Learn about the nature and scope of natural therapies that can be used to treat animals.

Technology has come a long way in the treatment of disease in both domestic and livestock. The conventional approach used by most veterinary practices has had great success in treating ailments such as acute infection and trauma. One problem that has come from this conventional approach to treatment is the narrowing view of how ailments can be treated and the growing reliance on chemical products for treatment. This has lead to the re-emergence of holistic therapies for animals. Practitioners who use this holistic approach to the treatment of illness in animals believe that symptoms represent the action of an individual’s “life force”. To protect an animal’s life force, symptoms are created such as diarrhea, vomiting, coughing and sneezing to throw off the disturbance.

Open Learning Course -Holistic Animal Health Care

  • Learn How to Treat Animal Illness Naturally
  • Learn principles of natural animal health and provide the available natural therapies that can be applied to both domestic and livestock.
  • Broaden your understanding of animal welfare, and career opportunities.


Course Contents

There are 8 lessons in this module as follows:

Lesson 1. Introduction to Natural Animal Health Care

Limitations of Conventional Medicine, Holistic Treatments, Homeopathy, Flower Essences, Naturopathy, Natural Nutrition, Tactile Therapy (Massage, Equine Tactile Therapy, Bowen Therapy, Canine Myofunctional Therapy, Physiotherapy, Shiatsu, Reflexology, Osteopathy, Chiropractic, Acapuncture, Microcurrent, Microwave Therapies, Ayurvedic Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine), Benefits of Natural Health Care, Codes of Practice for Animal Welfare, Health & Safety in Veterinary Practice (Separating Animals, Infectious Diseases, Containing Disease, Disposal of Dead/Infected Tissues, Dangerous non-Animal Wastes, Storage & Handling of Supplements/Equipment).

Lesson 2. Signs of Ill Health

Normal Vital Signs, Recognising ill health, Disease Diagnosis, Homeopathic Remedies, Signs of Shock, Signs of Internal Bleeding, Signs of Poisoning, First Aid

Lesson 3. Natural Nutrition for Animals

The effect of Modern Living on Domestic Animals, Processed Pet Foods, Affect of Poor Nutrition on Animal Behaviour, Good Nutrition for Domesticated Animals (Carbohydrates, Proten, Fats/Lipids, Minerals, Vitamins, Supplements, Recipes); Nutritional Problems in Animals (Allergies, Dermatitis, Overweight, Underweight, Liver Disease, Livestock (Mineral supplements for farm animals, Nutritional Supplements)

Lesson 4. Holistic Health Care - Maintaining Health

Creating a Healthy Environment (Domestic pets, Livestock); Health Maintenance, Preventing Arthritis in Dogs, The Vaccination Debate, Pet Dental Care, Flea Control, Disease Prevention in Livestock, Preventing Disease in Poultry, Avian Influenza

Lesson 5. Holistic Health Care - Treating Health Problems

Naturopathic Treatment, Homeopathic Treatment, Herbalism, Treating Common Ailments (Arthritis, Skin Problems, Digestive Complaints, Diabetes, Dental Problems ); Pain Management, Identifying Pain, Pain Relief Medication, Herbal Treatments, Homeopathy, Flower Essences; Physical Therapy, Equine Tactile Therapy, Bowen Therapy, Canine Myofunctional Therapy, Behavioural Problems (Dogs-excessive barking, digging, aggression, phobias; Cats -urine spraying, scratching furniture, aggression; Birds)

Lesson 6. Animal Diseases & Health Problems (Domestic Animals)

Dogs -Distemper, Heartworm, Parvo virus, Hydatid Disease, Cats -Ringworm, Feline Aids - Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, Hairballs, Feline Herpes Virus or Cat Flu; Rodents - Respiratory problems and Mycoplasma, Abscesses, Reptiles - Mouth Rot or Canker (Stomatitis); cytoparasites (Mites), Pneumonia, Fish, Cage Birds…etc

