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Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Training Program Information

Read about training programs in animal rescue and rehabilitation. Learn about the programs available, course topics, professional requirements, employment outlook and some career choices for those interested in helping animals.

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Essential Information

In emergency situations, animal disaster response personnel assess the extent of animal injuries, stabilize the physical condition of animals, provide food and water and manage veterinary field hospitals. Many animal rescue or rehabilitation training courses are geared toward professionals working in the fields of public safety, veterinary medicine or physical therapy. Training is often available through veterinary schools. Related programs in veterinary technology are available at the associate's degree level.

Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Training Programs

Certificate and professional training programs are offered by several universities through schools of veterinary medicine, biomedicine or agricultural science. Large animal rescue training is often aimed at firefighters, police officers and other emergency response personnel. Rehabilitation programs are often designed to enhance the training of veterinarians and animal physical therapists. Courses typically take place in an intensive program that lasts 1-2 weeks. Due to the intended audiences of these programs, applicants are expected to be practicing professionals in veterinary medicine, physical therapy or emergency response.

Program Coursework

Prospective animal disaster response team members learn about the management of farm incidents as well as large animal handling and restraints. Students practice rescue techniques on plastic or actual animals and work with relevant equipment. In addition to the basics of animal anatomy, students learn how to treat injuries, and some programs introduce holistic medical approaches. Topics of study might include:

  • Animal behavior
  • Animal diseases
  • Biosecurity
  • Emergency euthanasia
  • First aid
  • Liability issues
  • Tranquilizers

Popular Careers

Large and small animal rescue and rehabilitation professionals can work in a variety of industries. Many professionals can offer services in animal recovery and restoration, including:

  • Emergency medical technicians
  • Firefighters
  • Police officers
  • Veterinarians
  • Veterinary assistants
  • Animal physical therapists

Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology

Associate degree programs in veterinary technology offer courses that provide students with an understanding of the foundational principles of veterinary health management and nursing. Graduates of these programs can work under the direction of licensed veterinarians to offer rehabilitation services. Associate degree programs usually take two years of full-time study. Applicants are expected to have completed high school, taking at least one year each of biology and chemistry and three years of math. Due to liability concerns, students are required to be at least 18 years old before enrolling in clinical courses.

Program Coursework

Programs in veterinary technology offer courses to prepare students for eventual clinical hours practicing veterinary assisting and office duties. Students study diagnostics, small animal health management, large animal nursing and microbiology. Class topics teach instrument sterilization, oncology, animal disease and pathology. Specific courses could include:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Anesthesia
  • Hematology
  • Pharmacology
  • Radiology

Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 13,890 jobs for animal control workers in 2012. Animal control workers earned median annual wages of $31,680 in 2012 as well.

Veterinary technologist and technician jobs will increase by a predicted 52% for the years 2010 through 2020, according to the BLS. Professionals in this field earned $30,290 as a median annual wage in 2012.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Many bachelor's degree programs in veterinary technology are designed as completion programs for students who have already earned an associate degree in veterinary technology. Completion programs take two years of full-time study for students with approved prerequisite coursework and training.

All states require registration, certification or licensure for veterinary technicians and technologists. Requirements vary by state, but many states use the Veterinary Technician National Examination, administered by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards, to test a professional's proficiency in veterinary medicine and procedures.

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