Turn your passion for animals into a rewarding and challenging career with our Certificate of Animal Health Care . This course will equip you with an understanding of animal health care and basic veterinarian procedures, and is ideal for animal workers, vet assistants, animal technicians, farm or wildlife park workers, animal rescue staff, pet owners or anyone who loves our furry and feathered friends.
In this animal care course you will learn about the scope of services offered by animal health care providers, preventative health care, and how to identify common signs of ill health in domestic pets and farm animals. You will also study the safety measures, facilities and administrative tasks required in veterinary clinics, and the routine treatments and first aid performed by veterinary professionals.
Outcomes achieved by undertaking an animal care course include:
- Learning about the nature, scope and terminology of veterinary services
- Exploring private veterinary practices
- Studying other veterinary and animal services – quarantine, laboratories, agriculture departments, educational, pharmaceutical companies, holiday care, breeders etc.
- Gaining insights into animal welfare control, code of practice and transporting animals
- Understanding common health problems in pets and farm animals
- Learning about causes of ill health, injury, conditions, nutritional problems, living organisms and parasites
- Exploring family pets and their common conditions
- Gaining an understanding of dogs, cats, caged birds, aquarium sit, mice, reptiles and wild animals
- Studying animal behaviour including in dogs – communication, scent, barking and body language
- Gaining insights into handling cats, bird language and types of behaviour
- Examining time and space orientation, aggression and territorial behaviour
- Understanding horse psychology
- Learning about the signs of ill health – vital signs, signs and symptoms and the diagnosis of diseases
- Exploring take smarts, tissues samples and the diagnosis and control of different types of diseases
- Gaining an understanding of viruses, bacteria, protozoa, parasites, mites and fleas
- Studying veterinary facilities – clinic, hospital, mobile facility, emergency facility etc.
- Gaining insights into First Aid kits – for diagnosis, instruments, medicines, preparations etc.
- Understanding record management
- Learning about enclosures for animals and environmental requirements
- Exploring safety procedures including Duty of Care, lifting heavy weights and reducing back injury
- Studying protective equipment, dealing with chemicals, skin penetrating injuries and risk categories
- Gaining insights into separating animals, the disposal of dead/infected tissues and dangerous non-animal wastes
- Understanding the storage and handling of medicines and handling larger animals
- Learning about the administration of animal health
- Exploring animal insurance, quarantine, importing animals and managing a veterinary office
- Studying telephone usage, record keeping and filing information
- Gaining insights into animal first aid including types of wounds, cuts, punctures and tears
- Understanding how to treat and clean wounds and granulating and stitching a wound
- Learning about broken bones, bone and joint problems, tendon injury and poisoning
- Exploring how to restrain animals during First Aid including cats, dogs, horses, cattle and sheep
Types of Wounds and How to Treat Them
When studying an animal care course, you will learn about wounds, including:
- Cuts – these can be incisions or incised wounds. Blood vessels are normally cut through, causing bleeding. Cuts may be shallow or deep. Shallow cuts may only damage veins, but a deep cut may damage an artery. If an artery is cut, haemorrhaging can be quite severe. Examples include a cut from a shearing blade, a sharp piece of glass or metal or a cut made by a veterinary surgeon during an operation.
- Blood vessels may not be damaged much at all, However, a puncture is more likely to be deep, while not affecting a great surface area. If a puncture is deep and hits an artery, bleeding can be severe, and it may result in death. However, deep punctures may not be such a serious problem if they miss arteries and avoid hitting any vital organs. Such wounds suppurate and tend to be associated with pain as the pus cannot escape. Examples include an accidental puncture made by a nail, stake, splinter, thorn or a bite from fighting.
- Blood vessels are stretched, but may not be broken. The walls of veins are elastic and able to stretch and recoil without breaking. Bleeding might not occur but if it does, it may be minimal. Tears are typically made by an animal pulling or catching on something such as barbed wire or from fighting.
Danger of Wounds
Wounds can result in a number of complications, including:
- When internal tissue is exposed, it is subject to being invaded by disease organisms from outside of the body. If such organisms gain a hold on the weakened tissue, a serious infection (for example, of bacteria), may develop and spread throughout the body. One of the greatest dangers is tetanus. Immunisation against tetanus is open of the most important measures that can be taken in terms of treating wounds
- Blood loss. Arteries or veins may be damaged by wounds. The damage may result in some loss of blood, but in a health animal, natural mechanisms will usually contain and repair such wounds. However, if an artery is damaged, the blood loss can be much greater, and the animal may bleed to death, unless it is promptly treated. Major bleeding from an artery will occur in pulsating spurts and will come from the side of the wound closest to the heart, and the blood will be bright red in colour. Bleeding should be reduced by applying a tourniquet between the heart and the wound, and the tourniquet should be released gently every four If the bleeding is from a vein it will flow out in a continuous sluggish stream and will come from the side of the wound further from the heart. The blood will be dark red in colour, and bleeding can usually be stopped by the application of a pressure bandage.
- Damage to important tissues. Deep wounds can physically damage important body organs, such as the heart or lung Shallower wounds may damage muscle tissue or nerves, causing a malfunction to occur (for example, a limb may not be able to move properly). Such wounds may be of minimal consequence to some farm animals, but may be of extremely serious consequence in other situations.
The first step in treating wounds is to control any bleeding. The wound should then be washed gently with warm water containing a non-irritating antiseptic like Hibitane or Halamid (iodine should not be used as it can irritate the flesh). The animal should then be treated with an antibiotic like penicillin or tetracycline.
For cuts or tears, the wound should be stitched and the animal should have the appropriate immunisation against tetanus. With punctures, foreign objects should be removed. For severe wounds, it is vital that a veterinary surgeon attends to the animal.
- Granulating wounds. Granulation tissue forms in the healing process of any wound. When infection or irritation is present, then excess growth of granulation tissue may result. Granulated flesh will often form as a wound heals. Failure to control these granulations can delay complete healing by up to several months. Granulations should be treated as soon as they appear by applying a daily dressing of a mild caustic solution. A suitable treatment can be made from twenty grams of zinc sulphate, ten grams of lead acetate and one litre of water. Topical ointments containing corticosteroids are also very useful. If granulation is excessive, a veterinary surgeon may treat it with a grafting of skin.
- Stitching a wound. This is typically done by a vet, however in some isolated situations and in an emergency, you may need to attempt it yourself. Wounds must be stitched as soon as possible before the skin dries (six to eight hours at most). This is usually done using a strong needle (a surgical or upholstery needle) and a thread such as linen. Your hands, the needle and thread should all be sterilised. Every stitch should be tied off separately — not a series tied at end. A long layer of thread should be left on each stitch, so they can be located for removal after healing. When the stitches are removed, swab the area with a disinfectant.
- A little fly repellant ointment, lotion or flint oil can be painted on a wound to keep flies away. Animals should be kept in a fly-proof enclosure if possible.
Gain a comprehensive knowledge base in animal health care to build a career working with animals in a health care setting with an animal care course such as our Certificate of Animal Health Care.