The VTNE, formally known as the Veterinary Technician National Examination, is a comprehensive and challenging assessment for men and women looking to enter this exciting and fast-paced field of health care. This exam is developed by the American Association of the Veterinary State Boards in consultation with an expert team of exam administrators.
The test consists of 225 multiple-choice questions, 25 of which are pretest items used to develop future versions of the exam. It is impossible to identify pretest questions, which do not contribute to the final score.
The VTNE covers the seven practice domains: pharmacy and pharmacology (14 percent of the exam); surgical preparation and assisting (16 percent); dentistry (8 percent); laboratory procedures (15 percent); animal care and nursing (24 percent); diagnostic imaging (8 percent); and anesthesia and analgesia (15 percent).
In order to succeed on the exam, candidates need to know anatomy; normal physiology, including theriogenology; pathophysiology; and common animal diseases. The exam will also cover issues related to medical terminology; toxicology; and applied mathematics, which include, but are not limited to, the metric system, weights, measures, percentage solutions, and dosage calculations.
Before sitting for the VTNE, test takers should refresh their knowledge of drug classification; the routes of administration of pharmacological and biological agents; and the legal requirements and procedures for preparing, storing, and dispensing pharmacological and biological agents. In addition, candidates must know the contraindications, side effects, and normal and abnormal drug reactions and interactions.
The test also requires knowledge of therapeutic techniques, including fluid balance and therapy, aseptic techniques, sterilization techniques and quality assurance for equipment and supplies, patient positioning techniques, surgical procedures, sterile and circulating surgical assisting procedures and instrumentation, and suturing methods and techniques.
An official VTNE score report will be available approximately three to four weeks after the date of the examination. It is also sent to the relevant board of certification. The raw score (the number of questions answered correctly) is placed either on a scale from 200 to 800 or on a scale from 0 to 100, depending on the preference of the jurisdiction. The minimum passing score is either 425 or 70.
VTNE Exam Practice Questions
1. Rattlesnake envenomation produces this type of poikilocyte:
2. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin represent a leading cause of toxicoses in small animals. What is their common mechanism of action?
a. Bone marrow suppression
b. Smooth muscle contraction
c. Prostaglandin synthesis inhibition
d. Vasodilation of renal vessels
3. Improper handling or restraint of rabbits can result in this common injury:
a. Diaphragmatic hernia
b. Spinal fracture or luxation
c. Splenic rupture
d. Skull fracture
4. Which small mammal has a high risk of dystocia if bred after 6 months of age?
c. Guinea pig
5. Animals poisoned with ethylene glycol (antifreeze) often have large numbers of these crystals in the urine:
b. Ammonium biurate
d. Calcium oxalate
1. B: Echinocytes are small, crenated (shrunken) erythrocytes characterized by the presence of 10-30 spikes or spicules on their outer membrane. Normally they are most numerous within the first 24 hours of envenomation, before the development of clinical signs, and will affect almost 100% of the red blood cells. After 2-3 days, the echinocytes steadily decrease in number and eventually become absent on a blood smear. It is important to note, however, that in some animals echinocytes do not appear at all following envenomation and that appropriate medical therapy will still need to be implemented.
2. C: Prostaglandins are chemicals that mediate an array of normal physiologic functions such as platelet aggregation, renal blood flow, and gastric acid production. In addition, they protect the cells lining the gastrointestinal (GI) tract from noxious chemicals. When over-the-counter NSAIDs are mistakenly given or accidentally ingested in large quantities, they work to inhibit prostaglandin synthesis, which can potentially lead to a myriad of life-threatening problems such as GI ulceration, clotting abnormalities, and kidney failure.
It is important to note that the toxic dose of any NSAID can vary between animals depending on individual sensitivities, and actual manifestation of clinical signs (melena, vomiting, etc) can be delayed by up to 4 days following ingestion. This being said, many owners do not seek out veterinary care unless clinical signs are present and only after the damage has already been done. Thus, it is important to recommend to clients who may have administered or suspect that their animals have ingested any NSAID that their animal be seen immediately for a consultation.
3. B: Rabbits that are allowed to frantically kick, whether confined in a cage or while being restrained, or rabbits that are dropped can fracture or dislocate their lumbar vertebrae. The result is hind limb paresis or paralysis that only rarely responds to emergency medical therapy.
When handled or restrained, rabbits need to have their hind end fully supported. This can be accomplished with a “football” hold, whereby the rabbit’s head is tucked into the handler’s arm with one hand, and the other hand supports its hind end. If rabbits are kept at the clinic and become too excited in a cage, then they will need to be moved to a small carrier to prevent excessive movement.
4. C: The pubic symphysis of guinea pigs fuses together between 7 and 8 months of age and is normally not an issue with nonbreeding females. Guinea pigs that are acquired for breeding purposes, however, and are bred after 6 months of age will experience difficult labor and possibly dystocia if they are unable to separate the symphysis during parturition.
5. D: Calcium oxalate monohydrate urolithiasis is a common occurrence in animals that have ingested antifreeze (ethylene glycol). It occurs as a result of ethylene glycol metabolism in the liver, the end products of which are several potentially lethal toxic metabolites, one of which is oxalate. These metabolites direct their toxic effects on the kidneys by destroying renal epithelial cells as well as by obstructing the renal tubules, which ultimately results in acute renal failure.