Unit of competency details

ACMGAS208A - Source information for animal care needs (Release 1)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
1 1 (this release)Current 11/Nov/2010

Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to ACMGAS208 - Source information for animal care needsUpdated to meet Standards for Training Packages Element 3 removed and replaced with element on reading and locating animal identification information Assessment requirements revised 28/Nov/2017

Training packages that include this unit


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 processes required to gather information on medications and services for animals and relate these to individual animal requirements and audience needs.

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 where it may be necessary to investigate or clarify information on treatments, services or other animal care items for self, colleagues or clients. Candidates are not required to provide advice to clients at this level but rather to develop the skills required to find information that is current, relevant, accurate and appropriate for the audience and activity needs from a range of credible services.

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. Read and interpret product labels

1.1. Medication classes  and product contents are identified and general use defined.

1.2. Safety precautions  are identified and interpreted.

1.3. Dose or application rates are identified.

1.4. Dose or application is prepared for nominated animals as directed.

2. Gather information on products and services 

2.1. Information sources  for animal care products and services are identified and evaluated.

2.2. Company advisors are contacted for specific information.

2.3. Inquiries are made on animal care services for a range of animal care needs.

3. Profile nominated animal physiological features relevant to health and application of treatments

3.1. Animal metabolic processes  relevant to health, nutritional needs and medication are identified.

3.2. Substances and medications known to produce allergic or toxic reactions in nominated animals are determined.

3.3. Methods of administration  of treatments and medications are evaluated.

4. Take an animal history 

4.1. Phone information is documented and information relayed to relevant staff.

4.2. Effective listening and research skills  are used to verify information on animals.

4.3. Animal history is completed using workplace documentation.

Required Skills and Knowledge


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

Required skills 

  • calculate and prepare doses or applications rates for treatments and verify with supervisor
  • complete relevant work-related documents
  • employ safe and environmentally responsible organisational systems and procedures when working with animals
  • gather and provide information in response to workplace requirements
  • identify the potential impact of over or under dosing of medications or treatments
  • maintain the highest standards of hygiene and infection control at all times to reduce the risk of infection and cross-infection
  • literacy skills to read and follow organisational policies and procedures, including occupational health and safety (OHS), follow sequenced written instructions; and record the information accurately and legibly
  • numeracy skills to estimate, calculate and record routine workplace measures
  • 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
  • interpersonal skills to work with others and relate to people from a range of cultural, social and religious backgrounds and with a range of physical and mental abilities
  • problem-solving skills to use available resources and prioritise daily tasks
  • use personal protective clothing and equipment
  • use safe manual handling techniques and/or equipment
  • use safe waste handling and disposal procedures
  • verify precautions in application or administration of treatments or services.

Required knowledge 

  • animal metabolic processes relevant to health, nutritional needs and medication
  • animal temperaments and behaviours related to the associated hazards and risks to animals and staff during the administration or application of treatments
  • common diseases, ailments, injuries and other impacts on animal health and wellbeing
  • communication procedures, systems and technology relevant to the organisation and individual job responsibilities
  • housing, exercise, social and activity needs of animals related to products and services provided
  • organisation policies and procedures, including OHS requirements
  • physical conditions and vital signs of animals
  • protocols, legal and ethical considerations in consulting with veterinarians and other specialists; documenting observations, measurements, treatments and decisions on animal care; and in the storage and relay of information to others
  • relevant state or territory legislation and regulations relating to the practice of veterinary science, OHS and animal welfare
  • relevant state or territory legislation covering the use of therapeutic and controlled substances
  • safe work practices
  • terminology and language variations used by workplace staff and the public to describe animals, their behaviour, status, health and treatments
  • terminology used to describe and document health and behavioural signs and symptoms
  • terminology used to describe treatments, dose rates, application methods and precautions
  • terminology used to identify animals and describe their behaviour
  • types and sources of information available for treatments, medications and other animal services
  • 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:

  • differentiate between credible and unreliable information sources
  • identify precautions, active ingredients and other information that may be relevant to hazards and risk management issues in the care and treatment of animals and OHS considerations for staff
  • interpret medication and other items directions, dose rates and method of administration
  • prepare medication and treatment doses
  • take an animal history and document information using industry protocols and procedures.

