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A week in the life of an Animal Care Student

Two of our students Morgan Curtis and Megan Bruce give an insight into a week in the life of an Animal Care student.

A day consists of 4 classes from Monday through to Wednesday; two classes a week are practical, which can either be spent in the Animal Care centre or in the South of Scotland Wildlife Hospital. As we made our way to room 104, where we knew we had a busy week ahead of us in terms of our classes and practices.


Anatomy and Physiology started at 9.15am todays lesson consisted of the Lymphatic System. We had never learnt about the lymphatic system before so this was all new to us. We learnt about the each section and its function, the different lymph nodes and the spleen.

Our next class was practical; we were down in the Animal Care Training Centre (ACTC). Our duties for this day consisted of being in the Small Furries room. Weighing the hamsters, rats and guinea pigs was our call of practice for the day. Each animal’s records were put onto the white board which was then to be transferred into their record sheets at a later date.

After our lunch, accounting was next on our agenda. We were learning about net, gross and Vat percentages. We had examples to work through which consisted of receipts and payments where we had to write in in the gross, Vat and Net that was worked out for each section.

Animal welfare was our last class of the day, we learned about the different type of behaviours that animals in a welfare situation will exhibit.

After classes were finished for the day the ACTC lecturer asked us if we could help her catch the ponies for the evening and put them into the stable.


Our first class of the day was spent in the ACTC from 9.15am till 10.45am. Our class of 36 has been split into 4 groups to accommodate each section of the ACTC. This particular day Megan and I were asked to tend to the ponies Maisie and Mouse. We were sent with carrots in one hand a bucket of water in the other, down to the stables. Once we arrived the ponies were standing staring at us in wonder as we walked closer. Once we gave the ponies’ fresh water we kept the carrots out of reach for the time being and we went to fetch a fresh bale of hay for the ponies to eat.

We then went back to the ACTC and began the next task of cleaning the aviary and the sugar gliders. Cleaning the aviary entails removing and washing the feed and water bowls, removing all the newspaper from the floor, sweeping and mopping the floor and replacing the newspaper and filling the feed and water bowls. The sugar gliders were then hand fed one mealworm each and then their water and feed bowls cleaned and topped up. We then had a handling session with the sugar gliders and then left them to go back into their house. After this we moved on to cleaning out the ferrets, to do this the ferrets are put in a secure carry case and their litter tray is cleaned out and the floor swept. We then cleaned their water bowls and filled it up with fresh water.

Our second class of the day was Animal Nutrition where we compared the ingredients, nutrients and minerals that are in different brands of dog and cat food including the brands whiskers and pedigree and decide which ones are the better for the animal.

After lunch was our third class of the day, Avian. Our lecturer for this particular lesson runs the ACTC. We were in the library for this class where we had a moodle session learning about the digestive system and the different types of feathers that aid the bird during flight.

Our final lesson of the day consisted of learning about the Musculo-skeletal system and more in depth about Axial Skeleton. The Axial Skeleton consists of the Skull, Cranium and dentition; we were given diagrams to study and to label each section of the axial skeleton.


First thing we had customer care. We were discussing the shared values of companies and how they could improve on them; we were also told we had to present our finding to the class in PowerPoint.

Our second class was Small Animal Health and Disease where we were learning about canine diseases like canine distemper and canine upper respiratory disease (Kennel Cough), we talked about their symptoms, prognosis, prevention and treatment.

Third class was Nutrition for our second time this week, we had been given a sheet with questions on it containing everything we had learned about on minerals and were left to complete these for the lesson.

Our last class of the day was Animal Welfare, for this class we looked over the jobs that people in the animal welfare sector would be called out to deal with like zoos, farms and abuse situations. We then discussed the presentations we would be doing for this class in the upcoming weeks and given the topics we were to discuss.

typical day in the life of an animal care student


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