118.761 Canine and Feline Emergency Medicine (15 credit)*

Lecturer: Sarah Haldane BVSc, BAnSc, MANZCVS, MVSc, Dip ACVECC

Led by Sarah Haldane, this course will provide a thorough yet practical study of Canine and Feline Emergency Medicine offered in Massey University’s Master of Veterinary Medicine Programme (MVM).

Please note: Courses are revised following each offering. Details of content, assessment and cost are subject to change between offerings.

During the course you will learn how to approach the majority of emergencies seen in dogs and cats, how to perform rapid, effective stabilisation and how to plan and execute an efficient and rational diagnostic strategy. In short, it aims to teach you the essentials of how to be an effective emergency veterinarian.

What will you learn?

  • To proficiently perform triage and major body system assessment
  • To stabilise the emergency patient, with or without a tentative diagnosis
  • A problem-oriented approach to the common emergencies seen in clinical practice
  • To utilise cost-effective diagnostic strategies in the acutely ill or traumatised patient
  • To establish vascular access, instigate fluid therapy, pain relief and other aspects of supportive care
  • To perceptively monitor the emergency patient and how to predict and react to commonly occurring complications
  • To communicate with owners regarding the prognosis and the management options available for the care of canine and feline emergency patients.

How the course works

Emergency is one of the MVM courses for postgraduate veterinarians which is taught online via distance learning and led by a recognised international expert in the field.

The course is supported by the latest research, reviews and case material to challenge veterinarians with in-depth, relevant continuing education. Course materials include a printed guide to your reading and assessment which integrates online learning activities such as discussions, quizzes, lessons, library searches, critical evaluation and exercises for self-assessment with reading materials and personal study tasks.

Highlights of the emergency course include: A media rich, problem orientated approach to emergency medicine and the opportunity to debate issues and clarify concepts in a supportive learning community.

With the MVM programme you have the flexibility to study when and where you want and the support of the MVM team to gain an internationally-recognised veterinary qualification that will help you in your practice every day.

Your lecturer

Sarah has worked in emergency and critical care referral practice since 1998, both in private practice and university hospitals. She completed her ECC residency at the University of Illinois and The Ohio State University in 2005 and is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care. She has been President of the Anaesthesia, Emergency and Critical Care chapter of the ANZCVSc as well as an examiner for membership examinations for the college. She has been a regular national and international speaker on emergency and critical care topics. Her clinical interests include pain recognition and management, transfusion medicine, clinical pharmacology, toxicology and veterinary education.

Course features

In-depth part-time study 24 teaching weeks spread over a 7-8 month period

Learning materials and facilities

  • Lecturer authored course notes
  • Study guide
  • Electronic library access
  • 3 day workshop: face to face or an online option for some sessions

Learning community

  • MVM Commons community site 
  • Online case discussion facilitated
  • Social forum


  • Online test (formative) 
  • Emergency protocol (written assignment)
  • Case management critique (written assignment)
  • Online final examination (remote proctoring)

Course requirements

  • Internet access:
    You need regular access to a computer and the internet so you can participate in class discussions and assessments online. A high speed internet connection is desirable but not essential.
  • Textbook (compulsory):

    Small Animal Critical Care Medicine. Silverstein DC, Hopper K (Eds) Second edition 2014. Saunders Elsevier, St Louis, MO
    ISBN: 978-1-4557-0306-7
    Notes: The textbook is your main reading for this course. You may wish to purchase a personal copy of this textbook but while you are enrolled as a Massey student it is available online via the Library.

Sarah Haldane

"This is the first paper I have done, and I approached it with nervous anticipation, wondering if I would be able to find time to fit study in. Thank goodness I did - it has been so worthwhile. I can honestly say I am now rarely overwhelmed by after hours emergencies, and my approach is so much more methodical."

"I really appreciate all these presentations and different ways of presenting the material. It allows all of us to learn within our own learning preferences. This course is fantastic, and the best I have attended on line. Very much in awe of all the work that has gone into it."

Contact/virtual workshop Information

*Due to COVID-19, contact workshops may have to be virtual. Please check your Stream site once enrolled for the current information or contact mvm@massey.ac.nz for the current information before you enrol.

The workshop is an opportunity for real-time interaction with your class and lecturer. Together you can build on the knowledge you’ve gained on the course through small group teaching, practical sessions and discussions of experiences in your own practice. 

For the best workshop experience, we recommend that you attend in real-time. While attendance is highly-recommended it is not compulsory in order to pass the course.

MEGA 1 2020

The contact workshop for Emergency Medicine will run alongside those for the Soft Tissue Surgery, Oncology, and Applied Veterinary Epidemiology courses. This format provides a great opportunity for you to meet students and staff from other courses within the MVM programme and to combine with them for some sessions.

Dates and Timings*

Enrolments open October 2019
Course start February 2020
Contact Workshop Check dates here
Exam period October – November 2020
Course end November 2020

*Please note: You can still apply for enrolment after the due dates above.
Places cannot be assured after these due dates; but late applications will be considered as long as remaining places are available.

If you have any questions please check with the MVM office.


You will find more detailed information on the 118.786 Course Page. Enrolments open October 1st in the year prior to study.

For more information on delivery and course content please contact the MVM team.