Medicine as well as running her own DE course in Clinical Pathology.


Dr Yenny Indrawirawan is a Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care. She graduated in 2004 from the University of Melbourne. She has been working in various small animal emergency and critical care hospitals in Australia since graduation. She undertook emergency and critical care residency at Animal Accident and Emergency in Melbourne, and spent her externship at various institutions in the USA. She is now working at the Veterinary Referral Hospital in Melbourne, Australia.

Yenny has been mentoring general practitioners that are sitting their Membership of the ANZCVS in Emergency and Critical Care. She is actively involved in the Membership and Fellowship examination process with the ANZCVS. She is currently supervising a ANZCVS residency program in Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care.

Course Fees

Member TypeSuper early birdEarly birdFull rate
Non-member / eMember$6430$6730$6930
*Members include: Practice, Professional, Part-time, Recent Graduate, Academic and Student members

Loyalty DE Discount: Completed 2 or more Distance Education (DE) courses in the previous 5 years, you are eligible for a 10% discount on future DE courses. Discounts are not cumulative. For further information about discount options for multiple registrations at the one event, please read the full Terms & Conditions. To redeem your discount contact the CVE on +61 2 9351 7979 (Monday to Friday, AEST 9am to 5pm) or cve.enquiries@sydney.edu.au.


Note: Enrol in a Distance Education course and pay in full before 31 October 2019 to save up to $250 and go in the draw to win a $1,000 CVE voucher. Winner announced 8 November 2019.