Unit of competency details

ACMGAS205A - Assist in health care of animals (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to ACMGAS205 - Assist in health care of animalsUpdated to meet Standards for Training Packages Element added titled ‘Prepare to work with animals’ to cover safety requirements Assessment requirements revised 28/Nov/2017

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 11/Nov/2010


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 050105 Animal Husbandry  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 050105 Animal Husbandry  11/Nov/2010 
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Modification History

Not applicable.

Unit Descriptor

Unit descriptor 

This unit of competency covers the process of providing assistance to experienced staff in the capture, restraint and assessment of animals and the preparation, application and documentation of treatments.

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.

Application of the Unit

Application of the unit 

This unit is applicable to new entrants to the animal care and management industry. Animal care may occur in a wide variety of workplaces, including retail pet stores, kennels and catteries, shelters, veterinary practices, zoos, animal research facilities and others.

In addition to legal and ethical responsibilities, all units of competency in the ACM10 Animal Care and Management Training Package have the requirement for animals to be handled gently and calmly. The individual is required to exhibit appropriate care for animals so that stress and discomfort is minimised.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


Prerequisite units 

Employability Skills Information

Employability skills 

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Assist in capture of animals

1.1. Animal  behaviour is observed and noted prior to capture.

1.2. Methods to be used to capture animals  are confirmed with supervisor.

1.3. Role of self and others in capture process are clarified in accordance with occupational health and safety  (OHS ) and workplace requirements.

1.4. Positive identification  of animals to be treated is confirmed with supervisor.

1.5. Assistance is provided in moving animal to inspection area.

2. Assist in assessment of animals

2.1. Animal is appropriately restrained  under supervision.

2.2. External features  and vital signs  of animal health are determined.

2.3. Animal is inspected under supervision for general health and wellbeing and findings reported.

2.4. Supervisor's observations on animal health are recorded.

3. Assist in treatment of animals

3.1. Equipment and supplies  are prepared according to instructions.

3.2. Treatment protocols for common health maintenance issues  are determined.

3.3. Assistance is provided in the application of treatments.

3.4. Treatment is documented using workplace protocols.

3.5. Post -treatment routines  are completed.

Required Skills and Knowledge


This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • complete relevant work-related documents
  • comply with basic legislative and regulatory compliance requirements in animal care workplaces
  • employ safe and environmentally responsible organisational systems and procedures when working with animals
  • identify common indicators of the presence of disease and infection processes
  • identify signs of progress or deterioration in condition or health of animals
  • maintain the highest standards of hygiene and infection control at all times to reduce the risk of infection and cross-infection
  • measure animal vital signs and hydration status
  • participate in arrangements for maintaining the health and safety of all people and animals in the workplace
  • use chemicals and cleaning agents to clean treatment areas and workplace in accordance with state or territory legislation and organisational policies and procedures
  • use equipment and machinery correctly and safely
  • literacy skills to read and follow organisational policies and procedures, including OHS
  • oral communication skills/language to fulfill the job role as specified by the organisation, including questioning, active listening, asking for clarification and seeking advice from supervisor
  • numeracy skills to estimate, calculate and record routine workplace measures
  • use personal protective clothing and equipment correctly
  • problem-solving skills to use available resources and prioritise daily tasks
  • use safe manual handling techniques and/or equipment
  • use safe waste handling and disposal procedures.

Required knowledge 

  • animal care and hygiene principles
  • animal temperaments and behaviours related to the associated hazards and risks to animals and staff during animal capture, restraint, inspection and treatment
  • common ailments, disease and injury indicators
  • common health maintenance issues and treatment protocols
  • communication procedures and systems, and technology relevant to the organisation and the individual's work responsibilities
  • examination techniques for health status
  • methods of transmission of disease and infection
  • methods used to capture, restrain and examine animals
  • organisational policies, procedures and requirements, including OHS, emergency procedures and treatment programs
  • physiological features of animals
  • principles of animal welfare and ethics
  • regulations relating to the disposal of hazardous waste
  • relevant OHS and animal welfare legislative requirements and codes of practice
  • safe animal handling techniques and procedures
  • storage and security requirements for medications
  • terminology used to identify animals and describe their behaviour
  • vital signs, their normal range and reasons for concern for measurements outside normal range
  • workplace hygiene standards, disinfectants, cleaning agents, cleaning techniques and cleaning equipment and materials.

Evidence Guide


The Evidence Guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

The evidence required to demonstrate competence in this unit must be relevant to workplace operations and satisfy all of the requirements of the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge and the range statement of this unit. Assessors should ensure that candidates can:

  • observe animal behaviour to identify potential health problems and in order to determine tactics required to catch animals
  • assist others in the capture, removal and restraint of animals in accordance with OHS and workplace requirements
  • identify individual animals, measure their vital signs and conduct a basic visual and external assessment under supervision
  • assist in the application or administration of treatment
  • document observations and treatments
  • clean inspection and treatment areas.

