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118.764 Canine and Feline Soft Tissue Surgery (15 credit) (2020 offering is full)

Lecturer: Richard Jerram BVSc, DACVS, Registered Specialist, Small Animal Surgery

This distance course will take a practical and relevant approach to the management of common soft tissue surgical conditions in the dog and cat. Many soft tissue surgical conditions can be challenging because they present infrequently in practice, and surgical procedures can be difficult to learn as normal anatomy has often been effaced by the disease process. Improve your decision making, peri-operative management and surgical technique by joining a supportive online study community.

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

What will you learn?

On this course you will learn:

  • enhanced skills in the planning and performance of common soft tissue surgical procedures in the dog and cat
  • to anticipate potential complications of surgery, minimise their occurrence and manage them confidently should they arise
  • to develop an individual patient plan from presentation to post-operative care, that incorporates client and patient needs.

How the course works

This course is taught via distance learning (you may know it as continuing education, distance education or continuing professional development) by a recognised international expert in his field.

In this course, Richard will use a mixture of textbooks, recent literature, videos and webinar sessions will help you better advise owners of possible options and outcomes, and how to recognise when surgical intervention is, or is not, appropriate.

Your lecturers

DR RICHARD JERRAM – BVSc Diplomate ACVS-SA Registered Specialist Small Animal Surgery

Richard graduated from Massey University in 1987.

He completed a three-year residency program from 1996-99 in small animal surgery at Texas A&M University. Richard is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in Small Animal Surgery.  He is a Registered Specialist in Small Animal Surgery in New Zealand and has been working at the Veterinary Specialist Group since 2001.

Richard regularly lectures to veterinarians and has published numerous articles on surgical topics in veterinary journals.

KYLE CLARK –  BVSc (Dist), MVSc, Diplomate ACVS-SA Registered Specialist Small Animal Surgery

Kyle graduated from Massey University with distinction in 2006. 

She left New Zealand to pursue specialization in Small Animal Surgery.  She completed a second rotating internship in Prince Edward Island, Canada and went on to complete a 3-year residency in small animal surgery.  In addition to this, she completed a Master’s degree in gait analysis of dogs.  Kyle became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and returned to New Zealand.  She has worked as a lecturer and surgeon at Massey University. Kyle joined the team of surgeons at Veterinary Specialists in 2016 and brings her skills of minimally invasive surgery to the group.

Course features

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

Learning materials and facilities

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

Learning community

  • MVM Commons community site 
  • Webinars with Richard (recorded)
  • Lecturer facilitated case discussions


  • Portfolio of course work (2 submissions)
  • Final assignment (online and offline components)

Course requirements

  • Internet access: high speed (broadband) internet access is required for this course to enable you to access full online content with ease.
  • Fossum TW (2019). Small animal surgery. 5th ed. Elsevier, Philadelphia, PA. ISBN: 0323443443, 9780323443449

  • Johnston SA and Tobias KM (2017). Veterinary Surgery: Small Animal Expert Consult (Two volume set) 2nd ed. Elsevier, Saunders, St. Louis, Missouri. ISBN: 9780323320658

NOTES: These textbooks are recommended for this paper.  You may wish to purchase a personal copy. As an enrolled student you will have access to the ebook format of the current editions (3 simultaneous users).

"The Soft Tissue Surgery course was very valuable for me. It gave me a lot more confidence in all parts of soft tissue surgery. The closure of wounds as well as the different dressings made me far more adventurous. It helped with removal of lumps on hard-to-close areas. My ability to predict possible outcomes and problems and explain it clearly to the owners was enhanced. It is much easier now to raise realistic expectations.

Starting with more basic things like placement of feeding tubes the course progressed through the different organ systems and areas of the body. It was very good to get deeper knowledge into the reasons and current discussions about different surgical procedures. There was a huge amount of background information which helped the final decision making. A lot of the surgical procedures covered occur in any first line practice. The course also extended into more specialist areas. This helped stretch the imagination of what is possible and again made it easier to give owners choices about the treatment of their animals that were realistic.

The very frequent webinars helped to enforce and extend the reading material. Pictures and videos were used to make sure that information was well explained and could be retained. Discussion with other participants about a large variety of cases shared everybody’s experience within their practice and how the solved problems.

Having a 4 day contact course with large amounts of practical work on its own is already worth starting this course. Being able to practice procedures under the guidance of an experienced surgeon increased the value of the course and I would suggest to anyone to make sure that they do attend the contact course.

I thoroughly enjoyed the course and would recommend it to anyone with interest in soft tissue surgery, whether they are reasonably new graduated or have been in practice for a long time."

Contact workshop Information

The contact workshop is an opportunity for face-to-face time 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 contact workshop experience we recommend that you attend in person. While attendance is highly-recommended it is not compulsory in order to pass the course. If you can’t make it in person you will be able to join some (non-practical) sessions live via the internet (we endeavour to record these sessions for review, but are unable to guarantee the quality of the recording).

MEGA 1 2020
The contact workshop for Soft Tissue Surgery will run alongside those for the Emergency Medicine, 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.

For more information on delivery and cost please visit the Massey University course site (detailed offering information for 2020 courses will be available from October 2019).

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