Learn online, study animal health, animal first aid, and animal behaviour, learn Veterinary skills, via home study, with a self paced course.

Course Code: VAG100
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn the fundamentals of health care for pets and other animals.

  • Better understand health issues, preventative measures and treatments
  • Take better care of your own animals
  • Develop a foundation for working more effectively in animal health and welfare


Course Duration - 100 hours of self paced study.

Lesson Structure

There are 12 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Animal Health Care
  2. Common Animal Health Problems
  3. Animal Behaviour
  4. Signs (Indicators) of Ill Health
  5. Veterinary Facilities
  6. Safety Procedures when Dealing with Animals
  7. Administration of Animal Health
  8. Animal First Aid Procedures
  9. Preventative Health Care
  10. Routine Health Treatments
  11. Health Problems in Domestic Pets
  12. Care of Animals after illness -Rehabilitation


  • Describe the scope of services offered by animal care services.
  • Describe common health problems in various animals.
  • Explain the natural behaviour of different types of domestic animals in different situations.
  • Identify common signs of ill health in a variety of animals.
  • Describe purposes of a range of facilities in a veterinary practice.
  • Determine safety procedures for a veterinary practice.
  • Describe a range of administrative taskes carried out in a veterinary practices.
  • Describe first aid procedures and treatments for different animals.
  • Describe requirements for maintaining good health in domestic animals.
  • Develop an understanding of routine treatments for healthy animals.
  • Develop broader awareness of health issues and treatments in domestic pets.
  • Develop skills in caring for animals prior to, during or after treatment

What Makes an Animal become Ill?

Animals get sick for all sorts of reasons. Knowing the cause of illness is the starting point for responding to any problem. It is important to understand though, that problems can have multiple causes (eg. damaged skin and infection). Treating an illness can require treating more than one problem.

Causes of illness commonly fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Inadequate Nutrition or water
  • Poor environmental conditions 
  • Infection (eg. bacterial, viral, fungal)
  • Metabolic disorders (parts of the body not functioning, eg. diabetes)
  • Damaged Tissues (eg. skin penetrated, broken bones)
  • A bad reaction to a chemical (eg. toxins, allergens, poisons)

Damaged Skin

When the skin is broken, the body is susceptible to infection entering through that wound. Commonly, tissues around a wound become inflamed, (swelling in size and turning red). The area becomes tender and may become itchy.

In some instances, cuts or wounds in the skin can develop serious consequences such as:

  • Tetanus Infections
  • Gas Gangrene
  • Hepatitis B
  • Zoonoses
  • Q Fever
  • Leptospirosis
  • Brucellosis

Risk of infection will remain until wounds are completely healed.


Understanding Animal Health is the Foundation of Caring for Any Animal

This course raises your understanding of what makes animals healthy or sick, how to lower health risks and how to better respond to ill health when it happens. Being able to avoid and minimise problems is always the preferable course of action. When a problem does arise, it is critical to detect and treat the problem fast if any escalation of the problem is to be avoided.



  • Pet owners
  • Farmers and farm workers
  • Pet shop staff
  • Veterinary assistants
  • Animal shelter staff
  • Zookeepers, wildlife park managers, rangers
  • anyone else who works with animals


Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

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