The skills and knowledge required to source information for animal care needs 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, aquariums, breeding or boarding kennels and catteries, aviaries, companion animal training or grooming establishments or veterinary practices.

There must be access to a range of products and types of services as well as relevant information, equipment and/or resources to enable one to demonstrate competence.

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.

Medication classes  relate to:

  • the national Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Drugs and Poisons (SUSDP), a document which aims to standardise the scheduling and packaging/labelling of substances throughout Australia.

Note: Differences do exist in the regulation of drugs and poisons between Australian states and territories.

Safety precautions  may include:

  • hazard identification, risk minimisation and workplace procedures for:
  • animal bites, kicks and scratches
  • biological hazardous waste and sharps disposal
  • handling, use, storage, transport and disposal of chemicals and medicines
  • inhalation of aerosol particles
  • manual handling, including carrying, lifting and shifting
  • needle pricks and cuts from other sharps
  • control of the release of infective agents (animal and human)
  • transmission of zoonotic diseases
  • use of relevant personal protective equipment.

Products and services  may include:

  • dietary needs:
  • feeding and watering frequency and rates
  • supplements that may be required according to current animal status
  • types and quantities of commonly available feedstuffs, their preparation and presentation
  • grooming and cleaning requirements
  • handling procedures and equipment
  • health check-up frequency and procedures
  • diseases of animals that will require medication:
  • bacterial, viral and fungal infections
  • parasite and pest control
  • potential hazards to specific animal species
  • techniques used to minimise trauma during rehousing and socialising with other animals where relevant and humans
  • temperature, climate and habitat needs of specific animal species
  • animal handling equipment
  • animal housing and furniture
  • boarding and holiday care services
  • books, DVDs and other information sources
  • feeding equipment, implements and products
  • filtration systems
  • parasite control products
  • transportation equipment and services
  • veterinary and other products and services.

Information sources  may include:

  • company representatives and advice service
  • industry associations
  • library resources
  • Medical Information Management System (MIMS) and other veterinary medication reference sources
  • product brochures and material safety data sheets (MSDS)
  • supervisor and other workplace staff
  • validated internet sites.

Metabolic processes  may include:

  • activity features of nominated animals, related energy needs and processes
  • food ingestion, digestion processes and nutritional needs
  • integument features and effect of topical applications
  • respiration methods
  • temperature regulation.

Methods of administration  may include:

  • oral :
  • nutritional supplements
  • pain medications
  • parasite control
  • eye and ear medications
  • topical applications:
  • external parasite washes
  • skin condition medications
  • wound treatments
  • water treatment and medications for birds, amphibians and fish.

Animal history  information may include:

  • age
  • behaviour issues (if any)
  • breed
  • diet
  • exercise routine
  • housing type and location
  • injuries
  • known allergies
  • known health problems
  • parasite and other health condition control and prevention treatments
  • reason for consultation or inquiry
  • sex
  • vaccination status.

Effective listening and research skills  may include:

  • listening skills:
  • asking both open ended and closed questions
  • clarifying what has been said
  • focusing on the issue at hand by drawing speaker's attention back to the information needed
  • prioritising information for significance and urgency of issue
  • recognising possible stress and anxiety being experienced by speaker and responding to their concerns whilst still following workplace protocols and priorities
  • separating emotional responses from facts
  • summarising what has been said and verifying understanding of information
  • research skills:
  • developing networks
  • identifying valid sources of information
  • recognising the importance of currency of information for particular issues
  • using animal care industry recognised sources of information.

Unit Sector(s)

Unit sector 

General animal studies

Competency field

Competency field 

Co-requisite units

Co-requisite units 

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