Online CPD for Vet Nurses

Nursing Brachycephalics (*NEW* - Sep 2023)



Start:  4th September 2023

CPD:   20 hours (UK), 20 points (AUS, NZ) over 8 / 10 weeks 

Level:  Intermediate




Brachycephalic breeds have seen a huge surge in popularity in recent years, and we are now nursing these patients on a daily basis.  These patients come with a whole host of breed specific problems, directly related to their anatomy, and this course aims to comprehensively cover all aspect of nursing brachycephalics in practice, including anaesthesia, medicine, surgery, critical care and our vitally important role in client education.


Week 1
An Introduction to Brachycephalics

  • Brachycephalic anatomy basics
  • Breeds commonly affected
  • Recent increase in popularity and the effects on the breed
  • Co-morbidities commonly seen in brachycephalics
  • Communication with owners

Learning objectives
After completion of this week, participants should be able to:

  • Recognise and discuss the anatomy of a brachycephalic patient
  • Understand the causes that can be attributed to clinical signs often displayed by patients suffering with BOAS
  • Identify co-morbidities often diagnosed in brachycephalic patients
  • Understand when and why communication with owners about brachycephalic pet ownership is vital
  • Understand the Cambridge BOAS assessment

Week 2
Brachy Breathing – Crisis and Management

  • Triage
  • Respiratory sounds
  • Blood gas analysis
  • Aspiration pneumonia
  • Oxygen therapy

Learning objectives
After completion of this week, participants should be able to:

  • Understand how to triage the brachycephalic patient
  • Recognise the difference between the various respiratory sounds
  • Identify the uses of blood gas analysis in respiratory conditions
  • Understand available treatments for aspiration pneumonia
  • Explain the different methods of providing oxygen therapy

Week 3
It’s a Hot Topic – Heatstroke Management

  • Heatstroke identification
  • Treatment options
  • Recovery process
  • Risks and complications

Learning objectives
After completion of this week, participants should be able to:

  • Identify a patient at risk of heatstroke
  • Explain how to care for the hot brachycephalic
  • Understand the risks associated with heatstroke
  • List the clinical signs to look out for in a recovering heatstroke patient
  • Describe treatments for the recovering heatstroke patient with a secondary condition

Week 4
Brachycephalic Anaesthesia

  • Balanced anaesthesia plans
  • Anaesthetic equipment
  • Anaesthetic monitoring

Learning objectives
After completion of this week, participants should be able to:

  • Understand how to perform a pre-anaesthetic evaluation
  • Design a patient specific anaesthesia plan, to include – premedication, induction, maintenance, and other medications to support the brachycephalic patient in the peri-anaesthesia period
  • Understand the approach to monitoring the brachycephalic patient under anaesthesia

Week 5
Managing a Difficult Airway

  • Pre-anaesthetic airway compromise and signs of potential difficult airways
  • Intubations, including tips and equipment aids
  • Ways to assist patient recovery from anaesthesia

Learning objectives
After completion of this week, participants should be able to:

  • Evaluate a patient prior to anaesthesia to determine severity of airway compromise
  • Identify the clinical signs to alert the anaesthetist to a potential difficult airway prior to induction
  • List the different intubation aids and how to maximise successful intubations, to maintain oxygenation and minimise hypoxia.
  • Understand how we can assist recoveries in the brachycephalic patient to achieve extubation and reduce incidence of post anaesthesia respiratory obstruction

Week 6
Head and Neck Surgery

  • Preparing the patient for surgery
  • Surgical techniques to correct common conditions – stenotic nares, elongated soft palate, everted laryngeal saccules, everted palatine tonsils, skin fold resection and tracheotomy/tracheostomy
  • Surgical techniques for conditions affecting the eyes – canthoplasty, grafting for ulceration, entropion etc.
  • Instrumentation

Learning objectives
After completion of this week, participants should be able to:

  • Prepare the patient for a range of procedures, including preparation of skin, eyes and mucous membranes
  • Correctly position patients for a range of surgical procedures involving the head and neck
  • Understand the most common surgical procedures, and explain these to owners
  • Tailor a post-operative care plan for each individual patient

Week 7
All the Other Problems Not in the Head and Neck!

  • Preparing the patient for surgery
  • Surgical techniques for a range of common conditions including caesarean sections, fracture repairs (humeral condyle), hiatus hernia, screw tail, hemilaminectomy and pulmonic stenosis
  • Instrumentation

Learning objectives
After completion of this week, participants should be able to:

  • Prepare theatre and the patient for a range of surgical procedures
  • Understand the most common surgical procedures, and explain these to owners
  • Tailor a post-operative care plan for each individual patient
  • Identify common surgical instruments and understand their use

Week 8

  • Corneal ulceration, exposure keratopathy and corneal pigmentation
  • Corneal sequestrums in cats
  • Entropion and Ectropion
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS)
  • Tear overflow and staining
  • Proptosis

Learning objectives
After completion of this week, participants should be able to:

  • Explain the common ocular conditions in the brachycephalic patient
  • Understand the treatment options for the above conditions
  • Feel more confident when nursing the ophthalmic patient and what specific considerations to bear in mind

This course will be fully tutored by Lydia Christie Woodend Smith, Katie Gray, Lisa Angell, Alison Young and Sian Woodham-Davies and will consist of 20 hours of CPD given in various formats, including tutorials, tasks, case studies, forum discussions and quizzes.  There will be two short written assignments for the course, one based on ECC and the other on an anaesthesia topic.

This course is tutored for 8 weeks, followed by a two week extension of untutored ‘catch up’ time, before the course officially ends.

