What Disease is that?
Study this course and gain a foundation that allows you to systematically investigate and determine health issues in animals.
(Note: The professionals involved and regulations governing their scope of operation can vary from one country to another)
Routine disease investigations are based on clinical, pathological and epidemiological evidence. If there is a need for conclusive identification of a disease or condition, an accurate laboratory diagnosis should be obtained. It is particularly important, especially in the case of infectious diseases that the final diagnosis rests on adequate aetiological evidence. In most cases disease investigations are carried out by qualified government stock inspectors and/or veterinarians. It helps for animal owners to understand and be able to recognise diseases conditions that may affect their animals, so that timely intervention can occur.
This course is proposed to have twelve lessons:
- How Animal Diseases are Diagnosed
- How Examinations are conducted, what information to collect and how to collect it, what specialist support services are available to assist in diagnosis (ie. Labs/pathology, Specialist Vets etc)
- Processes for Diagnosis
- What pathways are followed to detect & diagnose different types of diseases
- Bacteria and Protazoa
- Worms and other Parasites
- Nutrient Problems
- Inherited Conditions and Genetic Disorders
- Other Diseases and Conditions
- Research Project
Learn to Recognise Poor Health
The first step in disease recognition and control is being able to recognise when an animal or group of animals is unwell.: By compiling information from the history of an animal or group of animals, conducting a physical examination, and undertaking special testing (if necessary) the veterinarian or government inspector is generally able to determine the cause of a condition or disease.
The following list outlines some of the more common signs that can be looked out for in an ill animal:
Common signs of an ill or injured animal
- The animal not eating as much as usual – this is usually the first sign you will notice
- It may also drink more or less water than normal, depending on the illness.
- An animal standing by itself away from the herd
- Animal limping or dragging a leg
- Discharge from eyes, nose, or vaginal area
- There may be abnormal lumps
- The eyes may be dull and the mucous membranes may have changed colour. Deep red membranes indicate fever; pale membranes show anaemia; yellow membranes indicate a liver disorder, while blue-red membranes show heart and circulatory problems, or pneumonia.
- Animal making unusual noise (bellowing, grunting)
- Animal acting uncomfortable, getting up and down
- The animal might be sweating. A cold sweat indicates pain while a hot sweat indicates fever.
- If the animal is in pain it will probably be restless (getting up and down and pacing about), and it may even be groaning
- Diarrhoea or straining to defecate
- Animal not defecating or with very little stool
- Animal urinating a lot, or not as much as usual
- Marked weight loss or gain
- The coat will look dull and dry, and the hairs may stand up.
- There may the presence of open sores, dandruff, or the loss of hair or fur from the body
- Behavioural signs - Recognise any significant differences in the behaviour of an animal such as increases in viciousness, lethargy or any other abnormal signs such as excessive head shaking, scratching, licking or biting of certain parts of the body
- The vital signs of a sick animal will change. The temperature may go up or down. A rise in temperature of one or two degrees usually indicates pain, while a rise of more usually indicates infection.
- The rate of respiration, and the way the animal breathes could also slow changes. With pain or infection, breathing becomes more rapid. In a very sick animal, breathing can be laboured and shallow.
- A slightly increased pulse rate suggests pain, while a rapid pulse suggests fever. An irregular pulse can indicate heart trouble. In a very sick animal, the pulse is weak and feeble.
- A sick animal may also possess foul breath or excessive tarter deposits on the teeth
(Note: The professionals involved and regulations governing their scope of operation can vary from one country to another.
Some diseases require a formal diagnosis from a university trained, registered veterinarian; hence it is important that you are aware of how far you can legally go with examining animals for health issues, and at what point you need to call in a veterinary professional)