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Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science (AHVS) Optional Syllabus for UPSC

April 1, 2024


14 Minutes

Table of Contents

Introduction to Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science Optional for UPSC

The Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science (AHVS) optional in the UPSC Civil Services Exam offers a unique blend of biological science and applied technology, with a strong relevance to India's rural economy and public health sector. This subject is particularly advantageous for candidates with a background in veterinary science, zoology, or a profound interest in livestock management, animal breeding, and diseases. Given the importance of agriculture in India's economy, with livestock being a key component in the livelihoods of millions, a deep understanding of this subject can offer a competitive advantage in the examination. This knowledge is particularly useful for roles in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Forest Service (IFS), and other services where specialized knowledge in livestock management and related areas is valuable.

Who Should Take Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science Optional for UPSC?

AHVS as a UPSC CSE optional subject aligns well with the expertise and interests of those who have studied animal-related fields. This subject can offer a competitive advantage to following candidates:

Candidates with a Background in Veterinary Science or Zoology

Advantage of Familiarity: Candidates who have pursued undergraduate or postgraduate studies in veterinary science, zoology, or related fields will find AHVS naturally aligning with their academic background. This familiarity with the subject matter can drastically reduce the learning curve, allowing for a deeper understanding and analysis of the topics covered in the UPSC syllabus.

Application of Prior Knowledge: The extensive preparation for a degree in these fields covers many foundational concepts and theories that are directly applicable to the AHVS optional. Such candidates can leverage their prior knowledge to excel in this subject, making the preparation process more efficient and effective.

Aspirants Interested in Rural Development and Public Health

Relevance to Rural Economy: Candidates keen on contributing to rural development and understanding the intricacies of India's agricultural economy will find AHVS highly relevant. The optional provides a comprehensive overview of livestock management, animal breeding, and diseases, which are crucial for sustaining rural livelihoods and ensuring food security.

Impact on Public Health: Aspirants with a keen interest in public health, especially in preventing and managing zoonotic diseases, will find AHVS aligning with their career goals. The subject’s focus on veterinary preventive medicine and the management of animal diseases offers insights into improving public health standards.

Those with a Passion for Animal Welfare and Sustainable Agriculture

Promoting Animal Welfare: Candidates passionate about animal welfare and ethics in animal husbandry practices will find AHVS offering the knowledge and platform to advocate for these causes effectively. Understanding animal management practices and welfare standards is crucial for promoting humane treatment and sustainable livestock farming.

Interest in Sustainable Agriculture: Aspirants aiming to promote sustainable agricultural practices that integrate livestock management for enhancing soil health, crop yields, and biodiversity will benefit from choosing AHVS. The optional provides a scientific basis for developing and implementing sustainable farming techniques that are environmentally friendly and economically viable.

Candidates Seeking a Unique Niche

Standout Choice: AHVS is a unique optional subject that not many candidates choose, providing an opportunity for aspirants to stand out with their specialized knowledge. This uniqueness can be particularly advantageous during the interview stage, where candidates can showcase their expertise and passion for the subject.

Resource Availability: Despite its specialized nature, there is a wealth of resources available for AHVS preparation, including textbooks, scientific journals, and online courses. Coaching institutes and online platforms also offer targeted training, making it accessible even to those without a direct background in veterinary or animal sciences.

Detailed Overview of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science (AHVS) Optional Syllabus

AHVS Optional Paper-I



Animal Nutrition

Energy Partitioning: Food energy within the animal, direct and indirect calorimetry, carbon—nitrogen balance, comparative slaughter methods, systems for expressing energy value in ruminants, pigs, and poultry, requirements for maintenance, growth, pregnancy, lactation, egg, wool, and meat production.

Protein Nutrition: Advances in protein nutrition, energy-protein inter-relationships, protein quality evaluation, NPN compounds in ruminant diets, protein requirements.

Minerals and Vitamins: Major and trace minerals, sources, functions, deficiency symptoms, toxic minerals, mineral interactions, roles of fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins, deficiency symptoms.