All delegates will then have unlimited lifetime access to the learning material for future reference.


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Lydia Christie Woodend Smith






Katie Gray



After registering as an RVN in 2012, Katie worked as both a surgery nurse and then an emergency and critical care nurse at the Royal Veterinary College referral hospital, where she spent 6 years as a senior ECC nurse. During her time there, she completed the Advanced Nursing Diploma, a Post Graduate Certificate in Veterinary Education, and the Blue Cross Bereavement Certificate. Katie regularly lectures for VNs, both in the UK and internationally; and has written a few articles, including her own research into sepsis recognition. Since 2019, Katie has been working towards the Advanced Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling, and in Spring 2022 started working in a supportive role at The Ralph Veterinary Referral Hospital. Outside of work Katie volunteers for StreetVet, and she is on the Veterinary Critical Care Nurse Committee which is part of the British Association of Critical Care Nurses.


Lisa Angell

VTS (anaesthesia and analgesia), PgCert Vet Ed, FHEA, RVN


Lisa qualified as a veterinary nurse in 2007 and joined the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals at the Royal Veterinary College as a dedicated anaesthesia nurse in January 2010 following 7 years in general practice.  Lisa became head anaesthesia nurse in 2013.


In 2012, Lisa became board certified as a Veterinary Technician Specialist in anaesthesia and analgesia, and in 2020, Lisa graduated with a post graduate certificate in Veterinary Education. Lisa enjoys all aspects of anaesthesia but has a particular interest in locoregional analgesia techniques.


Alison Young

DipAVN (Surgical), VTS (Surgery) RVN


Alison qualified as a veterinary nurse whilst working at a small practice in Hertfordshire. She joined the Queen Mother Hospital in 2001 as a general surgery nurse and worked rotating through all areas of the hospital. In 2003 she joined the theatre nursing team and studied for the Diploma in Advanced Veterinary Nursing (Surgical) where she gained the highest marks for that year. Alison gained the VTS (Surgery) in 2015 and is Head Theatre Nurse at the Royal Veterinary College.


Sian Woodham-Davies



Sian qualified as a veterinary nurse in 2012 and after having spent some time in small practices she joined the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals in 2014. Sian is working in the Ophthalmology department and has a passion for nursing these cases. Sian is currently working towards her VTS in Ophthalmology and enjoys sharing her knowledge with fellow veterinary nurses as she feels it is a subject that is not widely covered in the nursing curriculum.


This online course is worth 20 hours of CPD.


A certificate will be available from the ‘My Courses’ section, for you to download and print, once you have completed the course.  A permanent record of your total CPD hours will also be recorded in your account section.


The Australian Veterinary Nurse and Technician (AVNAT) Regulatory Council has allocated 20 AVNAT CPD points to this continuing education activity.


This course is also recognised by the New Zealand Veterinary Nursing Association (NZVNA) as providing 20 CPD points.


Upon purchase you will be registered to attend the course, for 8 weeks from the start date.  The course will consist of various interactive tasks and lessons, including quizzes, case studies, forum discussions and further reading material.


The course is fully tutored, with new material will be provided each Monday morning, but the onus will be on the individual delegate to ensure that all tasks are fully complete.  The certificate will only be issued at the end of the course when all tasks have been accomplished.  Fewer CPD hours will be awarded at the the end of the course if there are unfinished tasks or there has been no contribution to the discussion forum, for example.


The course is fully flexible, and there are no weekly ‘deadlines’ – the lessons and tasks may be completed whenever is convenient for each delegate, and any live lessons with be recorded and made available later that same day.   Furthermore, all the course material will be available for a further 2 weeks, to allow delegates the opportunity to catch up on missed lessons and tasks, or to take the opportunity to delve further into the suggested reading texts.  Please note however, that the course will not be tutored by the speaker during these final two weeks, but the time spent will count towards your CPD hours.


After 10 weeks, the course will be complete and there will be no further opportunity to gain the certificate or CPD hours, however, you will have unlimited lifetime access to the tutorials, further reading and quizzes for future reference.  If you make any personal notes during the course using the ‘take notes’ app, these will be saved, along with your certificate and CPD record for permanent access in ‘My CPD’.


For some further information about our Online Tutored CPD courses – please read our PDF guide to Online Tutored CPD

This course has been listed as ‘Intermediate’ level


All of our courses are aimed at veterinary nurses in general practice, but everyone who works in the veterinary profession is very welcome to attend, whether you are a clinical receptionist, veterinary surgeon, student nurse or have been a qualified nurse for over 20 years!


The courses are not formally assessed for skill level, so the following CPD levels are just a rough guide to help you decide if a course may be more or less suitable:


  • Introduction – maybe most suitable for qualified nurses in general practice approaching a new topic or looking for a refresher course.
  • Intermediate – maybe most suitable for qualified nurses in general practice along with referral / specialist nurses looking for a refresher course
  • Advanced – maybe most suitable for referral / specialist nurses and highly experienced qualified nurses in general practice.

You will earn 350 Pawprint Points (£35 website credit) when you purchase this course


Our loyalty scheme rewards you with 10% in website credit to spend on future courses.  Choose pay with Pawprint Points during checkout.

Invoice My Practice

Payment with debit or credit card is the preferred payment method

Please ask your practice manager or accounts department to visit the website, register an account in their own name, and during checkout, complete the ‘delegate name’ and ‘delegate email’ sections with your personal details.  We will then register you a personal account on your behalf, and transfer the course booking over to your new personal account.  We will of course email you all the information you need to access this new account and your CPD course.

If you need an invoice and no other payment method is available to you, then please email [email protected] with all the following information:

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