Module code: VMS3004

Module Overview

This module presents the clinical conditions of the cardiovascular, respiratory and musculoskeletal systems across the species, the means of their diagnosis, and their therapy both with medical and surgical interventions. By presenting conditions across the species, the commonality of disease process and similarities of therapies are illustrated. The species specific therapies will also be highlighted.   

Module provider

School of Veterinary Medicine

Module Leader


Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

JACs code: D210

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

Successful completion of all first and second year BVMSci units

Module content

1. Diseases of the cardiovascular system

1.1 Cardiovascular Developmental disease (e.g. persistent right aortic arch, transposition of great vessels, PDA), congenital and hereditary disease (e.g. cardiac defects such as Ventricular Septal Defect; breed specific defects (dogs), diagnosis and treatment and prognosis

1.2 The failing heart – wall disease, valve disease, arrhythmias, cardiac electrical blockade issues, embolic disease, conditions and therapy

1.3 Diseases of the peripheral vasculature – thromboembolic disease; DIC; heartworm; lungworm.

2. Therapeutics for circulatory disease

2.1 Drugs for the cardiovascular system – ionotropes, beta blockers, effectors of the vasopressin system, vasodilators, cardiac glycosides, diuretics, anxiolytic agents, antiarrhythmics, anticoagulants, dextrans, platelet inhibitors.

2.2 Clinical management of cardiovascular diseases (including husbandry and nutrition)

3. Airway disease.

3.1 Airway disease – brachycephalic upper airway syndrome, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment  – medical and surgical interventions

3.2 Nasal disease – Diagnosis, Treatment and Prognosis

3.3 Laryngeal disease Diagnosis, Treatment and Prognosis

3.4 Tracheal disease - Diagnosis, Treatment and Prognosis

3.5 Disease of sinuses and guttural pouches - Diagnosis, Treatment and Prognosis

3.6 Diseases of the bronchi and lower airway – pneumonia, lung torsions, abscessation, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prognosis

4. Surgical and therapeutic management of diseases affecting the cardio-respiratory system

4.1 Drugs for the airway – bronchodilators, expectorants, mucolytics, antitussives, codeine derivatives, diuretics, antibiotics, leukotriene inhibitors, steroids,

4.2 Neoplasia of the respiratory system – Diagnosis, Treatment and Prognosis

Oncology drugs relevant to airway disease

4.3 Diseases of the chest wall – trauma, infectious pyothorax – Diagnosis, Treatment and Prognosis

4.4 Chest drains, thoracocentesis, managing pleural effusions

4.5 Diaphragmatic and pericardial hernia - Diagnosis, Treatment and Prognosis

4.6 Pericardial disease – cardiac tamponade

4.7 Chest  (CV and thymic) and chest wall tumours – Diagnosis, Treatment and Prognosis

4.8 Clinical management of respiratory diseases (including husbandry and nutrition)

5. Musculoskeletal disorders and their management

5.1 Muscle disorders – Diagnosis, Treatment and Prognosis

5.2 Bone diseases – non-traumatic, metabolic, developmental and nutritional – Diagnosis, Treatment and Prognosis

5.3 Fractures – treatment principles, mechanics, prognosis

5.4 Joint and cartilage disease – degenerative, infectious, post-traumatic, immune-mediated Diagnosis, Treatment and Prognosis

5.5 Hip and elbow dysplasia – Diagnosis, Treatment and Prognosis, welfare and financial costs

5.6 Intervertebral, patellar, stifle, shoulder and other relevant joints disorders

5.7 Tendon and ligament disease – Diagnosis, Treatment and Prognosis

5.8 Collagen diseases – congenital and nutritional

5.9 Laminitis  - Diagnosis, Treatment and Prognosis

5.10 Neoplasia of the MSK – Diagnosis, Treatment and Prognosis

– oncology drugs relevant MSK neoplasia

5.11 Clinical management of musculoskeletal diseases (including husbandry and nutrition)


Cardiovascular examination, images, auscultation, abnormal chest sounds using digital stethoscope and recordings. Models of various abnormal sounds –

Assessing conditions of the respiratory system – (upper airway, lung) – radiographs, chest sounds, various species, laryngeal noise, lung noise, pleural noise –

Placing chest drains, tracheostomy tubes, chest taps–

Assessing conditions of the musculoskeletal system – bones, joints, muscles – using radiographic images, CTs, MRIs and other imaging techniques –

Lameness examination in the horse, cow, dog. – Demonstration of diagnosis using flexion tests, nerve blocks, palpation, examination on different surfaces.


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
School-timetabled exam/test SUPERVISED ONLINE OR IN CLASS TESTS 20
Pass/Fail competencies CLINICAL SKILLS PORTFOLIO (OSCE) Pass/Fail

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

Practical skills in performing a clinical examination of these systems in relevant veterinary species

Content knowledge of conditions, their therapeutic options and prognosis

Knowledge of the drugs relevant to these systems

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

Supervised on line or in class tests– 20%

Written examination – 80%

Clinical Skills Portfolio (OSCE) – PASS/FAIL

To pass the module, students are required to achieve a weighted aggregate mark of 50% and pass 80% of stations within the clinical skills portfolio

Formative assessment and feedback

Formative assessments: Instructor and peer assessments 0%


Module aims

  • To give the students the skills to diagnose and treat and give a prognosis for diseases of the cardiovascular, respiratory and musculoskeletal systems in livestock, companion and the other veterinary species.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Apply core structure, function and pathophysiological knowledge to common clinical scenarios of the cardiovascular, respiratory and musculoskeletal systems. RCVS 18, 22, 24 KU 5 KT
2 Establish a holistic clinical approach to animals with cardiovascular, respiratory and musculoskeletal systems disorders, including integration of detailed system-specific examinations. RCVS 5, 16, 18, 20 KCPT
3 Assess the different clinical presentations associated with conditions of the cardiovascular, respiratory and musculoskeletal systems and formulate differential diagnoses. RCVS 21, 22 KU 5 KCT
4 Develop knowledge and technical skills appropriate to the investigation of cardiovascular, respiratory and musculoskeletal systems and apply clinical reasoning to perform a diagnosis and assess diagnostic and prognostic indicators. RCVS 10, 12, 22, 24 KCPT
5 Recommend appropriate medical and surgical interventions in the management and treatment of conditions affecting the cardiovascular, respiratory and musculoskeletal systems, and determine control measures appropriate for disease prevention. RCVS 19, 20, 34, 37 KU 8, 9 KPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 90

Lecture Hours: 40

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Provide deep understanding of the clinical conditions of the cardiovascular system, respiratory and musculoskeletal systems in the various veterinary species – their diagnosis, treatment and prognosis.

Highlight the similarities of the disease processes across the species and allow the concept of One Health, One Medicine to be considered for some conditions.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures, flipped classroom, small group sessions, practical classes using image libraries, recordings of various abnormal heart and lung sounds, videos of surgcial conditions, and cadaver proecdural based practicals

  • 4 lectures per week (40 hours), 2 hours practicals average per week (20 hours)

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list


Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2018/9 academic year.