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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

An outstanding foundation course for anyone working with (or planning to work with) animals.

Calling all farmers, farmhands, livestock managers... If you see yourself working with animals (especially farm animals) - this course is ideal. Do you have your own animals? Know how to better care for your own animals on a farm, at home or elsewhere.

Improve your understanding of animal health issues and learn the basics of animal health management.

Topics include:

  • Signs and Symptoms of Diseases
  • Classification of Diseases
  • Causes of Disease
  • Inflammation
  • Fever and Immunity
  • Tissue Repair
  • Wounds
  • Cell changes (death, cancers etc)


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Work with animals, or lay a foundation for further studies and a career.

Many people have a dream to work with animals – and so they should… If you love animals, then working with them is one of the most rewarding things you can do.

It’s one thing to work with animals, but it is another thing to have the added advantage of understanding their health. Give yourself an added edge by studying this solid course in Animal Health. 

  • Taught and written by highly experienced professionals in the field.
  • Study in your own time at your own pace.


Expand your knowledge of:

  • animal health problems - illness, disease, ailments, parasites etc

  • prevention and treatment of animal health conditions

  • animal behaviour 

  • veterinary facilities

  • safety procedures when dealing with animals

  • administration of animal health

  • animal first aid

and much more!



There are ten lessons as follows:

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 and 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.




Describe common diseases affecting farm animals and the circumstances under which animals contract these diseases.

Describe the physical symptoms of diseases in farm animals.

Explain common methods of handling animals during health assessments

Outline methods used in classifying animal diseases.

Outline the causes of disease and explain the relevant methods of diagnosis.

Outline methods used in the treatment of diseases in farm animals.

Outline the nature and causes of inflammation in farm animals.

Outline the biological mechanisms underlying fever and the immune system in farm animals.

Outline the biological mechanisms underlying tissue repair in farm animals.

Outline the biological mechanisms of wounds in farm animals and address different treatment methods for repair of common ailments.

Outline the causes and biological mechanisms of cell change in farm animals.



    Here are just some of the things you will be doing:

    • 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 between different taxonomic classes of animal pest and disease organisms.
    • Describe identifying characteristics of disease carrying agents of specified animals.
    • Classify commonly occurring pests and diseases of three different animals, into their taxonomic classes.
    • Describe the characteristics of viruses
    • Describe the characteristics of bacteria.
    • Describe the characteristics of protozoa.
    • Describe the characteristics of parasites.
    • Describe the characteristics of nutritional disorders.
    • Analyse the relevance of factors, for determining the health of a chosen species.
    • Describe the veterinary treatments available over the counter.
    • Explain the vaccination programs.
    • Describe the applications and techniques used for dips, to control external parasites.
    • List the essential items for a First Aid Kit for an animal.
    • Write guidelines for general procedures to follow when nursing sick 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 different methods used to control a specified disease in animals.
    • Identify a suitable method of control for ten different, specified pests and diseases.
    • Differentiate between factors which cause inflammation in animals.
    • Develop a check-list for analysing inflammation.
    • Explain the inflammatory response.
    • 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 an 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 animal species.
    • Describe the composition of tissues at 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 different parts of a specified animals body.
    • Explain the different biological processes which occur following wounding, including: tissue repair and infection.
    • Develop a check-list for the treatment of wounds in animals.
    • List an appropriate treatment for different types of wounds to different species of animals.
    • Describe post care treatment of the wounds as discussed above.
    • Determine the potential causes of wounding of animals.
    • Develop guidelines for prevention of wounds to 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 factors which influence the rate and extent of cellular change in diseased animals.
    • Monitor the health condition of an animal over a four month period.
    • Observe, and prepare a report, on the veterinarians diagnostic process/ health assessment methodology, when inspecting different animals.
    • Diagnose the cause of different health problems, detected in three different genera of animals.
    • Develop a check-list of the diagnostic indicators of common health problems, which occur in different animal species.


    Animals Get Sick Just as much as People

    Animals can be just as susceptible to illness as any person. The illnesses that people suffer are not always a matter of life and death. They are sometimes prolonged and severe, and at other times, short lived and not very serious. We often don't notice minor illnesses with animals, because the animal can't tell us they are having an "off day", "headache, or "upset stomach; in the same way that a colleague or family member might tell us. This doesn't mean the problem is any less real though.

    Small issues that go unnoticed and untreated, can develop into more serious issues though; so learning to notice the small things and deal with them can be an important part of avoiding the big issues; which can become quite costly for a farmer or pet owner, as well as stressful for the animal.

