Veterinary Certification

If you’re passionate about providing compassionate end-of-life care to animals and their families, obtaining certification in Animal Hospice and Palliative Care is a great way to elevate your expertise and make a meaningful impact in your field.

What Is The Animal Hospice and Palliative Care Certification Program?

The IAAHPC Animal Hospice and Palliative Care Certification Program is pioneering in its field, being the first of its kind to certify veterinary professionals worldwide in delivering elevated care to families and their beloved pets during the end-of-life journey. Our program stands out not only for its unique focus on hospice and palliative care but also for the caliber of our instructors, who are experts in various specialties such as neurology, cardiology, end-of-life care, and pain management.

The Animal Hospice and Palliative Care Certification program is a comprehensive continuing education program approved by the Registry of Approved Continuing Education (RACE). It encompasses approximately 100 hours of coursework designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of veterinarians and licensed veterinary technicians and nurses in the field of animal hospice and palliative care.

Why The IAAHPC Certification Program?

Enrolling in the IAAHPC Animal Hospice and Palliative Care Certification Program offers a unique opportunity for veterinary professionals to expand their knowledge, enhance their skills, and make a meaningful difference in the lives of animals and their caregivers. Join us and be part of a transformative educational experience that you won’t find anywhere else.

Our instructors bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the program, ensuring that participants receive top-tier education from leaders in the field. By learning from these experts, participants gain insights and skills that are unmatched elsewhere. This educational experience is tailored to equip veterinary professionals with the expertise and confidence needed to provide compassionate and comprehensive care to animals and their families during challenging times.

How Does It Work?

The program is structured to provide participants with a thorough understanding of the fundamental concepts and principles of animal end-of-life care. It covers a wide range of topics, beginning with an overview of basic concepts and gradually progressing to more advanced topics related to veterinary medical, nursing, and caregiver care within the animal hospice model.

The AHPC Certification program consists of five (5) modules, each covering specific aspects of animal hospice and palliative care. In addition to completing these modules, there are other requirements for program completion:

  • IAAHPC Conference Attendance: Participants are required to attend the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC) conference OR purchase the immediate past year’s conference recordings. This conference provides valuable opportunities for networking, learning about the latest developments in the field, and participating in workshops and discussions relevant to animal hospice and palliative care.
  • Live Communication Workshop: Participants must also take part in the live communication workshop, which is held twice per year. This workshop may be conducted either virtually or in-person at the biennial IAAHPC conference. It focuses on enhancing participants’ communication skills in the context of animal hospice and palliative care, which is essential for effectively supporting clients and their animals during difficult times.
  • Advanced Euthanasia Techniques Workshop (Optional): At the biennial IAAHPC conference, an advanced euthanasia techniques workshop is offered. This workshop provides participants with advanced training and techniques related to euthanasia.

By fulfilling these requirements in addition to completing the modules, participants will gain a comprehensive understanding of animal hospice and palliative care and will be better equipped to provide compassionate and effective care to animals and their caregivers.

What Does Successful Completion Look Like?

Graduates of the AHPC Certification program are awarded the credentials of Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Veterinarian (CHPV®) or Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Technician (CHPT®). These credentials signify the successful completion of the program and demonstrate a commitment to providing exceptional end-of-life care and support to pets and their families.

For more information about the program, please contact our Program Administrator at


Introduction to Animal Hospice and Palliative Care: Module 1

The Introduction to Animal Hospice and Palliative Care module will provide a foundation for the understanding of this emerging field.
Topics include:

  • Overview of the certification program
  • Introduction to Animal Hospice & Palliative Care
  • The Interdisciplinary Team in Hospice Care
  • Ethical Considerations and Decision Making
  • Legal and Safety Concerns
  • Basic Steps in Establishing a Hospice and Palliative Care Business
  • And much more!

Meet the Faculty!

This course meets the requirements for 21.5 hours of continuing education credit in jurisdictions that recognize AAVSB RACE approval; however, participants should be aware that some boards have limitations on the number of hours accepted in certain categories and/or restrictions on certain methods of delivery of continuing education.

Communication: Module 2

One of the most important pieces to the sensitive nature of the animal hospice and end of life field is communication.The Communication Module consists of ten (10) hours of advanced recorded content, followed by a live communication workshop event.

This workshop is presented in conjunction with our biennial in-person conference and/or virtually, depending on the conference year. This popular module is continually changing and growing to fit our students’ needs. Your program administrator will be able to provide up-to-date details on this module at various times throughout the year.