Lesson 7. Animal Diseases & Health Problems (Livestock)

Notifiable Diseases, Control of Internal Parasites, Horses (Tentnus, Lock Jaw, Strangles, Parasites, Colic, Equine Influenza); Cattle (Parasites, Mastitis), Pigs (Exudative Epidermitis of pigs (Greasy Pig), Leptospirosis, Parasites); Sheep (Enterotoxemia (Pulpy Kidney), Cutaneous Myiasis (Blow Fly strike)), Poultry (Newcastle Disease (NCD), Yolk Sac Infection, Infectious Bronchitis (IB))

Lesson 8. Animal Health Care Case Study Research Project

Evaluate symptoms of ill-health displayed by an animal, determine the problem and decide on a natural course of treatment for the specific health problem suffered by the animal. Develop a management plan that the owner of the animal can undertake to help treat the problem and relieve associated pain and discomfort.

Lesson Aims

  • Explain the principles and benefits of natural animal health care
  • Recognise common signs of ill health in different animals
  • Explain the principles of natural nutrition for animals.
  • Describe requirements for preventative health care in animals.
  • Recognise common diseases, health problems and natural treatments for those problems in domestic animals
  • Develop an understanding of natural treatments for health problems in animals
  • Recognise some common diseases, health problems and natural treatments for those problems in livestock.
  • Develop a natural treatment plan for a specific health problem of an animal


Holistic Treatment or "Holistic Therapies" are designed to treat the whole patient whether it be animal or human as opposed to the specific symptom they may be displaying. Holistic treatment is thought to treat the illness by boosting the immune system and overall health of the animal, which will in turn treat any secondary illnesses. The foundation of holistic treatment is optimal nutrition. This is the "fuel" for the body and therefore needs to contain all of the essential components that an animal needs to boost its immune system and maintain health. We look at natural nutrition in more detail later in the course.

Other important elements of the holistic treatment of ailments and diseases in animals are naturopathy, herbal treatments, tactile therapy and homeopathy.

Tips for Farm Animal Care

Farm animals are affected by an enormous range of diseases and health conditions caused by viruses, protozoan and bacterial organisms and internal and external parasites. It is beyond the scope of this lesson to introduce you to each category of disease. Selected parasites and diseases that may be relevant to the “everyday” farming situation are discussed. It is up to the student to research the most important diseases and herd health problems that effect their farm, local area, or country. It is also important that students are aware of the Welfare Codes and animal welfare issues that apply to farm livestock.

Disclaimer: Nothing on these pages should be considered expert advice. Some diseases may require treatment with conventional drugs to prevent animals from dying in a painful manner. The welfare of your animal must be put before your philosophical preferences. For example, antibiotics should be used under the advice of the nominated veterinary surgeon where effective alternative treatments are not available and where they are considered the best method of reducing suffering, saving life the life of, or restoring an animal to health.


Many of the diseases or health problems associated with farm livestock may be classified as “notifiable diseases”. A notifiable disease is any disease that is required by law to be reported to government authorities. This collation of information allows the authorities to monitor the disease, and provides early warning of possible outbreaks. Many governments have enacted regulations for reporting of both human and animal (generally livestock) diseases. For example, Aujeszky's disease is a notifiable disease of the UK and EU. Foot and Mouth disease, Bovine Brucellosis, and Anthrax are notifiable diseases in Australia.

The OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) monitors specific animal diseases on a global scale. Within Australia, the state Departments of Primary Industries and the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry regulate the notification of infectious animal diseases. In the UK notification of diseases in animals is regulated by the Animal Health Act 1981, as well as the Specified Diseases (Notification and Slaughter) Order 1992 (as amended) and Specified Diseases (Notification) Order 1996 (as amended). In the USA the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) regulates notifiable diseases. Uniform criteria for reporting diseases to the NNDSS were introduced in 1990.

If you suspect signs of any notifiable disease you must notify the relevant Government Department in your county, state or region.

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