    Consider a stomach infection for instance. Gastroenteritis can affect animals just as much as it can affect people. "Gastro" is an acute inflammation of the mucous membranes of the stomach and intestines, which can be caused by a range of problems.  

    The animal may have eaten (or scavenged) food contaminated with bacteria or virus’. Internal parasitic overload, ingestion of poisons or foreign bodies, and other metabolic or systemic diseases may also be the underlying cause.  The problem may be mild and resolve itself within a short period of time or may be severe and life threatening, depending on the cause.

    Any animal can be affected.

    Vomiting and diarrhoea are the major symptoms but they may vary greatly depending on the cause. Dehydration is often seen as well. Fever may be present and the animal may have a decreased or increased appetite.  Traces of blood may be present in the animal’s vomit or diarrhoea. 

    Traditional treatment  varies depending on cause and severity of the animal’s condition. Food and water should be removed until the animal has stopped vomiting and then only water reintroduced gradually. A bland diet should then be slowly reintroduced. In severe cases intravenous fluids may be given to combat dehydration as well as drugs to reduce vomiting and diarrhoea.  Antibiotics may be administered if appropriate. Subsequent administration of pre- and pro-biotics may help in the animal’s recovery and prevent further incidence of the condition

    Natural treatment used sometimes, include Homeopathic Arsenicum, Ipecacuanha, and Podophyllum may help to ease symptoms.  Garlic and thyme may also be sometimes given in controlled doses to provide  relief.


    How the Course can Benefit You

    Learning more about Animal Health can only improve your ability and confidence to work with animals. The knowledge you will gain from studying this course is truly an asset for you to apply to animals in your care.

    If you are interested in further study, this foundation course will set you on a path to continue learning. The Animal Husbandry I (Animal Anatomy and Physiology) and Animal Husbandry III (Feed and Nutrition) courses are designed to complement this course. You may even consider combining additional courses that are of interest to you to upgrade your study to a Certificate of higher qualification.






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    Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

    Meet some of our academics

    Alison Pearce (animal)B.Sc.(Hons) in Animal Science. Masters Degree in Ecotourism. P.G.Cert. Ed. (Science). Alison's first job was in 1982 as a stockwoman, working with pigs in Yorkshire. Within a few years she of that she was working for the University of Western Australia as a Research Technician and instructor with their school of Agricultural Science.In 1989 she moved to Melbourne University as Unit Manager and Instructor in Animal Husbandry. By the mid 1990's she moved back to England to work in Animal Care and Veterinary Nursing at Cambridgeshire College of Agriculture. Throughout her career, Alison has developed and delivered courses in veterinary nursing and animal sciences for vocational colleges and universities in Australia, New Zealand and Australia. She has built a high level of expertise and an outstanding international reputation as an expert in animal sciences.
    Dr. Gareth PearceGraduated from the University of Nottingham in 1982 with a B.Sc.(Hons) in Animal Science. Between 82 and 85 worked as Research Assistant and Demonstator in Animal Science at the University of Leeds. Over more than 30 years he has furthered his studies, obtaining eight significant university qualifications including degrees in Veterinary Science, Wildlife Conservation and Animal Behaviour. Gareth has significant teaching experience around the world as a faculty member at eight different universities including Associate Professor at Murdoch University and Director of Studies in Veterinary Science at Cambridge University. He has over 100 prestigious research papers published, and enjoys an outstanding international reputation in the fields of animal and veterinary science.
    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

    Horse CareThis book is an accumulation of information from biology, agricultural science and veterinary medicine. It looks to explore and explain the fundamentals of appropriate horse care aims and techniques. In doing so it will consider horsemanship as a combination of art and science.
    PoultryPoultry are entertaining as pets and life sustaining as a commercial product! Whether you are seeking a book as a beginner poultry keeper or if you are embarking on a new career in poultry production or management, this book is for you. Easy to read, easy to understand and packed with easy to implement practical advice. Know how to care for the health and wellbeing of poultry and make production a commercially viable enterprise.
    Animal HealthUnderstand animal health issues, diseases and how identify and manage illnesses and injuries. Animals can become sick for many different reasons -diseases caused by infections, injuries, poisoning, genetic disorders, poor nutrition and other things.
    Caring for DogsA book for both students and dog owners. This book has been designed to complement our dog care and pet care courses; but also to provide a sound foundation for choosing the right breed, and caring for a dog whether as a pet, or a working animal. Contents cover Breeds, Creating a healthy home for dogs, legal issues, dog biology, recognising poor health, parasites, illnesses, nutrition, reproduction, dog psychology, behavioural development, training tips, behaviour problems, grooming, working in the dog industry, and more.