Veterinary Certification

Obtain your certification in Animal Hospice and Palliative Care!
The IAAHPC Animal Hospice and Palliative Care Certification Program is the first of its kind, certifying professionals all around the world to be able to better serve the families and pets that deserve such elevated care. Our instructors are at the top of their fields, specializing in neurology, cardiology, end-of-life, and pain management, just to name a few. This is an educational experience that you’ll only receive here at the IAAHPC.

Our Animal Hospice and Palliative Care Certification program is designed to elevate your expertise in the care and symptom management during this delicate part of a pet’s life. More often, families are requesting higher levels of support and care for their beloved pets. Knowing they’ve done all they can when the end-of-life journey shifts from “cure to comfort care” truly create peace of mind for the pet’s family.

Preparing for an animal’s death and comforting pet families takes special skills. The skills and topics addressed in our program are over-and-above the foundational learning for every professional. These credentials add to YOUR success in providing exceptional end-of-life care and support to pets and the families who love them.

For more information about the program, please contact our Program Administrator at ahpcprogram@iaahpc.org.

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 and includes:

  • The history of hospice
  • Overview of the IAAHPC program
  • Introduction to Animal Hospice &
  • Palliative Care
  • The Interdisciplinary Team in Hospice Care
  • Ethical Considerations and Decision Making
  • End of Life Communication
  • Legal and Safety Concerns
  • Basic Steps in Establishing a Hospice and Palliative Care Business

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 Workshop: Module 2

Take your communication skills to the highest level with this is a LIVE, interactive communication workshop with Dr. Jane Shaw of Colorado State University. This is a 2-day interactive, virtual event that will take place twice per certification year. You’ll get to meet Dr. Shaw as well as other fellow AHPC students from all over the world during this workshop. It’s been touted as “the best part of the certification program!” *Note: This is NOT a recording and attendance, and participation is required for the program*

Meet Dr. Jane Shaw

Advanced Animal Hospice and Palliative Care: Module 3
  • Advanced Medical Care
  • Prevalence of Conditions Seen in Hospice
  • Practice Balancing Efficacy of Care
  • Musculoskeletal conditions
  • Cognitive Dysfunction
  • Neurological Conditions
  • Respiratory Diseases
  • Overview of Cancer for End of Life Patients
  • Gastrointestinal Conditions
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Heart Failure
  • Pharmacology Interventions for Symptom Management
  • Physical Medicine
  • Complementary and Integrative Medicine
  • Interpreting Behavior to Guide End of Life
  • Care and Decisions
  • Assessing Animal Quality of Life
  • Comfort Care During Active Dying
  • Ethical Decision-making
  • Advanced Nursing Care
  • The Nursing Role in Hospice and Palliative Care
  • The Home Environment Assessment
  • Pain Management
  • The Nursing Role in Symptom Management and Client Relationship

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. It focuses on the neurobiology of pain mechanisms so as to understand the basis for mechanism-based treatments. 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
  • Opioids & Alpha-2 Agonists
  • Pain Assessment
  • Animal Health Technicians in Pain Management
  • Tricyclics & Anticonvulsants
  • Pain States
  • Adaptive & Maladaptive Pain
  • Visceral Pain

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
  • Overview of Companion Animal Euthanasia
  • Caregiver and Pet Considerations
  • Advanced Euthanasia Training (in collaboration with the Companion Animal Euthanasia Training Academy, CAETA)*
  • Physiology and Pharmacology
  • Pre-euthanasia Sedation and Anesthesia
  • Euthanasia Techniques
  • Challenging Situations

Meet Dr. Kathleen Cooney

Continuing Education/Conference Attendance

Attendance at the annual IAAHPC conference is strongly encouraged, whether that is in-person or online. Students need to obtain 20 hours of relevant animal hospice and palliative care continuing education (other than the AHPC Program Module CE) credits. This can be easily earned by attending the annual IAAHPC conference, whether in person or virtually. If conference attendance is not possible, students may be approved to purchase the immediate past year’s IAAHPC conference proceedings; please note this is determined on a case-by-case basis only.

Peer Reviewed Case Report & Final Examination

Case Report: Completion of one case report will be required as part of certification requirements. This case report will be assigned to an independent grader anonymously. A case report should involve patient care delivered during the 4-year period preceding the date of case study submission. The case should employ a well-structured, balanced strategy. It should reflect a coherent, cogent thought process regarding patient assessment and management. The case report should be of the caliber that it could be considered for publication in a peer-reviewed journal such as JAVMA or other peer-reviewed journals. Grammar, punctuation, and spelling should be on a level consistent with that of a professional journalist.

Online Final Exam: The AHPC 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 covers the breadth of current knowledge concerning animal hospice and palliative care and consists of a mix of multiple-choice and True/ False questions. Participants must achieve a passing score of 80 percent. The exam portal will be open for a period of two consecutive weeks. This two-week time frame will begin 4-6 weeks prior to the conference. The exam will be an online/open book exam that must be completed in a single session within a 3-hour time frame (from the time of starting the exam). Students must have successfully completed all 5 modules, continuing education hours and submitted their case study to qualify for taking the certifying exam.

Cost of Tuition

Licensed Veterinarian:

  • Introduction to Animal Hospice & Palliative Care, 25 hours: $1,000

  • Communication Workshop: $645

  • Annual IAAHPC Conference: Varies

  • Advanced Animal Hospice & Palliative Care, 25 hours: $1,000

  • Advanced Pain Management, 22 hours: $800 

  • Advanced Euthanasia Techniques, 10 hours: $300 

  • Case study review and final exam administration: $295

TOTAL COST OF TUITION: $4,040*

*Cost will depend on whether you purchase early bird pricing for the conference.

Licensed/Registered Veterinary Technician/Nurse: 

  • Introduction to Animal Hospice & Palliative Care, 25 hours: $800

  • Communication Workshop: $516

  • Annual IAAHPC Conference: Varies

  • Advanced Animal Hospice & Palliative Care, 25 hours: $800

  • Advanced Pain Management, 22 hours: $640

  • Advanced Euthanasia Techniques, 10 hours: $240 

  • Case study review and final exam administration: $295 

 TOTAL COST OF TUITION: $3,291* 

*Cost will depend on whether you purchase early bird pricing for the conference.

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