Learn to care for the health of any type of animal and understand the scope of services offered by animal care services, including in veterinary practices. This course is appropriate for anyone interested in working with animals including on a farm, a wildlife park or a veterinary practice. It is a sound foundation course and designed to cover most of what is found in a typical veterinary assistant's course in many countries around the world.

Animal Health Welfare and Care

  • Learn to help animals deal with health problems
  • Understand animal health
  • Learn about animal health and welfare services
  • Look after your own animals; or develop your career potential in animal welfare or veterinary services
This course has been developed as a foundation for anyone who might work in routine care of animals, whether as a veterinary assistant, animal welfare officer, in a pet shop, on a farm, in a kennel, or anywhere else


There are twelve lessons as follows:

  1. Introduction to Animal Health Care
  2. Common Health Problems in farm animals and pets
  3. Animal Behaviour
  4. Signs of Ill Health
  5. Veterinary Facilities
  6. Safety Procedures
  7. Administration of Animal Health
  8. Animal First Aid
  9. Preventative Health Care
  10. Routine Health Treatments
  11. Health Problems in Domestic Pets
  12. Rehabilitation Care.

Duration: 100 hours



Lesson 1.  Introduction to Animal Care

This lesson teaches you about the scope of services offered by animal care services, including those in veterinary practices.

Lesson 2.  Common Health Problems with Domesticated Animals

In this lesson you learn to describe common health problems in various animals, including injuries & diseases.......

  • causes of ill health
  • problems in family pets

Lesson 3.  Behaviour of Animals

In this lesson you learn to 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

Lesson 4.   Indicators of Ill Health

Learn to identify some common signs of ill health in different animals, including:

  • vital signs
  • the healthy animal
  • signs & symptoms of disease
  • diagnosis & control of diseases

Lesson 5.   Animal Health Care Facilities

Learn about the purposes of different facilities used in veterinary practice.

  • the first aid kit
  • enclosures for animals

Lesson 6.  Safety in a Veterinary Practice

Determine safety procedures for a veterinary practice.

  • workplace safety
  • health & safety for veterinary practices

Lesson 7.   Administration in an Animal Health Care Service

Describe different administration procedures in a veterinary practice.

  • animal insurance
  • legal considerations
  • managing a veterinary office

Lesson 8.   First Aid for Animals

Describe/select first aid procedures/treatments for different animals in response to common health problems in animals.

  • types of wounds
  • treatments

Lesson 9.   Preventative Health Care

Describe requirements for maintaining good health in domestic animals, including nutrition & preventative medicine.

  • preventing ill health
  • vaccinations

Lesson 10.    Routine Health Care Treatments

Develop an understanding of routine treatments for healthy animals.

  • desexing
  • managing a pregnancy
  • euthanasia

Lesson 11.    Ailments with Pets

Develop a broader awareness of health problems and their treatment in domestic pets.

  • ticks
  • Australian animals
  • birds
  • reptiles
  • fish

Lesson 12.   Rehabilitation and Recovery for Animals

This lesson develops your skills in caring for animals prior to, during or after treatment.

  • planning a recovery
  • animal nursing



Separating Animals
It is generally best to physically separate different species of animals being kept in a veterinary situation. This reduces chances of inter species disease infection, and reduces stress caused by inter species conflict. This is best achieved by keeping different species in different rooms (eg. one room for dogs, one room for cats, and one or more rooms for other types of animals).

If different species are located in the same room, they can be isolated (if deemed necessary), by using laminar flow cabinets, filtered or micro isolation cages. In some cases, animals of the same species may need to be separated (eg. if they have been infected by different strains of the same or similar disease).

Infectious Diseases

There are two types of problems; an infection may spread from one animal to another, or an infection might spread from an infected animal to a person. Some species can carry an infection, which doesn't seriously affect them, but when transmitted to another species, can be very serious; perhaps even fatal.

Examples include:

Rats with Streptobacillus moniliformis should be isolated from mice which usually do not have this disease.
Rabbits can be infected by various diseases which can be deadly to other animals, particularly guinea pigs (eg. Pateurella multocida or Bordetella spp.)
Benign diseases in African monkeys (e.g. epidermal monkey pox), can cause serious disease in Asian monkeys.

Containing Diseases
Contagious diseases are controlled in the first instance, by isolating any infected animals (ie. quarantine). Even animals which are only suspect, should be also isolated. In some cases, and with some types of diseases, infected animals may need to be destroyed.

Disposal of Dead/Infected Tissues
Dead tissue is an inevitable problem for any veterinarian; the result of surgery and/or euthanasia. It needs to be disposed of in a sanitary manner; and these disposal procedures are often controlled by law. Incineration is possibly the best option; though proper burial may also be used. A council contractor usually collects dead animals/tissues from veterinary surgeries after dark, for incineration. Burial is in a pet cemetery (less often than cremation).
Dangerous Non-Animal Wastes

A veterinarian will also need to dispose of other dangerous waste products (e.g. chemicals or sharp objects). These wastes are commonly placed in a "sharps container" which is an unbreakable plastic bucket with a lid. This is then incinerated.

Storage & Handling of Supplements/Equipment
Even natural therapy products and tools should be stored safely in an uncontaminated, lockable cabinet. Access should normally be controlled. Some types of medicines are easily contaminated (eg. Do not leave aromatherapy or homeopathic products near anything aromatic, even particles floating in the air can contaminate and affect the effectiveness of these products.

All equipment and products that are used on sick animals will have the potential to carry and transmit secondary infections if stored anywhere that is unclean; or accessible to people who might transmit an infection.