Veterinary Professional Training

Veterinary Professional Training

Created as part of the NSW Koala Strategy.

This veterinary professional development course has been created as part of the NSW Koala Strategy.

The course is aimed at veterinarians and veterinary nurses and focused at improving the knowledge and skills of veterinary staff related to wildlife triage, first aid, treatment and care.

The course is specifically designed with a focus on NSW native wildlife, but general principles can be applied to all Australian wildlife.

The course includes several downloadable take-home resources and links to external resources, so participants may refer back to important information as needed.

To be eligible for participation in the course:

  • Be a fully qualified registered veterinary professional (i.e. vet nurse or veterinarian)
  • Be an Australian citizens or permanent resident
  • Work in veterinary clinics or hospitals (not in industries or schools)

We encourage applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Veterinary professionals from other States and Territories are encouraged to apply.

The Taronga team are busy working to finalise details for the 2021/22 program, aiming to provide more training and subsidised enrolment opportunities across NSW and beyond. Keep an eye out for these updates. Applications for enrolments will open early August.

    Course details

    The next intake for the course will commence in September 2021. You can complete the online course at your own pace over three months.

    An optional workshop based in Sydney or in Dubbo will also be conducted for veterinary professionals and veterinary students interested in gaining hands-on experience. 

    Any details or information about future intakes will be outlined on this page.

    Structure, requirements and study load

    • Course structure: this course includes a combination of online components (20 CPD points), each with differing areas of focus, and an optional practical workshop delivered at Taronga Zoo Sydney and Taronga Western Plains Zoo (12 CPD points). You can choose to complete both the online and the practical components of the course, or the online component only
    • Practical requirements: to complete this course you will need to be a registered veterinary professional (i.e. veterinarian or veterinary nurse) or a student enrolled in a veterinary degree at a recognised University. All online modules of competency will need to be completed to obtain a certificate. To attend the practical component of this course (optional) you will need to have completed the online component
    • Study load:
      • The online component encompasses 5 modules of competency. It is estimated that this will take approximately 20 hours to complete. However, the course has been designed so you can complete it at your own pace over three months
      • The workshop is a one day, face-to-face hands-on practical with multiple presenters and demonstrations on the veterinary treatment and care of wildlife
    • Course entry requirements: you must be a registered veterinary professional (i.e. qualified veterinarian or veterinary nurse) or a veterinary student at a recognised University 

    Course contents

      Online component

      • Module 1 - Introduction to Treatment and Care of Wildlife
      • Module 2 - Amphibians and Reptiles Treatment and Care 
      • Module 3 - Birds Treatment and Care 
      • Module 4 - Mammals Treatment and Care 
      • Module 5 - Koalas Treatment and Care (developed by the Koala Health Hub)

      The modules have been developed by wildlife veterinarians of the Taronga Wildlife Hospitals, with the exception of Module 5 - Koalas Treatment and Care, which has been developed by the Koala Health Hub.

      For each of these modules, the content will cover the following topics:

      • Topic 1: Regulation, resources and risks. This topic will cover important facts about animal welfare and legislation pertaining to wildlife, what information to record in the initial examination of a wildlife patient, available sources of advice for assessing and treating wildlife patients, wildlife associated zoonotic diseases, and practices for minimising zoonotic disease risk at your practice
      • Topic 2: Handling and immediate housing. This topic will cover clinically relevant anatomy and physiology, handling techniques, basic housing and feeding of wildlife while hospitalised at your practice
      • Topic 3:  Assessment, triage and emergency care. This topic will cover clinical assessment, first aid, chemical restraint and criteria for euthanasia. Specifically, how to conduct a physical examination in the wildlife patient, the steps that follow initial assessment and triage, the principles of providing basic first aid to wildlife patients, basic information on providing fluids, wound care, the criteria and preferred methods for euthanasia of wildlife
      • Topic 4: Diagnosis and treatment. This topic will cover common injuries and diseases of wildlife, therapeutics, drug administration, pain management, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs

      Practical workshop component

      During the workshop, you will be presented with real case studies and will conduct diagnostic investigations covering triage, assessment, examination, diagnosis and treatment of wildlife (native reptiles, birds and mammals), as well as participate in a tour of the wildlife hospital facilities to learn about post-treatment care of wildlife. You will also learn how to perform necropsy diagnosis of wildlife.

      Course assessment

      The online course will be assessed through self-check question at the end of each topic and at least 10 final assessment questions at the end of each module. You will need to answer all questions correctly in order to get your completion certificate. CPD points for the online component of the course are assigned at a 1 hour: 1 point basis (20 CPD points). Attendance to the practical component (workshop) will result in an additional certificate. CPD points for the workshop are assigned at a 1 hour: 2 points basis (12 CPD point).

      Application process

      The online application process is used to determine your suitability within the course. Ensure you spend time reading the questions and completing your application before submitting. Please note that the application form is not designed to be completed on a mobile device. Please use a laptop or desktop computer when applying.

        All applicants must

        • Read the Course Information above and ensure you can meet the requirements of the course before lodging an application
        • Complete ALL questions in the online application. Incomplete applications will not be accepted and cannot progress any further

        On submission of your application you should receive a confirmation email to the email address you provided within your application. If you do not receive a confirmation email within 24 hours, please contact us at

        As part of your application

        You will be required to provide the following documents:

        • Copies of your qualifications or evidence that you are a student enrolled in a veterinary course

        If you wish to complete the practical component of the course, you can apply for the workshop at Taronga Zoo in Sydney or at Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo by listing your preference within the application. If you are successful in securing a position in the course and you have indicated that you would like to attend the practical component, you will also be offered a position at the workshop of your choice, where available.

        If your first preference is not available, we will give you the option to attend the workshop at the other location, where available. Please give careful consideration to your ability to commute should you be offered a position at a workshop that is not local to you.

        Application form privacy notice

        The application form contains information that identifies you and is defined as personal information under the NSW Privacy and Personal Information Act 1998 (PPIP Act). Taronga collects and manages the personal information you provide in accordance with the PPIP Act. Information provided in the application form, including information about your employment or education, is obtained for the purpose of assessing your application and eligibility for the course and coordinating training delivery. As part of this process, Taronga may also seek to verify information provided about your employment or education with identified employers or educational institutions. Taronga will not disclose your personal information to anybody else, unless you have given consent, or we are required by law. Some information may be used for reporting or program evaluation. Providing this information is voluntary. However, if you do not provide all of the information requested you may not be able to undertake the planned training. Information you provide will be stored securely and kept for a minimum of one year where there is no further action relating to the enrolment. It will be disposed of according to Taronga’s Records Management Policy. For more details on our privacy obligations, please contact or read Taronga's Privacy Policy. You may request access to your information at any time. To access or update your information contact

        Course dates

        Online course

        You can complete the online course at your own pace over three months.


        Saturday 5 February 2022Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo
        Saturday 12 February 2022Taronga Zoo Sydney
        Saturday 26 February 2022Taronga Zoo Sydney
        Saturday 12 March 2022Taronga Zoo Sydney
        Saturday 19 March 2022Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo