Animal Health Care

Course CodeVAG100
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment


  • Do you want  to work in animal health care?
  • Do you want to improve your promotion prospects in animal health care?
  • Then this course be the course for you!
  • Learn about caring for the health of different types of animals, including mammals and birds
  • Understand the scope of services available in animal health care
  • Study common health problems
  • Understand animal behaviour
  • Signs of ill health
  • Safety procedures and much more..
  • Learn with our highly qualified and helpful tutors
  • Study all this in our 100 hour course
This course is suitable for
  • Anyone wanting to work in the field of animal health care or wanting to improve their promotion prospects
  • veterinary assistants
  • pet owners
  • wildlife park workers
  • farm workers
  • animal rescue staff
  • animal boarding kennels staff
  • voluntary care workers and many more..


Lesson Structure

There are 12 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Animal Health Care
    • animal welfare and control
    • veterinary services
    • code of practice
    • transporting animals
  2. Common Health Problems
    • 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 behaviour
    • time orientation
    • space orientation
    • territorial behaviour
    • 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
    • first aid kit
    • 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
    • diet
    • insect control
    • dip
    • vaccinate
    • avoid stressing livestock
    • vaccination
  10. Routine Health Treatments
    • de-sexing
    • castration
    • vasectomy
    • spaying
    • tubal ligation
    • castration of cats
    • dogs
    • pregnancy
    • 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
    • animal nursing
    • planning a recovery


  • Describe common health problems in various animals, including injuries & diseases.
  • Explain the natural behaviour of different types of domestic animals in different situations
  • Identify common signs of ill health in different animals.
  • Describe the purposes of different facilities used in veterinary practice.
  • Determine safety procedures for a veterinary practice.
  • Describe different administration procedures in a veterinary practice.
  • Describe/select first aid procedures/treatments for different animals in response to common health problems in animals.
  • Describe requirements for maintaining good health in domestic animals, including nutrition & preventative medicine.
  • Develop an understanding of routine treatments for healthy animals.
  • Develop a broader awareness of health problems and their treatment in domestic pets.
  • Develop skills in caring for animals prior to, during or after treatment.

What You Will Do

  • Contact several bodies/organisations that are concerned with animal welfare, and obtain any literature or other information which you can, regarding issues such as the following:
    • Restrictions placed by local councils upon the keeping of pets.
    • Legal requirements placed upon farmers or pet owners, with respect to animal welfare
  • Find two different types of domestic animals which you can observe (ie. different species).
  • Observe each on two different occasions, for at least 15 minutes each time.
  • Make notes of their behaviour.
  • Note any similarities between behaviour on the different occasions, and between the different types of animals.
  • Describe methods used for controlling/restraining animals during an examination
  • List as many things as you can that might cause a dogs temperature to go to 40oC.
  • Contact a state government veterinary/agriculture department, and find out anything you can about health risks to humans from domestic & farm animal diseases in your country.
  • Try to determine what animals are the biggest threat; what diseases are a more serious threat, and what controls are in place to minimise such problems.
  • List any animal diseases which may be also contracted by man, which you are aware of?
  • Research exotic diseases in your country or region and take notes
  • Design a standard "Patient record" card/form for use by a general practice veterinarian.

Learn to Understand Different TYPES OF WOUNDS:

Wounds can be either

a/ Cuts (ie. Incisions or incised wounds) eg. An accidental cut from a sharp piece of metal or glass, a cut from a shearing blade or a cut made by a veterinary surgeon during an operation.

b/ Punctures eg. An accidental puncture made by a thorn, a splinter, a nail or a stake, fighting (bite).

c/ Tears eg. Typically made by the animal catching and pulling on something such as barbed wire or fighting.


Any of the following may result from wounds:

1. Infection

When internal tissue is exposed, it is subject to being invaded by disease organisms from outside of the body. If such organisms gain a hold on the weakened tissue, a serious infection (eg. of bacteria), may develop, and spread throughout the body. One of the greatest dangers is Tetanus.

Immunisation against Tetanus is one of the most important measures to be taken in treatment of wounds.

2. Blood loss

Veins and/or arteries may be damaged by wounds. Damage to veins may result in some loss of blood, but in a healthy animal, natural mechanisms will usually contain and repair such wounds. If an artery is damaged though, the blood loss can be much greater, and the animal may bleed to death, unless treated promptly.

Major bleeding from an artery will occur in spurts (pulsating) and will come from the side of the wound closest to the heart. The blood will be bright red in colour. Bleeding should be reduced by applying a tourniquet between the wound and the heart. The tourniquet should be released gently every 4 minutes.

