Advanced Certificate in Animal Health

Become an animal health professional. Learn to manage a range of domestic animals including livestock. Provide consultancy services to farmers and other animal owners.

Course CodeVAG058
Fee CodeAC
Duration (approx)900 hours
QualificationAdvanced Certificate

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Forge Yourself Opportunities Working With Animals

A knowledge of animal health and wellbeing is vital in industries where animals are bred and grown. There are also many fringe industries where animals may be used but are not the main part of the business.   

The study of animal health is also of great value to individuals who would like to set up businesses which involve animals in some way. 

This Advanced Certificate in Animal Health will provide a range of skills and knowledge to meet the needs of a diverse range of people working in and around animal management.  


Gain the skills for success in animal health

The agriculture industry is diverse and highly varied, therefore the opportunities for you in this industry are limitless.

The course tutors available to you, are skilled professionals who are fully qualified in the various subject areas. The combination of their qualifications and many years of actual practical experience, will benefit you greatly as you work through the course. 

Through practical tasks, research, observation and networking; when studying with ACS, you are guided to develop not only knowledge of agricultural science, but also "understanding", "awareness" and the right "attitude" that is needed to build either a sustainable career or business.

How to work towards your strengths

  • This course is different to many others, because it goes well beyond just teaching you the basic animal husbandry skills, but offers a solid foundation of the necessary agricultural science and industry background.
    It is an "experiential based" learning program; designed to get you involved with a variety of industry professionals, while exploring the nature and scope of this field.
  • You can direct your studies to your current area of expertise, or choose a new direction for yourself.  You can also make your studies as focused or as broad as you need it to be.



Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate in Animal Health.
 Animal Anatomy And Physiology (Animal Husbandry I) BAG101
 Animal Health Care VAG100
 Research Project I BGN102
 Animal Diseases BAG219
 Animal Feed & Nutrition (Animal Husbandry III) BAG202
 Natural Health Care for Animals BAG218
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 3 of the following 27 modules.
 Industry Project BIP000
 Dog Care BAG105
 Farm Management BAG104
 Horse Care I BAG102
 Marine Studies I BEN103
 Ornithology BEN102
 Pet Care AAG100
 Vertebrate Zoology BEN104
 Animal Behaviour BAG203
 Animal Health (Animal Husbandry II) BAG201
 Aquaculture BAG211
 Beef Cattle BAG206
 Dairy Cattle BAG205
 Equine Behaviour BAG216
 Goat Production BAG223
 Horse Care II BAG204
 Mariculture - Marine Aquaculture BAG220
 Marine Studies II BEN203
 Pasture Management BAG212
 Pigs BAG209
 Poultry BAG208
 Sheep BAG210
 Wildlife Conservation BEN206
 Wildlife Management BEN205
 Zoo Keeping BEN208
 Animal Breeding BAG301
 Horse Care III BAG302

Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate in Animal Health is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

Working with Animals

The veterinary industry alone involves vet assistants, receptionists, veterinary supply companies, hospital staff, rescue and animal shelter staff and more.

Animal care industries fall into three broad categories: Farm Animals, Pets and Wildlife

These areas sometimes overlap, and all require similar skills and knowledge. The opportunities you will find can change over time, and may be different in some countries to others.

For example:

In wealthy countries where there is a lot of disposable income, there can also be a lot of money spent on pets; for example the cost of caring for a dog over the course of its life in Australia can be more than half the annual income of an individual.

In some African countries, wildlife tourism may be a significant contributor to the country’s economy, and this will provide a significant motivation for jobs to be created in wildlife conservation.

Some countries that have economies dependent heavily on agriculture, will offer more work with farm animals than with pets or wildlife.

This course provides a wonderful foundation for any career pathway you might evolve into.

Learn to Better Manage the Health, Welfare and Productivity of Farm Animals

Healthy, happy animals are going to be the most productive and profitable; hence caring for the animal's well being is the cornerstone of farm animal husbandry.

