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Animal Health (Animal Husbandry II)

Course CodeBAG201
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Study, learn, work with animals on a farm, or elsewhere

100 hour foundation course

Anyone that works with animals or has a lifestyle that incorporates being around animals needs to have a basic knowledge (at least) surrounding animal health and husbandry.

This course is an outstanding foundation course delivering the fundamentals surrounding animal health. It has a focus on livestock, although is relevant and may be applied to any animal.

  • Learn to about animal diseases (with particular relevance to domesticated farm animals).
  • Learn to be systematic in your approach to investigating a sick animal.
  • Learn to make informed and properly considered decisions about responding to illness in an animal.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Animal Health -
    • Learn to describe common diseases affecting farm animals and the circumstances under which animals contract these diseases - the healthy animal, causes of ill health, preventing ill health
  2. Signs & Symptoms of Diseases -
    • The physical symptoms of diseases in farm animals - common methods of handling animals during health assessments, recognising ill health, restraining a horse, sheep handling facilities
  3. Disease Classification -
    • Methods used in classifying animal diseases –
    • viral diseases, bacterial diseases, parasitic diseases, protozoal diseases, disease types in beef cattle, diseases in sheep
  4. Causes and Diagnosis of Disease -
    • The causes of disease and the relevant methods of diagnosis - examining cattle, examining a horse, ticks, tick-borne diseases, diagnosis of diseases
  5. Treatment of Disease -
    • Methods used in the treatment of diseases in farm animals - vaccination, the animal first aid kit, tetanus antiserum, animal nursing, quarantine, slaughter, post mortem, disease prevention in cattle, disease prevention in sheep, treatment of parasites in sheep
  6. Inflammation -
    • Outline the nature and causes of inflammation in farm animals - the inflammatory response, causes of inflammation, types of inflammation, symptoms of inflammation, inflammatory exudate, treatment of inflammation
  7. Fever and Immunity -
    • The biological mechanisms underlying fever and the immune system in farm animals - the fever mechanism, other temperature related disorders, effect of temperature on enzymes, immunity
  8. Tissue Repair -
    • The biological mechanisms underlying tissue repair in farm animals - healing of a clean incised wound, healing of an open wound, common horse ailments to recognise
  9. Wounds -
    • The biological mechanisms of wounds in farm animals and address different treatment methods for repair of common ailments - types of wounds, first aid treatments, bandaging horses, emergencies
  10. Cell changes -
    • The causes and biological mechanisms of cell change in farm animals - neoplasms, tumours and cancers, the course of an infectious disease, death, cancers etc.

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.


  • Explain common health problems affecting animals, including the circumstances under which animals contract health problems, and methods used to prevent the development of ill health
  • Identify physical indicator symptoms of ill health in animals.
  • Describe the taxonomic class of animal pests and diseases.
  • Describe the diagnostic characteristics of the main types of animal pathogenic microorganisms.
  • Describe the methods used in the treatment of pests and diseases in farm animals.
  • Explain the role of inflammation, including it's symptoms and causes, in animals.
  • Describe the biological processes which affect and control the immune system in animals.
  • Describe the biological processes which affect and control tissue repair in animals.
  • Describe procedures for the management of wounds to animals, on a farm.
  • Describe the processes involved in cellular change in animals.
  • Explain how to diagnose simple health problems in farm animals.

