Learn to Manage Animals
The core modules focus on the study of anatomy, physiology, vertebrate zoology, animal behaviour, feed and nutrition, animal biochemistry, health and diseases, and genetics.
These modules give students a thorough grounding in the biology of animals.
The choice of electives enables students to streamline studies to apply to their own situations.
Note that each module in the Qualification - Diploma in Animal Management is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.
ANIMAL CARE IS A DAILY JOB
Working in animal husbandry is not like working with a machine where you can switch it off at the end of the day and start it up again whenever you are ready to work again.
Animals are living things, and they can have accidents or become ill anytime. Every animal might not need to be watched every minute of the day; but you do need to understand what can go wrong, monitor them for problems, and be ready to take fast and appropriate action whenever an issue is needed. If you want a holiday, you need to have contingencies in place to care for the animals while you are absent - a vet would have a locum employed, a farmer may employ someone to check in on the farm, but it is important for that person to be capable of monitoring the animals.
Animals will always suffer wounds; and most of the time they may be minor. Nevertheless, wounds that go untreated can become a bigger problem if they become infected. It is not practical to use a veterinarian every time there is a wound though. Animal owners need to understand the nature of wounds, how to treat them, and when a veterinarian is necessary.
There are different types of wounds, including:
- Cuts or Incisions/incised wounds e.g. An accidental cut from a sharp piece of metal or glass, a cut from a shearing blade, or a cut made by a veterinary surgeon during an operation.
- Punctures eg. An accidental puncture made by a thorn, a splinter, a nail or a stake, fighting (bite).
- Tears eg. Typically made by the animal catching and pulling on something such as barbed wire or fighting.
Any of the following may result from wounds:
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 may develop and spread throughout the body. One of the greatest dangers is Tetanus. Immunisation against Tetanus is one of the most important measures to be taken in treatment of wounds.
2. Blood loss
Veins and/or arteries may be damaged by wounds. Damage to veins may result in some loss of blood, but in a healthy animal, natural mechanisms will usually contain and repair such wounds. If an artery is damaged though, the blood loss can be much greater, and the animal may bleed to death, unless treated promptly.
Major bleeding from an artery will occur in spurts (pulsating) and will come from the side of the wound closest to the heart. The blood will be bright red in colour. Bleeding should be reduced by applying direct pressure on the wound. Lightly press an absorbent material onto the wound to soak up the blood. If the blood soaks through, apply additional material over the top – do not remove the material as you want the blood to form a clot. In the rare case of a serious bleed e.g. when blood is spurting or pumping from the wound, apply a tourniquet between the wound and the heart. The tourniquet should be released gently for 15-30 seconds every 15-20 minutes.
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. Bleeding can usually be stopped by the application of a pressure bandage.
3. Damage to important tissues
Deep wounds can physically damage important body organs, such as the lungs or heart.
Shallower wounds may damage nerves or muscle tissue, causing a malfunction to occur (eg. a limb may not be able to move properly). Such wounds may be of minimal consequence to some animals such as wildlife, farm animals and zoo animals; but may be of extremely serious consequence in other situations (eg. If movement in the limb of a race horse is slightly restricted, it may be the difference between winning and losing races. Similar loss of movement in a beef steer may not greatly affect the productivity of that animal).
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, hemorrhaging can be quite severe.
Blood vessels may not be damaged much at all. A puncture is however 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. Deep punctures may not be such a serious problem, however, if they miss arteries and avoid hitting any vital organs. Such wounds suppurate and tend to be associated with much pain as the pus cannot escape.
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; or if it does occur, it may be minimal.
- First control bleeding!
- Next wash wound with an antiseptic (e.g. Hibitane or Halamid).
- Treat with antibiotic (e.g. penicillin or tetracylinie)
- For "cuts" or "tears"; have the wound stitched and ensure the animal has appropriate immunisation against Tetanus
- For "punctures"; be sure foreign objects are removed (eg. a thorn). Stitching is rarely needed
- For severe wounds, a veterinary surgeon should attend the animal
- Wash with warm water containing a non-irritating antiseptic (e.g. Dettol)
- Do not use iodine: this can irritate the flesh
- Wash the wound gently using cotton wool or clean rags, dipped in the warm solution
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 (proud flesh) will often form as a wound heals. Failure to control these granulations can delay complete healing by up to several months.
Treat granulations as soon as they appear by applying a daily dressing of a mild caustic solution.
A suitable treatment can be made from:
- 20 gms zinc sulphate
- 10 gms lead acetate
- 1 litre of water
A tried and true older style treatment is 5% Bluestone solution dabbed onto the surface twice daily followed by an antiseptic bathing. Topical ointments containing corticosteroids are also very useful.
If granulation is excessive, a veterinary surgeon may treat it with pinch grafting of skin.
Study alone can never guarantee career success; but a good education is an important starting point. Success in a career depends upon many things, from your knowledge and understanding to relevant experience, to connections with industry (who you know) and the character and personality of the person
This course is an excellent and in depth foundation for building a career working with animals.
- As your studies progress you will explore and discover possibilities for working with animals which you may not have considered previously.
- The obvious career pathway may be to work on a farm, as a farm manager, farm hand, or even share farmer. For many, this may be the path they follow.
- Others will find opportunities elsewhere
What you learn here can be useful working with animals in many different situations. Here are some examples.:
- Breeding Livestock
- Supplying products and services to the livestock industry
- Livestock Marketing
- Animal Welfare
- Pet industry
- Agricultural media or education