Animal Health Care - VAG100

Learn how to care for the Health and Wellbeing of Animals?

  • Livestock
  • Pets
  • Wildlife

What the course can be used for:

  • A foundation for a career in animal health or welfare
  • Building your ability to better care for your own animals, whether as a farmer or pet owner
  • A credit toward a certificate or diploma in animal science, agriculture or companion animal studies.

This has proven an exceptionally successful course for more than 15 years.

  • studied by hundreds of people
  • taught by leading veterinary and animal science experts
  • continually being revised in response to feedback from professionals (eg. veterinarians, wildlife officers) and students.


ACS Student Comments:

1. "I have found the course to be a great deal of help with trying to get into the animal industry. I have also found my tutors comments of great help. Would highly recommend this course for anyone wanting to get into the animal industry or for anyone wanting to learn more about our furry friends." Dyane Haubus, Australia - Animal Health Care course.

2. " I cannot praise the animal health care course highly enough. I have learned a great deal, far beyond my expectations" G. Kite, Maldives - Animal Health Care course.

3. 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, Australia, Animal Health Care course.


 There are twelve lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction to Animal Health Care
    • nature and scope of veterinary services
    • private veterinary practices
    • other veterinary services; laboratories, quarantine, agriculture departments, pharmaceutical companies, educational, etc
    • other animal services; breeders, holiday care, etc.
    • animal welfare and control
    • veterinary services
    • code of practice
    • terminology
    • transporting animals
  2. Common Health Problems in farm animals and pets
    • 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 behavior
    • time orientation
    • space orientation
    • territorial behavior
    • aggression
    • horse psychology
  4. Signs of Ill Health
    • vital signs
    • the healthy animal
    • signs and 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
    • types of facilities; clinic, hospital, mobile facility, emergency facility,etc
    • first aid kit; aids for diagnosis, instruments, medicines, preparations, etc
    • 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
    • preventing ill health
    • balanced diet
    • insect control
    • dip
    • vaccination
    • Comparing natural active immunity, artificial active immunity, natural passive immunity, and artificial active immunity
    • tetnus antiserum
    • types of vaccines
    • alternatives to vaccination
    • avoid stressing livestock
  10. Routine Health Treatments
    • desexing
    • 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
    • scope of rehabilitation
    • planning a recovery
    • animal nursing
    • the hospital pen
    • monitoring temperature, pulse, respiration
    • enclosures

Who developed and teaches this course?

All academic staff are and have always been highly qualified professional animal experts with decades of experience. They include:

  • Dr Gareth Pearce - Experienced veterinary scientist and head of veterinary studies at Cambridge University, U.K.
  • Dr James Euclid - A Melbourne (Aust.) based vet.
  • Dr Robert Browne - A zoologist with decades of experience working in Australia, Europe, Asia and central America
  • Peter Douglas - Former University of Queensland lecturer in animal health and wildlife park manager.


  • To be able to describe the scope of services offered by animal care services, including veterinary practices.
  • Describe common health problems in various animals, including injuries & diseases, causes of ill health, problems in family pets
  • Explain the natural behaviour of different types of domestic animals in different situations, natural behaviour of animals, problems in wild animals, behaviour in domestic animals
  • Identify common signs of ill health in different animals - vital signs, the healthy animal, signs & symptoms of disease, diagnosis & control of diseases
  • Describe the purposes of different facilities used in veterinary practice, the first aid kit and enclosures for animals
  • Determine safety procedures for a veterinary practice, including workplace safety, and health & safety for veterinary practices
  • Describe different administration procedures in a veterinary practice - animal insurance, legal considerations, and managing a veterinary office
  • Describe/select first aid procedures/treatments for different animals in response to common health problems in animals - types of wounds, and treatments
  • Describe requirements for maintaining good health in domestic animals, including nutrition & preventative medicine - preventing ill health, types of vaccinations, preparing animals for vaccinations etc
  • To develop an understanding of routine treatments for healthy animals - de-sexing, managing a pregnancy, euthanasia, analgesia etc
  • Develop a broader awareness of health problems and their treatment in domestic pets - ticks, Australian animals, birds, reptiles, fish
  • Develop skills in caring for animals prior to, during or after treatment - planning a recovery and animal nursing


  • 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
  • Observe different types of domestic animals. different species), and make notes of their behaviour, including any similarities and differences, and on different occasions.
  • 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 government veterinary/agriculture department, and find out anything you can about health risks to humans from domestic and farm animal diseases in your country.
  • 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.

How To Manage Animal Poisoning

Poisoning can occur due to any toxic chemical, natural or unnatural, being absorbed into the animal’s body.

