Certificate in Animal Health

Train for a career in animal health or welfare with this home study certificate in animal health. Study online, by distance education.

Course Code: VAG015
Fee Code: CT
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 600 hours
Qualification Certificate
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Study for a Career in Animal Health or Animal Welfare

This is a comprehensive and practical course for anyone who wants to better understand the health and well-being of animals.

The course is designed to provide a foundation for employment in any type of animal care job including:

  • pet care
  • farm livestock
  • wildlife (captive or free)

ACS Student comment:
I am reading and learning so many different things I did not previously know or understand about animals.  The assignment comments by the tutor are very encouraging and helpful. Lisbeth Fletcher, Netherlands, Certificate in Animal Health Care.

By studying this course you will learn about:
  • animal anatomy and physiology
  • diagnosing animal diseases
  • natural animal health care
  • animal health and care
  • animal psychology and/or animal feed and nutrition

Studying this course will give you a thorough understanding of the process involved in maintaining animal health.

For detailed information on each of the subjects in this course follow the links in the section below:

Note: Animal Health Reference books are available for sale in the A.C.S Bookshop

 

Modules

Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Certificate in Animal Health.
 Animal Anatomy And Physiology (Animal Husbandry I) BAG101
 Animal Health Care VAG100
 Animal Feed & Nutrition (Animal Husbandry III) BAG202
 
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 3 of the following 5 modules.
 Animal Behaviour BAG203
 Animal Diseases BAG219
 Animal Health (Animal Husbandry II) BAG201
 Animal Welfare BAG224
 Natural Health Care for Animals BAG218
 

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


HOW IS A CLINICAL EXAMINATION CARRIED OUT?


Recognising the differences between what is normal and what is abnormal about an animal or group of animals forms the basic foundation for good animal husbandry and veterinary medicine. Using your powers of observation can be very important for the early recognition of subtle abnormalities. Observation of behavioural changes, changes in energy levels, elimination changes (urine and faeces) and physical changes are important, but don't just evaluate the animal, evaluate its environment, too. Ask questions such as:
  • How is the animal housed?
  • What are the climatic conditions?
  • What plants do they have access to?
  • Are they hand fed or do they graze?

This type of information is very important in the process of determining what disease processes are occurring. In addition to evaluating the animal’s environment, recording and compiling animal information such as type and condition of animals, age, sex, number of affected animals, and progression of disease are the first steps in the disease recognition process.

When dealing with diseased animals it is important to remember that some diseases are zoonoses (they are transmissible to humans). When undertaking a physical examination or post mortem examination, wear protective clothing, gloves and overalls.

Physical examination

A physical examination is the next step in identifying diseases or conditions in animals. The veterinarian will examine the whole animal and not just the obviously affected area.

It is helpful to start by examining the non-painful areas and then moving on to those areas that show discomfort. If an animal is in a lot of pain, the veterinarian may suggest lightly anesthetizing the animal so a more complete exam can be safely conducted.

The exam will generally include:

  • Weighing the animal
  • taking the temperature
  • Listening to the heart and lungs
  • Checking eyes, ears, nose, etc.
  • Examining the skin for any trauma or puncture wounds
  • Examining all the limbs
  • Watching the animal move about the exam room or outside on the grass
  • Performing special manipulations of various body parts e.g., neck, limbs

 

Post Mortem or Necropsy

Autopsy refers to an examination of a deceased human. When the examination is done on a deceased non-human animal, the procedure is called a "necropsy." Necropsies are generally conducted by veterinarians or suitably trained government inspectors.

There will be times when neither is available to you, and you may need to undertake specimen collection yourself. In this case it is important to understand what to samples to collect and how to collect, preserve, and send specimens for laboratory analysis.

Always seek the advice of a veterinarian, relevant government inspector, or the testing laboratory, to ensure you are taking the correct samples and using the appropriate transport media.  

