Animal Health Care

Study the care for health management of animals; pets, wildlife and domesticated farm animals; to work as a veterinary nurse, in an animal shelter or veterinary surgery.

Course Code: VAG100
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
Get started!

Turn your love for animals into a job

Do you want to work for a vet?
In a pet shop?
Or as an animal care technician or assistant?

  • A course originally built to cover everything found in a typical "vet nursing" course; plus more!
  • Understand animal health care; provides a head start in any animal industry job
  • Use this course as a vocational pathway toward employment in these industries
Learn to care for the health of any type of animal and understand the scope of services offered by animal care services, including in veterinary practices. This course is appropriate for anyone interested in working with animals including on a farm, a wildlife park or a veterinary practice. It is a sound foundation course and designed to cover much of the content that is found in a typical veterinary assistants course. 

Topics covered include: common health problems, animal behavior, signs of ill health, veterinary facilities, safety & first aid, administration of animal health, preventative health care, routine health treatments, health problems in domestic pets and rehabilitation care.

Graduates can use this as a credit toward a Certificate, if they do choose to continue studies with ACS or one of our affiliated colleges across the world.

Lesson Structure

There are 12 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Animal Health Care
    • nature and scope of veterinary services
    • private veterinary practices
    • other veterinary services; laboratories, quarantine, agriculture departments, pharmaceutical companies, educational, etc
    • other animal services; breeders, holiday care, etc.
    • animal welfare and control
    • veterinary services
    • code of practice
    • terminology
    • transporting animals
  2. Common Health Problems in farm animals and pets
    • causes of ill health
    • injury
    • conditions
    • nutritional problems
    • living organisms
    • parasites
    • family pets common conditions
    • dogs
    • cats
    • caged birds
    • aquarium fish
    • mice
    • wild animals common conditions
    • reptiles
  3. Animal Behaviour
    • communication in dogs
    • scent
    • barking
    • body language
    • handling cats
    • bird language
    • types of behavior
    • time orientation
    • space orientation
    • territorial behavior
    • aggression
    • horse psychology
  4. Signs of Ill Health
    • vital signs
    • the healthy animal
    • signs & symptoms of diseases
    • recognising ill health
    • diagnosis of diseases
    • taking smears
    • taking tissue samples
    • diagnosis and control of different types of diseases including
    • viruses
    • bacteria
    • protozoa
    • parasites
    • mites
    • fleas
  5. Veterinary Facilities
    • types of facilities; clinic, hospital, mobile facility, emergency facility,etc
    • first aid kit; aids for diagnosis, instruments, medicines, preparations, etc
    • record management
    • enclosure for animals
    • environmental requirements
  6. Safety Procedures
    • duty of care
    • lifting heavy weights
    • reducing back injury
    • protective equipment
    • dealing with chemicals
    • skin penetrating injuries
    • risk categories
    • separating animals
    • disposal of dead/infected tissues
    • dangerous non-animal wastes
    • storage and handling of medicines
    • handling larger animals
  7. Administration of Animal Health
    • animal insurance
    • quarantine
    • importing animals
    • managing a veterinary office
    • telephone usage
    • record keeping
    • filing information
  8. Animal First Aid
    • types of wounds
    • cuts
    • punctures
    • tears
    • treating and cleaning wounds
    • granulating wounds
    • stitching a wound
    • bone and joint problems
    • broken bones
    • tendon injury
    • poisoning
    • restraining animals during first aid
    • restraining cats
    • restraining dogs
    • restraining horses
    • restraining cattle
    • restraining sheep
  9. Preventative Health Care
    • preventing ill health
    • balanced diet
    • insect control
    • dip
    • vaccination
    • Comparing natural active immunity, artificial active immunity, natural passive immunity, and artificial active immunity
    • tetnus antiserum
    • types of vaccines
    • alternatives to vaccination
    • avoid stressing livestock
  10. Routine Health Treatments
    • desexing
    • castration
    • vasectomy
    • spaying
    • tubal ligation
    • castration of cats
    • dogs
    • pregancy
    • gestation periods
    • euthanasia
    • anaesthesia and analgesia
    • preparing an animal for surgery
    • sterilising equipment
    • castrating a colt
  11. Health Problems in Domestic Pets
    • burns
    • urinary tract infections;
    • shock
    • electrolytes
    • ticks
    • reptiles
    • fish problems
  12. Rehabilitation Care
    • scope of rehabilitation
    • planning a recovery
    • animal nursing
    • the hospital pen
    • monitoring temperature, pulse, respiration
    • enclosures