Chemicals can be absorbed through the mouth, the skin, or even breathed into the lungs. Poisons may come from many different sources, including air pollution, gas leaks, chemical spills, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, food, plants or animals. Small animals are generally more likely to react adversely than larger animals; though large animals can, and still are killed, by toxic chemicals.

Many of the same things that can poison people can also poison animals; and often similar treatments should be applied to animals as would be applied to people; for instance:

  •     remove the chance of any further exposure
  •     wash off any residues
  •     drink lots of water to dilute any chemical in the body, and to eliminate toxins by urination

If you suspect severe poisoning, a veterinarian should be consulted immediately.
Various treatments may be used in severe cases, such as:

  • causing the animal to vomit (this is of use in most poisoning cases)
  • pumping the stomach
  • administering a neutralizing agent

Vomiting can often be stimulated by giving the animal a large dose of salt (eg one or two full tablespoons) placed on the back of the tongue. Pouring warm salt water, or mustard mixed with water down the back of the throat can also stimulate vomiting.


There are many different chemicals that can poison animals; and commonly cause problems.

Domestic chemicals such as fly sprays, and cleaning kill a large number of pets. Automobile anti-freeze is sweet tasting, attracts animals, and can be deadly. Obvious chemicals such as garden chemicals and rat poison can also kill.

Chemicals that might normally be tolerated (eg a flea collar) may cause serious, even deadly poisoning when an animal is under anaesthetic, or suffering from a serious illness.
Prevention is obviously the best control in all of these situations. Dangerous chemicals should be kept away from domestic animals and wildlife. Keep chemicals locked up; use them with caution, and clean up spills immediately they occur.

Poisoning from Grazing

Poisoning can occur in grazing animals by eating inappropriate or toxic plant tissues. Often these situations only arise when the plants available to eat are limited to those that contain toxins.

Lush growth in Fescue grass can contain toxins. Accelerated growth of pasture can increase levels of nitrate to a point that becomes toxic to some animals. Ryegrass that has been eaten low to leave only stubble can pose a problem, as dry, stubble of rye can contain a neurotoxin which animals might not cope with. When animals ingest decaying vegetable matter (eg Hay that has started to decompose), they may ingest bacteria that causes botulism

Various symptoms can result from these types of problems. The obvious and immediate action is to change the animals feeding.

Other Forms of Poisoning may include:

  • Chocolate (Theobromine)
  • Snake bite
  • Eating or exposure to other poisonous animals (eg. Cane toads, Toad Fish etc)
  • Gas poisoning (eg. Chlorine, Carbon monoxide)
  • Mineral poisoning (eg. Cobalt, Lead, Zinc, Sulphur, Copper, iron)
  • Algae
  • Insects


People have domesticated animals for various reasons, in particular, as pets (to keep them company), and as farm animals (to either work or to provide a product such as meat, wool or dairy produce). Whatever the reason animals are being kept, it is now well accepted that the owners of any animal have a responsibility toward the animal they keep. That responsibility is both a matter of ethics, and increasingly is also a matter of law.


These may include:

  • The General Practice Vet
  • Specialist Vets
  • Pathology Laboratories
  • Animal Hospitals
  • Government Veterinary Services
  • Pharmaceutical Departments
  • Educational and Research Organisations.

Veterinarians are scientists who have university level training. They are highly skilled professionals.

They are commonly supported/assisted by veterinary assistants or nurses who may work in any or all of the following areas:

  • Reception and general office duties
  • Medical nursing -including investigative procedures
  • Surgical nursing
  • General cleaning
  • Technical maintenance

Traditionally, veterinarians have employed people at various levels to undertake different combinations of these tasks. The lowest level has been an "Animal attendant" or "Trainee veterinary nurse" who has been responsible for tasks such as:

  • Basic office duties such as answering the greeting customers, answering the phone, typing, processing mail etc.
  • Basic animal care such as grooming, feeding, cleaning and restraining (eg. placing animals in a cage, or holding them during an examination).

An Animal attendant would normally be closely supervised in their duties, by a veterinary nurse or a veterinarian. An animal attendant might not necessarily have any formal training; but people employed as such are often expected to pursue a course of training to develop further skills and qualify them to work at a higher level as a trainee veterinary nurse, and eventually a qualified veterinary nurse.


Learn to care for the health of any type of animal (focus is on mammals and birds) and understand the scope of services offered by animal care services, including in veterinary practices.

Who is this Course for?

  • anyone interested in working with animals including on a farm, a wildlife park or a veterinary practice.
  • a foundation for veterinary assistants, farm workers, animal shelter staff
  • a foundation for people who work in providing services or supplies to livestock, pet or other animal industries
  • animal owners or anyone with a love and passion for animals



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PlanAust. PriceOverseas Price
A 1 x $726.00  1 x $660.00
B 2 x $396.00  2 x $360.00

Note: Australian prices include GST. 
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