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Animal Disease

Course CodeBAG219
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Diagnosing Animal Diseases - Learn Online

When an animal is ill, a veterinarian is often required. But for most people working with animals, it is important to recognise when an animal is unwell and what to do about it.

This course will provide you with a solid foundation to enable you to recognise animal disease and determine the appropriate response.

Note: The professionals involved and regulations governing their scope of operation can vary from one country to another.

It helps for animal owners to understand and be able to recognise diseases conditions that may affect their animals, so that they can respond quickly and appropriately.

Course Structure

This course is proposed to have twelve lessons:
  1. How Animal Diseases are Diagnosed
  2. 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)
  3. Processes for Diagnosis
  4. What pathways are followed to detect & diagnose different types of diseases
  5. Viruses
  6. Bacteria and Protozoa
  7. Worms and other Parasites
  8. Nutrient Problems
  9. Poisoning
  10. Inherited Conditions and Genetic Disorders
  11. Other Diseases and Conditions
  12. 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.
  • Their 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

Why Study This Course?

This course is useful for anyone working with animals.

It will help you to -

  • Recognise the signs of ill health in animals
  • Understand what you need to do to support the animal
  • When to seek help from a veterinarian
  • Recognise the signs and symptoms of different animal diseases

Self-Paced Study In Animal Diseases

The course is -

  • Self-paced. You can study when you want to, fitting it in at a time to suit you.
  • Studied online or by e-learning, so you can study when you want to. There are no geographical limitations to this course.
  • Written and tutored by experts in animal care and health. They want to share their knowledge, experience and enthusiasm with you.

Study Animal Diseases with Us and Benefit from the Knowledge and Experience of our Tutors

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Meet some of our academics

Alison PearceUniversity 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 managed veterinary operating theatre, responsible for animal anesthesia, instrument preparation, and assistance with surgical techniques and procedures.
Dr. Gareth PearceVeterinary 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. Post-graduate qualifications in Education, Wildlife Conservation Medicine, Aquatic Veterinary Studies and Wildlife Biology & Conservation. Gareth has a 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.
Cheryl McLardySports Horse Stud Groom, Stable Manager, Yard Manager, Equine industrial Training Manager, FE Distance Learning Manager. Cheryl has spent two decades working in agriculture and equine industries, across England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand. Cheryl has a B.Sc.(Hons), HND Horse Mgt, C&G Teaching Cert.
Kara WightBSc (Applied Bioscience and Zoology), HND (Animal Care), HND (Photography & Imaging)


Check out our eBooks

Animal PsychologyComparative Animal Psychology. This is an excellent reference for anyone interested in understanding animals better; students, animal owners and anyone who works with animals.
Horse CareIf you're starting a career in the equine industry, this text is perfect to accompany your study notes! If you're a new horse owner keen to develop or solidify your knowledge of horse care techniques, this book will guide you through basic anatomy and physiology; feed and nutrition;, health management and shoeing; handling techniques and the use of equipment. Learn about caring for horses kept at grass or effectively care for the stabled horse. With ten chapters full of expert advice which is easy to read and follow you can be a confident horse owner! 111 pages
Animal HealthA book for anyone interested in animal health, from pet owners to farmers. Contents cover understanding health issues, disease and injury prevention, inspecting animals, differential diagnosis and common illnesses. Animals can suffer from injury, poisoning, hereditary conditions, nutritional problems and viral, bacterial and fungal infections. 77 pages.
Animal FeedFeeding Livestock, Pets, Wildlife