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Describe the scope of services offered by animal care services, including veterinary practices.
  • Describe common health problems in various animals, including injuries & diseases:
    • causes of ill health
    • problems in family pets
  • Explain the natural behaviour of different types of domestic animals in different situations.
    • natural behaviour of animals
    • problems in wild animals
    • behaviour in domestic animals
  • Identify common signs of ill health in different animals.
    • vital signs
    • the healthy animal
    • signs & symptoms of disease
    • diagnosis & control of diseases
  • Describe the purposes of different facilities used in veterinary practice.
    • the first aid kit
    • enclosures for animals
  • Determine safety procedures for a veterinary practice.
    • workplace safety
    • health & safety for veterinary practices
  • Describe different administration procedures in a veterinary practice.
    • animal insurance
    • legal considerations
    • managing a veterinary office
  • Describe/select first aid procedures/treatments for different animals in response to common health problems in animals.
    • types of wounds
    • treatments
  • Describe requirements for maintaining good health in domestic animals, including nutrition & preventative medicine.
    • preventing ill health
    • vaccinations
  • Develop an understanding of routine treatments for healthy animals.
    • desexing
    • managing a pregnancy
    • euthanasia
  • Develop a broader awareness of health problems and their treatment in domestic pets.
    • ticks
    • wildlife
    • birds
    • reptiles
    • fish
  • Develop skills in caring for animals prior to, during or after treatment
    • planning a recovery
    • animal nursing

What Opportunities Exist for People to Work in Animal Health?

The opportunities for working in this field are immense. New possibilities are emerging all the time.

This course is an excellent starting point; and may lead in any one of a whole variety of different career directions.

 

People with knowledge and training in animal health may be employed
in any of the following:

  • A General Practice Vet
  • Specialist Vets
  • Pathology Laboratories
  • Animal Hospitals
  • Government Veterinary Services
  • Pharmaceutical Departments
  • Educational and Research Organisations
  • Animal Refuges and Welfare Organisations
  • Pet Shops
  • Animal Breeders
  • Animal Accommodation Facilities (e.g. Kennels, Catteries etc)
  • Wildlife Reserves, Parks, Zoos
  • Farms
  • Suppliers of Veterinary products, pet foods etc.
  • Teaching institutions



Opportunities to work in Private Veterinary Clinics

 

Private veterinarians may operate a general practice (dealing with most types of animals, and most types of problems), or a specialist service (dealing with only certain types of animals, or services such as artificial insemination or embryo transfer).Traditionally, private vets are involved in diagnosing disease, and recommending treatment and/or control. In general, government departments only become involved when a serious contagious disease is suspected, when laboratory tests are needed, when public health may be threatened, or when a disease is unexplained & required detailed investigation. Veterinarians are scientists who have university level training. They are highly skilled professionals. They are commonly supported or assisted by veterinary assistants or nurses who may work in any or all of the following areas:

 

  •          Reception and general office duties
  •          Medical nursing -including investigative procedures
  •          Surgical nursing
  •          General cleaning
  •          Technical maintenance

 

Traditionally, veterinarians have employed people at various levels to undertake different combinations of some or all of these tasks.

The lowest level might be an "Animal Attendant" or "Trainee Veterinary Assistant" (terminology for jobs does vary over time and from place to place). These jobs may be involve tasks such as:

  • Feeding and watering animals
  • Grooming and exercising animals
  • Cleaning cages/enclosures
  • Changing dressings/bandages
  • Assisting in any other general duties at the same time as learning and increasing the scope of tasks that can be undertaken.

An Animal attendant would normally be closely supervised in their duties, by a veterinary nurse or a veterinarian. An animal attendant might not necessarily have any formal training; but people employed as such are often expected to pursue a course of training to develop further skills and qualify them to work at a higher level as a trainee veterinary nurse, and eventually a qualified veterinary nurse.



Pathology Laboratories

Pathologists conduct scientific investigations into samples sent to them by a vet.
These may be tissue samples, blood, etc. taken from a sick animal.


Quarantine Services

Animal quarantine laws vary from country to country.