When an animal’s health is at risk then it is important for the owner or carer to seek veterinary assistance, if not then this can become a welfare concern.  Again, if the welfare of the animal is under consideration, then this may have effects on the overall health of the animal.  
To ensure the health and welfare needs of an animal are met to a satisfactory standard then it is important to think about the following factors;

  •  The animal(s) should be fed an appropriate diet, and fresh drinking water should be available.

  •  Clean, adequate housing and shelter for protection.

  •  Right to exercise, or move freely within an enclosure and exhibit natural behaviour.

  •  Live free from pain, suffering, injury or disease.  

An appropriate diet should be fed to keep the animal in optimum health as many health issues can arise from feeding the wrong or inappropriate diet.  An example of this is Guinea Pigs as they, like humans, cannot synthesize vitamin C within their bodies and require this within their diet.  If fed a similar food, such as rabbit mix, then this does not contain enough added vitamin C resulting in Scurvy, a vitamin C deficiency.  Likewise, cats should not be fed dog food as it does not contain a high enough protein level and cats require an essential amino acid known as taurine.

A safe clean environment should be provided for any animal with adequate shelter to protect them from the weather extremities which can cause health issues.  Extreme heat may lead to sunburn and heatstroke, extreme cold may lead to hypothermia.  The environment should be safe with no areas which may cause injury or entrapment.  They should also be kept safe from predatory species and be protected from any dangers, such as roads or rivers.  
Any animal should be free to express natural behaviours and exercise accordingly, this will allow the animal to keep fit and reduce any stress levels.  Mental stimulation is also important to stop boredom, resulting in a healthy, happy animal.  
If an animal is in pain and is suffering then it should be seen by a veterinary surgeon.  If left to continue on with an existing injury then this would lead to distress, and may also lead to secondary infections.  If an animal is suspected to have an infection or disease then it is vital that the animal gets diagnosed and treated by a vet to prevent further suffering.  

Prevention is always best
Sometimes prevention is more important than the treatment, and it is vital that we investigate the ways in which we can help prevent illness, injury and disease in animals.  It is important that we not only look after the general health and wellbeing of the animal, but also the environment around them.
There are many points for consideration in the way we help prevent disease and injury. These include:

  • Inspect pets regularly for signs of ill health

  • Follow preventative measure advised from vets

  • Observe behaviours

  • Feed a balanced nutritious diet

  • Change water regularly and keep free from contamination

  • Provide suitable exercise for animals

  • Provide stimulation, both physical and mental

  • Provide good ventilation for sleeping areas

  • Ensure animals are not exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations

  • Ensure there is adequate shelter and protection if housed outside

  • Check environment for potential threats such as toxic plants, sharps, broken areas and anything on which they might potentially injure themselves

  • Ensure animals used for production are not overworked or stressed



Where can this course lead you?

If your studies have developed a proper foundation; you will enter the workforce with a network of contacts, an awareness of opportunities, and you will continue learning afterwards, through experience.

An extensive course like this is sets you on the path to develop your career faster, easier and more appropriate; provided you approach your career with realistic expectations.

For ongoing success, you need to become "connected".  This networking within the industry will provide the basis to remain "connected", so that you can evolve and adapt to changes as your career moves forward.


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Dr. Gareth Pearce

Veterinary scientist and surgeon with expertise in agriculture and environmental science, with over 25 years of experience in teaching and research in agriculture, veterinary medicine, wildlife ecology and conservation in the UK, Australia and New Zealand
Cheryl Wilson

Cheryl has spent two decades working in agriculture, equine and education industries, across England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand. She graduated with a B.Sc.(Hons), HND Horse Mgt, C&G Teaching Cert. For several years, Cheryl managed the distance
Alison Pearce

Alison brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to ACS students. She has worked as a University Lecturer, has also run a veterinary operating theatre; responsible for animal anaesthesia, instrument preparation, and assistance with surgical techniqu
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