Feed Additives: Methane inhibitors, probiotics, enzymes, antibiotics, hormones, oligosaccharides, antioxidants, emulsifiers, mould inhibitors, buffers, growth promoters' use and abuse.

Fodder Conservation: Fodder conservation, feed storage, advances in feed technology, feed processing, anti-nutritional and toxic factors, feed analysis, quality control, digestibility trials, feed intake prediction.

Ruminant Nutrition: Advances, nutrient requirements, balanced rations, feeding strategies across various stages, effect on milk composition, goat and sheep feeding for milk, meat, wool production.

Swine Nutrition: Nutrient requirements, rations for different stages, lean meat production feeding, low-cost rations.

Poultry Nutrition: Nutrition features, nutrient requirements for meat, egg production, ration formulation.

Animal Physiology

Blood Circulation, Respiration, Excretion: Blood physiology, circulation, respiratory mechanisms, excretion, endocrine health/disease.

Blood Constituents: Properties, functions, formation, haemoglobin, plasma proteins, blood coagulation, disorders, groups, volume, expanders, buffers, disease diagnosis biochemical tests.

Circulation: Heart physiology, cardiac cycle, sounds, heartbeat, ECG, heart efficiency, ions effect, metabolism, regulation, temperature, stress effects, blood pressure, hypertension, osmotic regulation, circulation regulation, shock, coronary, pulmonary circulation, blood-brain barrier. 

Respiration: Respiration mechanism, gas transport/exchange, neural control, chemo-receptors, hypoxia.

Excretion: Kidney structure/function, urine formation, renal function study methods, acid-base balance regulation, physiological urine constituents, renal failure, congestion, urinary secretion in chickens, sweat glands function.

Endocrine Glands: Disorders, symptoms, diagnosis, hormone synthesis, secretion control, receptors.

Growth and Production: Prenatal/postnatal growth, curves, factors, conformation, body composition, meat quality.

Milk Production, Reproduction, Digestion: Hormonal control, reproductive organs functions, digestive functions.

Environmental Physiology: Physiological relationships, regulation, adaptation mechanisms, climatology, ecology, behaviour physiology, stress effects.

Animal Reproduction

Semen Quality and Artificial Insemination: Semen components, spermatozoa composition, semen properties, factors affecting semen, preservation, diluents, sperm concentration, deep freezing techniques, oestrus detection, conception timing, anoestrus, repeat breeding.

Livestock Production and Management

Commercial Dairy Farming: Dairy farming comparison, mixed/specialized farming, dairy farm starting, capital, land, organization, efficiency factors, recording, budgeting, milk production cost, pricing, personnel management, rations, feed/fodder requirements, feeding regimes.

Meat, Egg, Wool Production: Practical/economic rations development, greens, fodder, feeding regimes, production, management trends, capital, land, socio-economic aspects

Management Under Calamities: Feeding and management strategies under drought, flood, and natural calamities.

Genetics and Animal Breeding

History, Mitosis, Meiosis: Animal genetics history, cell division, Mendelian genetics, gene expression, linkage, crossing over, sex determination, character types, blood groups, polymorphism, chromosome aberrations, cytoplasmic inheritance, gene structure, DNA, genetic material, genetic code, protein synthesis, recombinant DNA technology, mutations, transgenesis.

Population Genetics: Quantitative vs qualitative traits, Hardy Weinberg Law, gene/genotypic frequency, forces changing gene frequency, random drift, inbreeding, effective population size, breeding value, dominance/epistatic deviation, variation partitioning, environment interaction, relatives resemblance.

Breeding Systems: Livestock, poultry breeds, heritability, repeatability, correlations, selection aids, selection types, selection indices construction, genetic gains, indirect selection, inbreeding, outbreeding, upgrading, cross-breeding, breed synthesis, inbred lines crossing, combining ability, threshold characters breeding.


Extension Fundamentals: Extension philosophy, objectives, concepts, principles, farmer education methods under rural conditions, technology generation, transfer, feedback, technology transfer problems, constraints, rural development animal husbandry programmes.