Completion of the 10 hours of recorded content AND participation in the live workshop are required for credit towards the certification program.

Topics include:

  • Foundational Communication Skills
  • Non-Verbal Communication Skills
  • End-of-Life Decision Making
  • And much more!

Tuition for Module 2 includes the recorded content AND the live workshop.

Meet Kristi

Advanced Animal Hospice and Palliative Care: Module 3

The Advanced Animal Hospice and Palliative Care module will take a deep dive into specific medical conditions and nursing care required during end-of-life.

Topics include:

    • Advanced Medical Care
    • Musculoskeletal conditions
    • Cognitive Dysfunction
    • Neurological Conditions
    • Respiratory Diseases
    • Overview of Cancer for End of Life Patients
    • Gastrointestinal Conditions
    • Chronic Kidney Disease
    • Heart Failure
    • Advanced Nursing Care
    • The Nursing Role in Hospice and Palliative Care
    • And much more!

Meet our Faculty!

This course meets the requirements for 20 hours of continuing education credit in jurisdictions that recognize AAVSB RACE approval; however, participants should be aware that some boards have limitations on the number of hours accepted in certain categories and/or restrictions on certain methods of delivery of continuing education.

Advanced Pain Management: Module 4

This module embraces the multimodal treatment of pain management and provides an evidence-based approach to treatment options. Further, this module embraces the team approach to pain management, recognizing the valuable roles of the veterinarian, veterinary technician, and family in managing each case.

In particular, veterinary technicians play a major role in managing these patients for their lifetime and interact with veterinarians and families to be certain that patients are receiving optimal treatment. It’s also important for families to be informed and educated about the treatment options for their pets and receive appropriate follow-up care.

After completion of this module, students will understand the basic neurobiology of pain in companion animals and be able to apply the information in the selection of treatment modalities.

Topics include:

  • Osteoarthritis & Pain
  • Multimodal Management of Canine Osteoarthritis
  • NSAIDs
  • Pain Management in the Cat
  • Neurobiology of Pain – Parts 1 and 2
  • Pain Assessment
  • Adaptive & Maladaptive Pain
  • And much more!

Meet our Faculty!

This course meets the requirements for 20 hours of continuing education credit in jurisdictions that recognize AAVSB RACE approval; however, participants should be aware that some boards have limitations on the number of hours accepted in certain categories and/or restrictions on certain methods of delivery of continuing education.

Advanced Euthanasia Techniques: Module 5
Dr. Kathleen Cooney, an industry expert in veterinary euthanasia, presents this 10-hour virtual course to cover various methods of euthanasia techniques along with the physiology of death, the pharmacology of drugs and normal and abnormal post-mortem reactions, materials necessary for the procedure, and proper record keeping. Students of the IAAHPC certification program will also be able to join Dr. Cooney for an in-person euthanasia workshop at the bi-annual IAAHPC conference.

Topics include:

  • Physiology of death
  • Pharmacology
  • Normal and abnormal post-mortem reactions
  • Proper record keeping
  • And much more!

Meet Dr. Kathleen Cooney

This course meets the requirements for 10 hours of continuing education credit in jurisdictions that recognize AAVSB RACE approval; however, participants should be aware that some boards have limitations on the number of hours accepted in certain categories and/or restrictions on certain methods of delivery of continuing education.

Continuing Education Requirements

Students need to obtain 20 hours of relevant continuing education (in addition to completing the AHPC Program Modules). The easiest way to obtain these additional hours is by attending the annual IAAHPC conference, whether the conference is in-person or virtual. 

Approved CE Examples: 

  • Attendance to any IAAHPC conference
  • Review of past IAAHPC conference recordings
  • IAAHPC continuing education
  • Attendance to veterinary conferences
  • Other program certification completion (TCVM, CVPM, CVPP, etc)
  • Publication of articles, books, or chapters related to veterinary medicine
  • Presentation of lectures related to veterinary medicine

(*please note that any submitted CE is subject to the approval of the certification committee and may or may not be approved)

Case Report & Final Examination

Case Report: Submission of one case report is a part of certification requirements. This case report will be assigned to an independent grader anonymously. The case report should be of the caliber that it could be considered for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. For case report specifications, please email

Final Examination: The certification final exam is designed to test a well-defined body of knowledge representative of the current professional practice in animal hospice and palliative care. The online exam consists of a mix of multiple-choice and True/ False questions.

See what graduates are saying about our program!