Because of the seriousness of some diseases and conditions that affect animals, and may impact on human health (i.e. Rabies) or affect livestock production (i.e. Foot and Mouth disease), governments worldwide impose restrictions upon the movement of animals. Restrictions may apply at country, province, shire, state, district or even local levels.

Note: You should research and familiarise yourself with the laws that apply in your country or locality.

 


ACS Student Comment


Yes [I found the course valuable]. I have animals, I am a dog training instructor. I am planning to commence a business providing in-home care to a variety of animals. So I wanted to upgrade my knowledge of animal health. I enjoyed the course and feel I have learned a lot.
Beverley Bell, Australia, Animal Health Care course.



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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Dr Robert Browne

Zoologist, Environmental Scientist and Sustainability, science based consultancy with biotechnology corporations. Work focused on conservation and sustainability.
Robert has published work in the fields of nutrition, pathology, larval growth and develop

Alison Pearce

University Lecturer, Quality Assurance Manager, Writer and Research Technician. Alison originally graduated with an honors degree in science from university and beyond that has completed post graduate qualifications in education and eco-tourism. She has m





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Robert Browne

B.Sc., PhD

Robert’s science employment has included consultancy with biotechnology corporations and in response to the global biodiversity conservation crisis, and has focused on amphibian conservation and sustainability. Working with zoos in Australia, the USA, Europe, and as Research Officer for the IUCN has led Robert to work with collaborative conservation programs in the USA, Peoples Republic of China, Australia, Russian Federation, Islamic Republic of Iran, and Cameroon.

Robert has experience in a wide range of research fields supporting herpetological conservation and environmental sustainability. He has published in the scientific fields of nutrition, pathology, larval growth and development, husbandry, thermo-biology, reproduction technologies, and facility design. In addition to his work in research and other international projects for the conservation of amphibians, other vertebrates, and invertebrates, Robert is establishing a sustainability project with a research facility based in the region of a coastal village in Belize.

Julia Mayo-Ramsay

PhD (University of Tasmania), Graduate Certificate in Maritime Safety (AMC) LLM (Environmental Law ANU), GDLP (ANU), LLB (SCU), BL&JS (SCU), MAppSc (Hawkesbury), Graduate Diploma Agriculture (Hawkesbury), Certificate IV Training & Assessment, Certificate IV Frontline Management.

Dr Julia Mayo-Ramsay is a practising environmental and agricultural lawyer. She holds a PhD in International Environmental Law, LLM, BLJS, GDLP, LLM (Environmental Law) and a Master of Applied Science (Agriculture).
Julia started out in agriculture working on various dairy farms in the 1980s before working as dairy manager / tutor at Hawkesbury Agricultural College Richmond NSW. Julia then went on to work at Riverina Artificial Breeders at Tabletop (Albury) NSW as an embryo transfer technician assisting vets with artificial breeding and embryo transfer in cattle, sheep and deer. This was followed by two years as a herd manager for a very large commercial dairy herd milking 3,000 cows over three dairies on the outskirts of Sydney before heading overseas. In 1994 Julia accepted a position in NE Thailand at the Sakhon Nakhon Institute of Technology (now a University) training farmers and students in cattle breeding and dairy farm management. On returning to Australia in late 1996 Julia completed a Master of Applied Science in Agriculture at Hawkesbury Agricultural College (UWS) as well as law degrees and maritime studies. Julia now works as a Lawyer in the area of environmental and rural law.
Currently Julia teaches a variety of maritime subjects for Marine Rescue NSW.
As well as teaching Julia is working on a number of environmental research projects.

Gareth Pearce

B.Sc.(Hons), B.V.Sc., M.A., M.Vet.S,. PhD, Grad. Cert. Ed.(HE), Post-Grad.Cert. Aq.Vet.Sc., Post-Grad. Cert. WLBio&Cons., Dipl. ECPHM, MRCVS.
Gareth has over 25 years of experience in teaching and research in agriculture, veterinary medicine, wildlife ecology and conservation in a variety of colleges and universities in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. He qualified as a veterinary surgeon at the Universities of Melbourne and Bristol, having previously graduated in Agricultural Science and gained a PhD in Livestock Behaviour and Production. He also has post-graduate qualifications in Education, Wildlife Conservation Medicine, Aquatic Veterinary Studies and Wildlife Biology & Conservation.

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