Anatomy, Pharmacology, and Hygiene

Histology and Histological Techniques: Paraffin embedding technique of tissue processing and H.E. staining, freezing microtomy, microscopy (bright field, electron microscope), cytology, structure of cell organelles and inclusions, cell division, tissue classification, comparative histology of organs.

Embryology: Embryology of vertebrates with emphasis on aves and domestic mammals, gametogenesis, fertilization, germ layers, foetal membranes, placentation, teratology, twins and twinning, organogenesis, germ layer derivatives.

Bovine Anatomy: Regional anatomy including paranasal sinuses of ox, salivary glands, nerve blocks, paravertebral nerves, pudental nerve, median, ulnar and radial nerves, tibial, fibular and digital nerves, cranial nerves, epidural anaesthesia, superficial lymph nodes, visceral organs of thoracic, abdominal and pelvic cavities, locomotor apparatus. 

Anatomy of Fowl: Musculo-skeletal system, respiration, flying, digestion, egg production.

Pharmacology and Therapeutics: Cellular level of pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics, drugs acting on fluids and electrolyte balance, autonomic nervous system, anaesthesia, antimicrobials, chemotherapy in microbial infections, hormones in therapeutics, chemotherapy of parasitic infections, toxicity.

Veterinary Hygiene: Reference to water, air and habitation, assessment of pollution, climate in animal health, environmental impact on animal function and performance, animal housing requirements.

Milk and Milk Products Technology

Infectious Diseases: Etiology, epidemiology, pathogenesis, symptoms, post-mortem lesions, diagnosis, and control of diseases in cattle, sheep, goat, horses, pigs, and poultry.

Production Diseases: Etiology, epidemiology, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment of diseases in cattle, horses, pigs, and poultry.

Deficiency Diseases: Of domestic animals and birds.

Non-specific Conditions: Like impaction, bloat, diarrhea, indigestion, dehydration, stroke, poisoning.

Neurological Disorders: Diagnosis and treatment.

Immunisation: Principles, methods, herd immunity, disease-free zones, chemoprophylaxis.

Anaesthesia: Local, regional, general, preanesthetic medication.

Surgical Conditions: Fractures, dislocation, hernia, choking, abomasal displacement, caesarian operations, rumenotomy, castrations. 

Disease Investigation Techniques: Laboratory investigation materials, animal health centers, disease-free zones.

Zoonoses: Classification, role of animals and birds in prevalence and transmission, occupational zoonotic diseases. 

Epidemiology: Principles, application in disease study and control, air, water, foodborne infections, OIE regulation, WTO, sanitary and phytosanitary measures. 

Veterinary Jurisprudence: Rules and regulations for animal quality and disease prevention, veterolegal cases, certificates, collection of samples for veterolegal investigation.

Milk and Milk Products Technology

Market Milk: Quality, testing, grading, processing, packaging, storing, distribution, marketing, defects control, preparation of various types of milk and cultured milks. 

Milk Products Technology: Selection, processing, storing, distributing, and marketing of products like cream, butter, ghee, khoa, channa, cheese, condensed, evaporated, dried milk and baby food, ice cream and kulfi; by-products, whey products, butter milk, lactose and casein, testing, grading, judging, BIS and Agmark specifications, quality control, nutritive properties, packaging, processing control, costing.

Meat Hygiene and Technology

Meat Hygiene: Ante and post mortem care and management, slaughterhouse requirements, meat inspection, carcass meat cuts grading, wholesome meat production.

Meat Technology: Physical, chemical characteristics of meat, meat emulsions, preservation methods, curing, canning, irradiation, packaging, meat and meat products processing, formulations.

By-products: Utilisation of slaughterhouse by-products, edible and inedible by-products, social and economic implications.

Poultry Products Technology: Composition, nutritive value of poultry meat, pre-slaughter care, slaughtering techniques, preservation, marketing of poultry meat, eggs, and products, BIS standards.

Rabbit/Fur Animal Farming: Meat production, disposal, utilization of fur and wool, recycling of waste by-products, grading of wool.