If the bleeding is from a vein it will flow out in a continuous sluggish stream and will come from the side of the wound further from the heart. The blood will be dark red in colour. Bleeding can usually be stopped by the application of a pressure bandage.

3. Damage to important tissues

Deep wounds can physically damage important body organs, such as the lungs or heart.

Shallower wounds may damage nerves or muscle tissue, causing a malfunction to occur (eg. a limb may not be able to move properly). Such wounds may be of minimal consequence to some farm animals; but may be of extremely serious consequence in other situations (eg. If movement in the limb of a race horse is slightly restricted, it may be the difference between winning and losing races. Similar loss of movement in a beef steer may not greatly affect the productivity of that animal).


Blood vessels are normally cut through, causing bleeding. Cuts may be shallow or deep. Shallow cuts may only damage veins, but a deep cut may damage an artery. If an artery is cut, haemorrhaging can be quite severe.


Blood vessels may not be damaged much at all. A puncture is however more likely to be deep, while not affecting a great surface area. If a puncture is deep, and hits an artery, bleeding can be severe, and it may result in death. Deep punctures may not be such a serious problem, however, if they miss arteries and avoid hitting any vital organs. Such wounds suppurate and tend to be associated with much pain as the pus cannot escape.


Blood vessels are stretched, but may not be broken. The walls of veins are elastic and able to stretch and recoil without breaking. Bleeding might not occur; or if it does occur, it may be minimal.


*For any wound, first control bleeding!

*For any wound, secondly wash wound with an antiseptic (eg. Hibitane or Halamid). Treat with antibiotic such as penicillin or tetracycline

*For "cuts" or "tears"; have the wound stitched and ensure the animal has appropriate immunisation against Tetanus.

*For "punctures"; be sure foreign objects are removed (eg. a thorn). Stitching is rarely needed.

*For severe wounds, a veterinary surgeon should attend the animal.


*Wash with warm water containing a non irritating antiseptic. Do not use iodine: this can irritate the flesh.

*Wash the wound gently using cotton wool or clean rags, dipped in the warm solution.


Granulation tissue forms in the healing process of any wound. When infection or irritation is present then excess growth of granulation tissue may result. Granulated flesh (ie. proud flesh), will often form as a wound heals. Failure to control these granulations can delay complete healing by up to several months.

Treat granulations as soon as they appear by applying a daily dressing of a mild caustic solution.

A suitable treatment can be made from:

  • 20 gms zinc sulphate
  • 10 gms lead acetate
  • 1 litre of water

A tried and true bush treatment is 5% Bluestone solution dabbed onto the surface twice daily followed by an antiseptic bathing. Topical ointments containing corticosteroids are also very useful.

If granulation is excessive, a veterinary surgeon may treat it with pinch grafting of skin.


Usually this would be done by a vet, however in some isolated situations, you may need to attempt to stitch a wound yourself (in an emergency). A wound must be stitched as soon as possible before the skin dries, 6-8 hours at most. It is usually stitched using a strong needle (eg. an upholstery or surgical needle), and a thread such as linen.

Each stitch should be tied off separately (ie. not a series tied at the end). A continuous suture is often used in an emergency if operator lacks instruments and experience.

Leave a long end of thread (approx 2-3 cm) on each stitch so they can be located for removal after healing.

Your hands, and the needle, thread and wound must all be sterilised

When you remove the stitches, swab the area with a disinfectant.


If flies are a problem on a wound, a little "Flint Oil" can be painted daily on the affected area to keep them away. Also fly repellent ointments and lotions. If possible keep the animal in a fly-proof enclosure during the day. Treatments include: Musca-Ban for horses and dogs; Fly Repella twice daily; sprays containing 1% Dichlorvos. A long acting bush remedy can be made from 1 part Albarol, 2 parts water, and a few drops of citronella oil.
What do our students think about our Animal Courses?
"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, Animal Health Care course.

" Mr Douglas is a fantastic tutor, I have learnt so much from him. He gave comments that aided in understanding and was always positive and encouraging....makes me feel not so distant. His tutoring made me strive harder."
- Lisa

"I thoroughly enjoyed my course and found it to be most comprehensive and thorough, encompassing all aspects of animal care both domestic and in the farming environments.
The course was clearly defined and simple to follow. Tutor's comments most helpful and understanding & constructive. Return of assignments within a short time assured continuance of interest.
I would recommend a course with A.C.S. to anyone considering undertaking one."

- Jo
 Do you want to learn more about Animal Health Care?
Do you want to improve your care of animals?
Do you want to increase your job and promotion prospects?
Then why not enrol now and start this highly informative and interesting course?

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Please click here to contact them with any questions.

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