What You Will Do

  • List criteria used to assess the health status, including ill-health, of animals.
  • Describe the different causes of ill-health in animals.
  • Explain the methods used to prevent ill-health in animals.
  • Write a standard procedure for a routine health examination of a chosen farm animal.
  • Describe the symptoms of ill-health in animals.
  • Compare the causes of two symptomatically similar health problems for a specified farm animal.
  • Diagnose a health problem from a given set of symptoms.
  • Distinguish, using labelled illustrations, between different taxonomic classes of animal pest and disease organisms.
  • Describe identifying characteristics of four different disease carrying agents of specified farm animals.
  • Classify commonly occuring pests and diseases of three different animals, into their taxonomic classes.
  • Describe the characteristics of viruses, using illustrations and a report.
  • Describe the characteristics of bacteria, using illustrations and a report.
  • Describe the characteristics of protozoa, using illustrations and a report.
  • Describe the characteristics of parasites, using illustrations and a report.
  • Describe the characteristics of nutritional disorders, using illustrations and a report.
  • Analyse the relevance of ten specified factors, to determining the health of a chosen species of farm animal.
  • Describe the veterinary treatments available over the counter for on-farm use.
  • Explain the vaccination programs used to treat two different specifies of farm animal.
  • Describe the applications and techniques used for dips, to control external parasites in a specified farm animal.
  • List the essential items for a First Aid Kit for a specified farm animal.
  • Write guidelines for general procedures to follow when nursing sick farm animals.
  • List the procedures employed in quarantine, using a chosen animal as an example.
  • Describe the procedures for slaughtering a diseased ruminant in order to conduct a post-mortem examination.
  • Prepare an illustrated, one page report on the post-mortem procedures of a ruminant.
  • Compare two different methods used to control a specified disease in farm animals.
  • Identify a suitable method of control for ten different, specified pests and diseases of farm animals.
  • Differentiate between at least five factors which cause inflammation in animals.
  • Develop a checklist for analysing inflammation in a chosen farm animal species.
  • Explain the inflammatory response in a specific case study.
  • Compare the different methods used to control inflammation in animals.
  • Describe the function of the immune system in animals.
  • List the agents which can cause fevers in animals.
  • Explain the biology of fevers in a specified case study of a farm animal species.
  • Explain the methods used in treating fevers in animals.
  • Explain at least five factors which influence immune response in animals.
  • Explain the characteristics of the immune system in a chosen farm animal species.
  • Describe the composition of tissues at three different body sites, in terms of susceptibility to different types of internal and external damage.
  • Compare the characteristics of different types of tissue damage.
  • List factors, in terms of both rate of, and quality of repair; which influence tissue repair.
  • Explain the biological processes, which occur as damaged tissue heals in animals.
  • Compare the different effects of wounding, including psychological, physiological and anatomical, to three different parts of a specified animals body.
  • Explain the different biological processes which occur following wounding, including: tissue repair and infection.
  • Develop a checklist for the treatment of wounds in farm animals.
  • List an appropriate treatment for each of five different types of wounds to 4 different species of farm animals.
  • Describe post care treatment of the wounds as discussed above.
  • Determine the potential causes of wounding of farm animals.
  • Develop guidelines for prevention of wounds to farm animals, based on the potential causes identified above.
  • Describe the different causes of cellular change in animals.
  • Explain the general processes associated with cancer at a cellular level, in animals.
  • Explain the cellular processes associated with death of animal tissue.
  • List the factors which influence the rate and extent of cellular change in diseased animals.
  • Monitor the health condition of a farm animal over a four month period.
  • Observe, and prepare a report, on the veterinarians diagnostic process/ health assessment methodology, when inspecting three different farm animals.
  • Diagnose the cause of three different health problems, detected in three different genera of farm animals.
  • Develop a checklist of the diagnostic indicators of common health problems, which occur in three different farm animal species.

Introduction to Animal Health

A farmer needs to be familiar with the normal, vital signs of his animals, so that he can recognise health and ill health.

The vital signs include:

  • Pulse rate
  • Respiration rate
  • Body temperature.

These signs should be measured at rest.

In addition to vital signs, the farmer should continually observe the natural habits and behaviour of stock. Any changes in behaviour should be investigated immediately as it could be due to illness.

The earlier a farmer can treat sick animals, the better. Illness causes individual cells in the animal to break down and die. If treatment is started quickly, the cells can be stopped from degenerating. If treatment is delayed, the damage done by illness can be considerable; especially if the affected cells make up an organ.