Each of these thematic areas requires focused study, utilizing both standard textbooks and current research findings in the field. Preparation should also include staying updated on government policies related to animal husbandry and veterinary sciences, which are often discussed in current affairs.

It is to be noted that I have divided various topics of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science Optional for UPSC into several themes for the ease of aspirants. Alternatively, you can find the official syllabus of the optional subject in the official notification link in our blog UPSC Civil Services Examination 2024: Notification, Admit Card, Results and Important Dates

Preparation Strategy for Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science Optional for UPSC

Get to Know the Syllabus Inside Out

Start with a deep dive into the syllabus of both papers. Understanding not just the main topics but also the subtopics and finer details is crucial. This knowledge will help you craft a focused study plan and choose your study materials wisely.

Select Study Materials Wisely

Pick a few key textbooks used in veterinary courses as your core study materials. It's easy to get lost in a sea of books and articles, so keep it simple. Use additional resources like articles, online lectures, and research papers to stay updated with the latest in the field.

Seek Real-World Experience

Nothing beats hands-on experience. Try to spend time at vet clinics, farms, or research centers. Observing and sometimes participating in daily operations will give you insights that books can't. This experience is also gold when you need to write answers based on practical knowledge.

Make Revision a Habit

The syllabus is vast, so regular revision is your best friend. Set up a revision schedule that lets you go over topics several times before the exam. Use these sessions to focus on areas you find challenging and try explaining concepts in your own words.

Link Studies to Current Events

Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science are constantly evolving. Keep track of the latest news, policy changes, and scientific breakthroughs. Connecting what you learn with real-world developments can make your answers stand out.

Practice Answer Writing

Good answers are clear, structured, and to the point. Use diagrams and charts to make your points clearer and practice writing under timed conditions. This will help you manage your time better during the actual exam.

Discuss with Peers

Joining a study group or discussing topics with friends can deepen your understanding and introduce you to different perspectives. Also, sharing and receiving feedback on your answers can uncover areas you might have overlooked.

Try Test Series

Signing up for a test series focused on your optional can help structure your preparation. It's a great way to assess where you stand, improve time management, and refine your answer writing.

Take Care of Yourself

Don't forget about your well-being. Studying for the UPSC is a marathon, not a sprint. Regular breaks, exercise, and relaxation techniques should be part of your routine to keep your mind and body in top shape.

By following this detailed and practical strategy, you can effectively prepare for the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science optional in the UPSC exam. Remember, consistency and perseverance are key to mastering this subject.


The Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science optional in the UPSC exam demands dedicated preparation, a strong foundation in biological sciences, and an understanding of the socio-economic issues related to animal husbandry. By carefully navigating through its extensive syllabus, integrating current affairs, and practicing answer writing, candidates can leverage this optional to score well and enrich their knowledge base. With the right strategy and resources, AHVS can be a scoring subject that also enhances one's ability to contribute significantly to civil services, especially in areas directly impacting India's rural economy and public health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is veterinary a optional subject in UPSC?

Yes, Veterinary Science is part of the "Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science" optional subject in the UPSC exams.

Can I write UPSC after BVSc?

Yes, you can write the UPSC exam after completing your BVSc (Bachelor of Veterinary Science) degree, as long as you meet the other eligibility criteria set by the UPSC.

Can a veterinarian become IAS officer?

Yes, a veterinarian can become an IAS officer by clearing the UPSC Civil Services Examination and meeting all the necessary eligibility criteria.

Is Animal Husbandry a good optional for UPSC?

Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science can be a good optional for UPSC for candidates with a strong background or interest in this field, especially if they have studied veterinary science or related subjects. It offers the advantage of being a specialized subject, which can help in scoring well with focused preparation. However, the choice of optional should be based on personal interest, academic background, and comfort with the subject matter.

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Table of Content

Introduction to Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science Optional for UPSC

Who Should Take Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science Optional for UPSC?

Detailed Overview of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science (AHVS) Optional Syllabus

Preparation Strategy for Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science Optional for UPSC


Frequently Asked Questions

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