“It’s so nice as a technician to have a new sense of purpose and know I can help people and animals in a more meaningful way”

-Leah Bornhorst, RVT


It’s a great course. I have recommended it to many people. I love the effort that everyone puts into it and the variety of topics. I honestly didn’t know what to expect so it’s been a pleasant surprise.

-Lori Themel, DVM, CHPV

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can enroll?

To enroll in the program, individuals must meet the following criteria:

  • Be licensed veterinarians.
  • Be credentialed veterinary technicians/nurses (or equivalent credentialing in
    their country).
  • Have a minimum of two (2) years of experience in the field.
  • Be members in good standing of the International Association for Animal
    Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC).

These requirements ensure that participants have a certain level of education, experience, and commitment to the field of animal hospice and palliative care.

What does the application process look like?

The application process for enrolling in the program typically involves the following steps:

  • Click Enroll Now on the Certification Page.
  • If you’re not already a member of the IAAHPC, you’ll need to join prior to
  • Complete a short enrollment application form.
  • Provide proof of current license as a veterinarian or credentialed veterinary
  • Submit a CV/resume detailing your professional experience in the field, along with an objective statement explaining why you desire to join the program.
  • Purchase Module 1 of the program to begin coursework immediately.
  • Upon submission of your application, it will be reviewed by the Program Administrator.
  • If all eligibility criteria are met, your application will be accepted, and you will be enrolled in the program.
  • If any eligibility criteria are not met, the Program Administrator reserves the right to decline your application.

This process ensures that applicants meet the necessary qualifications and are committed to participating in the program.

What is the time commitment?

The program’s duration can vary based on individual factors such as enrollment timing and time availability. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Minimum Duration: Some individuals, depending on when they enroll and their current time capacity, may complete the program in as little as 6-8 months.
  • Average Duration: On average, most students complete the program within a broader range of 10-16 months.
  • Module Completion Time: Each module typically takes an average of 30-60 days to complete. This time frame allows students to adequately engage with the course materials, assignments, and any practical components.

Factors influencing the completion timeline include the student’s prior knowledge, experience level, time commitment, and pace of learning. The program is designed to accommodate varying schedules while ensuring comprehensive understanding and proficiency in animal hospice and palliative care.

What is the financial investment?

The tuition fees for the program are as follows:

  • Veterinarians: $3,995
  • Licensed/Registered Veterinary Technician/Nurse: $3,375

For a detailed breakdown of each module tuition, please click email 

Can this program be completed virtually?

Yes, the program can be completed entirely virtually. Regardless of your location, you can participate in the program remotely. It’s worth noting that every other year, there is an opportunity to attend our in-person conference. This conference provides an unique opportunity for attendees from around the world to gather together.

Can I take the modules out of order?

No, the program is designed to be taken in sequential order. Each module builds upon the knowledge and skills gained in the previous ones, providing a structured learning experience. Taking the modules out of order may result in gaps in understanding and difficulty in following the curriculum effectively. Therefore, it’s recommended to follow the prescribed order for the best learning experience.

I haven’t written a paper in years- what advice do you have regarding the case report?

Writing a case report can be a daunting task, especially if you haven’t done it in a while. Here are some tips to help you navigate the process:

1. Understand the Structure: Familiarize yourself with the typical structure of a case report, which often includes sections such as Introduction, Case Presentation, Discussion, and Conclusion. Understanding this structure will give you a framework to work with.

2. Review Guidelines: You will be provided specific guidelines that outline all of the requirements for the case report. 

3. Gather Information: Collect all relevant information about the case you’re reporting on. This may include patient history, diagnostic tests, treatment protocols, and outcomes. Organize your notes to facilitate the writing process.

4. Seek Feedback: It is strongly recommended to seek feedback from peers, mentors, or instructors as you work on your case report. Their input can help you identify areas for improvement and refine your writing.

5. Edit and Revise: Finally, take the time to edit and revise your case report carefully. Pay attention to grammar, punctuation, and formatting to ensure professionalism and clarity.

Remember, writing a case report is a skill that can be developed with practice and patience. Don’t be discouraged by any initial challenges, and keep striving to improve with each iteration. Know that the IAAHPC is here to help you grow as a professional and will provide support all along the way.

I’m not sure if I meet the eligibility criteria- is there an advisor I can speak with?

Yes, you can definitely reach out to our Program Advisor for assistance regarding your eligibility or any other questions you may have. You can contact them via email at They will be happy to provide you with guidance and support as needed.

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