Various methods may be used to perform necropsies and, as long as all organ systems are examined thoroughly, each technique has its merits. Ideally, necropsies should be conducted in a post mortem room, but if this is not possible, they may be carried out in the field. It should be remembered that on-farm examinations may be limited and may only involve sample collection.

The value of undertaking a post mortem allows for a concise interim pathology report to be produced. This report should describe lesions, outline preliminary conclusions and, if possible, include a morphological diagnosis.

Microbiology, parasitology, biochemistry, histopathology etc. may then be needed to assist in establishing a diagnosis.

We discussed earlier how a physical examination of a live animal may be undertaken but if an animal is presented to you is already dead, it is still important to make a thorough external examination of the animal. Questions to ask include:

  • How long has it been dead?
  • Has rigor mortis set in?
  • What is the body condition of the animal?
  • Is sternal or lateral recumbency exhibited?
  • Are there any wounds or injuries?
  • Are they old or relatively recent?

Note any discharges from body orifices. Be aware that these may be a result of post-mortem changes rather than part of a disease condition. When an animal dies the body sphincters and muscle tone relaxes, allowing the stomach contents to regurgitate and urine/faeces to discharge from the body.

When performing the post mortem or necropsy it is very important to be methodical. Take care not to cross-contaminate the organs with dirty equipment and to avoid contaminating the organs with intestinal contents.

WHY WOULD YOU CHOOSE THIS COURSE?

This is a course that takes you well beyond the scope of learning in a veterinary nursing or vet assistants course; but significantly less than what would be covered by a veterinary degree.

  • Some students take this so they can care for their own animals. They may live in an isolated location or a place where veterinary care is severely limited. Undertaking this course could be be next best thing to having a veterinarian on call.
  • Others may use this to expand their knowledge and understanding of animal health care to an advanced level, in order to give them a career advantage in the workplace or agricultural business world.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112


How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

You can see the course price at the top of this page. Click 'enrolment options' to see any payment options available.

You can pay by Credit Card, PayPal, Afterpay or bank transfer.

Yes! We have payment plans for most courses. Click 'enrolment options' to see the available payment plans.
We also have Afterpay that will allow you to pay for your course or payment plans in four instalments (if you are in Australia).


What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course is aimed at providing you with a solid understanding in your selected discipline. It has been designed to take 600 hours, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and more. When you complete the course, will have a good understanding of the area/ industry you want to work in.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your login.training portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $55 (AUS) $50 (O/S) for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exams (6 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Certificate. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email acs@oamps.com.au.


Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.


How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.


What if I have any more questions or need more information?

We can assist you to find the right course for your needs. Get in touch with us via email (admin@acs.edu.au) call on +61 7 5562 1088 or complete our course advice form.


What if I change my mind?

Please get in touch with studentservices@acs.edu.au if you would like to be removed from our mail list.

If you would like ACS Distance Education to delete your information at any time (whether you are a customer or a prospective customer), please contact our privacy officer and we will process this ( admin@acs.edu.au ).




Course Contributors

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

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

Alison Pearce (Agri & Animal)

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

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





Tutors

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

Megan Cox

Megan has completed a Bachelor of Science (Environmental Conservation) with Honours from Writtle University College, as well as a Master of Science Degree in Countryside Management from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Her experience includes working as a Botanist, Ecologist, Head Gardener, Market Gardener and a Farming and Conservation Officer.

She has worked in various roles in Horticulture, Agriculture and Ecology since 2005. Megan has worked for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Centre for Environment and Rural Affairs among other organisations in the UK, as well as in Australia and Cambodia.

Sarah Pirecki

A passionate advocate for animal health and welfare. Sarah completed a Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Bioscience majoring in Animal Health and Disease and is currently completing a Diploma of Project Management. She has a wide range of experience working in agricultural settings, veterinary nursing, assistance dog raising, and animal education.

Jade Sciascia

Former Business Coordinator, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Secondary School teacher (Biology); Administrator (Recruitment), Senior Supervisor (Youth Welfare). International Business Manager for IARC. Academic officer and writer with ACS for over 10 years, both in Australia and in the UK.

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