The Healthy Animal

The healthy animal is interested in food. It will graze as normal, or in the case of penned animals, look forward to the next feed. The healthy animal will drink its normal amount of water (this is easily checked with penned animals), but more difficult with animals out grazing).

The healthy animal appears bright and alert. It will show its normal response to humans (ie. probably moving away as you approach if it is a grazing animal, or approaching if it is very used to human company). Brightness is most apparent in the eyes. The animal will show interest in unusual noises and sights.

The healthy animal's coat and skin will be supple and in good condition. Hair is one of the first parts of the body to register ill health, and it will also look dull if the animal is lacking some essential vitamins or minerals).

The colour of the mucous membrane is a good indicator of health, as it shows the condition of the blood. Mucous membrane is found around the eye, on the gums, inside the mouth, and at the entrance to the anus. In healthy animals, it should show a salmon pink colouring (but not vivid red).

The healthy animal will pass the normal number of droppings per day; and the droppings will be neither too loose or too dry for the type of livestock, and will be passed easily. If you press your ear to the side of the animal, you should be able to hear rumbling noises -signs that the digestive system is working. The healthy animal will also pass normal coloured urine.

Ruminants which are in good health will spend the normal number of hours chewing the cud. Healthy animals will also spend a normal number of hours resting each day. Normal vital signs are as outlined below:

Type of Animal


Respiration Rate

Pulse Rate (beats/ minute)

o Centigrade

o Fahrenheit































Physiological Values for Other Animals

(Data adapted from Duke's Physiology of Domestic Animals, 9th & 10th Ed., Swenson, M.J., Ed., 1977 & 1984 respectively, Cornell University Press).

Agriculture Tutors

Our Agriculture faculty members include:

Dr. Gareth Pearce BSc(Hons), BVSc, MA, MVetS, PhD, GradCertEd(HE), PGCertAqVetS, PGCertWLBio&Cons, DiplECPHM, 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.

Anna Sylvester B.Sc.Hons.(Human Biology), M.Sc.Equine
Anna graduated with a degree in Human Biology from Loughborough University and then went on to complete an MSc in Equine Science at The University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and has a high level of expertise in equine science. She has since spent time in managerial, research and lecturing positions. She also has practical equine experience, and still competes nationally whenever the opportunity arises.

Marius Erasmus B.Sc.Agric., B.Sc.(Wildlife), M.Sc.Agric.
Subsequent to completing a BSc (agric) degree in animal science, he completed an honours degree in wildlife management, and a masters degree in production animal physiology. Following the Masters degree, he has worked for 9 years in the UK, and South Africa; in wildlife management, dairy, beef and poultry farming.

Michele Cullen Bachelor of Teaching/Bachelor of General Studies (Linguistics/Science), Life Member: Golden Key International Honours Society (UNE Chapter), Diploma Landcare and Natural Resources, Cert. III Landcare, Assoc. Diploma Stock & Meat Inspection (UQ Gatton), Member: Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology. Michele has over 35 years experience in the rural sector, working as a Stock Inspector with the Qld. Department of Primary Industries, Stock Inspector (QRSPCA), Management Trainee (Australian Meat Holdings/Conagra) and co-owner of  Harman Quarter Horses.

Peter Douglas Dip Animal Husbandry
Peter has over 45 years of experience in Agriculture and resources management. He is a former lecturer with the University of Queensland (Gatton), and manager of Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. He also established and managed the wildlife park for Dreamworld, one of Australia's largest theme parks. Peter has both wide ranging experience in farming and wildlife management, and continues to apply that knowledge both through his work with ACS, and helping his adult children who have pursued careers of their own in similar areas

Bob James M.Env., Sc., Dip.Animal Husb, B.App.Sc., Grad.Dip.Mgt, PDC
40 years experience in industry, having held a wide variety of senior positions in both government and private enterprise. Bob's experience and knowledge is diverse, encompassing fields of Horticulture, Agriculture, Environmental Management, Business and professional writing