The skills and knowledge required to assist with the health care of animals must be transferable to a range of work environments and contexts and include the ability to deal with unplanned events.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment of this unit is to be practical in nature and will be most appropriately assessed in an animal care workplace or in a situation that reproduces normal work conditions. Workplaces can include pet shops, breeding or boarding kennels and catteries, aviaries, companion animal training, grooming establishments, animal shelters, zoos, mobile animal facilities and veterinary practices.

There must be access to a range of animals as well as relevant information, equipment and/or resources to enable one to demonstrate competence.Assessment must cover a minimum of one species from at least two of the six major animal groups (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates).

Method of assessment 

To ensure consistency in one's performance, competency should be demonstrated, to industry defined standards, on more than one occasion over a period of time in order to cover a variety of circumstances and where possible, over a number of assessment activities.

The assessment strategy must include practical skills assessment. Suggested strategies for this unit are:

  • written and/or oral assessment of candidate's required knowledge
  • observed, documented and first-hand testimonial evidence of candidate's application of practical tasks
  • simulation exercises that reproduce normal work conditions
  • third-party evidence
  • workplace documentation
  • portfolio.

This unit may be assessed in a holistic way with other units of competency relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role.

Guidance information for assessment 

Assessment methods should reflect workplace demands (e.g. literacy and numeracy demands) and the needs of particular target groups (e.g. people with disabilities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women, people with a language background other than English, youth and people from low socioeconomic backgrounds).

Range Statement


The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Animals  may include:

  • animals commonly encountered within the industry workplace and may cover both native and introduced species
  • animals from the six major animal groups (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates).

Capture methods to be used  may include:

  • calling animal by name and approaching using non-threatening body language
  • collecting animal from cage or enclosure
  • holding barriers in place whilst supervisor catches animal
  • using catching poles, leads, blankets or nets
  • waiting for supervisor to initially catch animal
  • working with supervisor to corner animal.

OHS risks  when working with animals may include:

  • animal bites, kicks, scratches and crush injuries
  • biological hazardous waste and sharps disposal
  • handling of chemicals and medicines
  • gas leakage
  • inhalation of aerosol particles
  • intraocular contamination
  • manual handling, including carrying, lifting and shifting
  • needle pricks and cuts from other sharps
  • release of infective agents (animal and human)
  • slippery or uneven work surfaces
  • zoonoses.

Relevant OHS requirements  may include:

  • following safe work method statements in the conduct of work tasks
  • hazard identification and risk minimisation procedures for the handling of animals
  • hazard identification and risk minimisation procedures for the handling, use, storage, transport and disposal of chemicals
  • manual handling strategies
  • procedures for the handling and disposal of biological wastes
  • use of personal protective clothing and equipment relevant to the task:
  • animal handling gauntlets
  • gloves
  • hearing or eye protection
  • protective masks
  • work boots.

Positive identification  may include:

  • checking brands, tattoos or other tagging
  • checking for microchip and verifying number
  • checking for response when calling animal by name
  • comparing colour and markings with records
  • confirming identification of animal with owner
  • confirming sex of animal.

Methods used to keep animal restrained  may include:

  • confining animal using a towel or other cloth
  • holding animal after supervisor has fitted restraints
  • holding animal ensuring close body contact and ensuring full control over animal's head and limbs
  • using collar and lead to keep animal still
  • using hand pressure.

External features and vital signs  may include:

  • external features:
  • body condition score
  • coat or skin condition
  • ear, eye, nose presence or absence of discharge
  • eye condition and response to light
  • presence of wounds, lesions, swelling or heat
  • smell of breath
  • vital signs:
  • temperature
  • pulse
  • respiration
  • capillary refill
  • hydration status.

Equipment and supplies  may include:

  • forceps, scissors and clippers
  • scales
  • shampoo and skin treatments
  • thermometer and stethoscope
  • vaccines, syringes, needles and sharps disposal container
  • worming syringe or tube and medications
  • wound cleaning solution, gauze and topical creams.

Common health maintenance issues  may include:

  • annual health check-up
  • coat or skin care and condition
  • contagious diseases
  • control of parasites
  • digestive upsets and dietary imbalances
  • immunisation/vaccinations requirements
  • injuries
  • insect control
  • quarantine of sick animals
  • species specific ailments.

Post -treatment routines  may include:

  • checking and reporting stock supply quantities
  • cleaning and disinfecting treatment area
  • completing required documentation as directed
  • disposing of sharps and contaminated or used materials
  • monitoring animal after treatment
  • preparing equipment for sterilisation
  • returning animal to owner or enclosure.

Unit Sector(s)

Unit sector 

General animal studies

Competency field

Competency field 

Co-requisite units

Co-requisite units