Q. What level is this course?

A.  We designed this course with adults in mind, and with the flexibility to allow students to work to a level that they are comfortable with. People who have a university level education can approach their work in greater depth, and will have the support of an expert to guide and support them. People who have far less experience and education, may work to a lower academic level, and may take longer to complete studies; but with persistence, they will (with help from tutors) still achieve the minimum goals set for the course. This course should not be seen as rigidly being a degree, diploma or certificate level; rather you should simply see it as an opportunity to extend your skills and knowledge in this discipline, starting wherever you currently are, and finishing with a heightened understanding and capacity to work in this field. 

 Q. What do I get as a student?

 A. First, understand a good course is quite different to a book or a web site

  • A course should be something that changes you; making things stick in your mind, improving your capacity to do thing, remember things, solve problems and understand the subject
  • A book on this subject is a reference that can be read, but might not be understood as the author intended, and most of which probably will not be remembered unless a lot of time is devoted to studying it.
  • A web site is like a book; except there is a stronger likelihood that it could contain biased and even incorrect information.
An ACS course differs to books, seminars, web sites and other sources of "information" in several key ways.
  • It is a constructed learning pathway that is designed with the purpose of bringing about a change in the student
  • It is constructed by a team of experts, credible in their field, from across the world (it reflects input from many people, from different countries and climates. (A book more commonly reflects only one).
  • Every student is guided as an individual through the learning experience. The learning pathway and the precise information encountered is commonly different for every single student.
  • You are monitored; motivated and where necessary your path is corrected as you move through the course. A book is a one way communication (a monologue), whereas a course is two way communication. 
  • A course filters out and organises information; serving you up a quantity of resources that is "digestible" in a way that is designed to help you digest it.
ACS provides all essential learning resources (e.g. notes or books), and all the tutor support that is needed to successfully complete a course. Some students may choose to buy extra books - but this really is not necessary.

Q. Will I have problems with practical tasks due to my location?

A. Our college has developed lots of ways of providing for practical learning, that can be done by anyone, anywhere and anytime. Students come from over 150 countries, and the practicals have never been a factor that has stopped someone completing their studies in this course.
All courses include set tasks that add a practical element to the learning experience, but we often give options.
Courses are as far as possible written to cope with the widest range of situations, from people living in Antarctica to someone confined to their home due to illness.
Example - We may ask you to visit a workplace and observe something; but also say or if you have restricted mobility make a virtual visit, on the internet, if possible, or if not, by reviewing a place through an article in a magazine. If you can't find reference material, ask us and we will send you what you need.
If the course does not provide an option that is achievable, you contact us, and we will give you other options.

Q. When can I start a course with ACS?

A. All of our courses can be started at any time.

You can enrol today, simply go to the "It's Easy to Enrol" box at the top of this page.

Q. Can you answer any questions before I enrol, or can you help me in choosing a course for me?

A. If you have any questions, or want to know more about any of our courses please phone us on (UK) 01384 442752, or (International) +44 (0)1384 442752, or use our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE. Our specialist tutors will be happy to answer any questions and help you to choose a course that meets with your study objectives.

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.
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.
Marius Erasmus Subsequent to completing a BSc (Agric) degree in animal science, Marius completed an honours degree in wildlife management, and a masters degree in production animal physiology. Following the Masters degree, he has worked for 9 years in the UK, and South Africa in wildlife management, dairy, beef and poultry farming.

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.
Caring for DogsThis book is jam packed full of practical advice and up to the minute information every dog owner needs! You will explore fundamentals of nutrition and health; parasites and illness; breeds and reproduction; training and behaviour management! Understand how your dog thinks and what your dog wants you to know. Try techniques to overcome behaviour problems! This is a book for dog owners, students and anyone interested in working with dogs. 79 pages