Module code: VMS4005

Module Overview

This module places the previous knowledge gained by the student by body system into the context of companion animal species looking at the various stages of the animal’s life cycle.

An emphasis is placed  on the maintenance of  health and well being through a proactive approach to prophylactic medicine and client education whilst critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills are developed through a ‘case based’ approach to commonly presented conditions 

Module provider

School of Veterinary Medicine

Module Leader

PHILLIPS Susan (Vet Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5


JACs code: D210

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

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

Successful completion of all previous units of the BVMSci 

Module content

Management of the reproductive female

Parturition, dystocia and its management

Care of the neonate

The human/animal bond, behaviours,  and the role of the practice team in developing the partnership

The concept of ‘wellness’ management in companion animal practice

Prophylactic medicine, developing a regime. Vaccination protocols, parasite control and evidence – based best practice


Nutrition –growing well not fat. The world of ‘special’ diets

Zoonoses and client education

Import/export of companion animals, pet passports, pet travel and implications for introduction of  of exotic diseases and  biosecurity

Pain assessment and management

Emergency medicine : toxicology –common poisons

Emergency medicine: toxicology – critical care, running an ICU

Shelter medicine –‘herd health’, understanding pragmatic medicine, ethics and welfare

 Stress related behaviours/disease

The role of exercise/physical therapies in maintaining mobility throughout life

Assessing the geriatric patient – quality of life issues and euthanasia

Diagnostic tools: imaging and the role of advanced imaging, clinical pathology in relation to life cycle

Problem based review of commonly presented conditions in companion animal practice across the species (cat, dog, rabbit, ferrets, small mammals)


Presentations and Practicals – 27 hours


Small group practical sessions (Tuesday)

  • Triage (the practice team)

  • Dentistry

  • Techniques for therapeutic administration (injection techniques, fluid/nutritional support)

  • RSPCA – ‘well being’ clinic


EMS case presentations


Wound care/bandaging/splinting


Diagnostic interpretation (imaging, clinical pathology) 


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Practical based assessment EMS CASE PRESENTATION 15
School-timetabled exam/test IN-CLASS ASSESSMENT (30 MINS) 15
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

  • Clinical and professional skills in companion animal practice

  • Problem solving skills, ability to assimilate and interpret diagnostic findings

  • Clinical reasoning and case- management skills in individual animals and within the context of ‘shelter’ medicine

  • Client ‘education focussed’ communication skills

  • Understanding of the relationships between life stage, disease risk, preventative strategies, health and welfare

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

Written examination  - 70%

Practical presentations and reports  - 30%

  • EMS Case Presentation (15%)

  • In-class assessment  (15%)

Clinical Skills portfolio (OSCE’s) - PASS/FAIL

MUST PASS 80% of components within the clinical skills portfolio

Formative assessment and feedback

Instructor and peer assessments

Online quiz

Module aims

  • Apply existing knowledge and clinical and professional skills to companion animal practice throughout the different stages of the animal’s life
  • Develop a rational problem – solving approach to the common presentations in companion animal species at an individual level and in the context of ‘shelter medicine’
  • Emphasise the role of the veterinary surgeon in promoting companion animal health and welfare through practice of proactive evidence - based preventative and therapeutic medicine and effective client communication

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate a rational, evidence-based, problem-solving approach to the common presentations in the main companion animal KCPT
002 Interpret the findings of clinical examinations, weighing their significance, in order to prioritise problem lists, synthesize differential diagnoses, and establish appropriate diagnostic plans, considering both welfare and economics KCPT
003 Identify the common and important techniques for obtaining diagnostic samples in companion animal practice, know when their use is appropriate and interpret findings KP
004 Identify and implement routine diagnostic imaging techniques appropriate to companion animal practice and interpret findings. KP
005 Describe and develop a management plan for disorders seen in companion animals relating to their signalment by age, gender and breed KPT
006 Demonstrate a rational approach to therapeutic decision making, with regard to responsible use of medicines in companion animals. KCPT
007 Describe and enact the role of preventive medicine in companion animal practice KCPT
008 Recognise signs of possible zoonotic and exotic diseases in companion animal practice and take appropriate action KP
009 Discuss the role of shelter medicine within the remit of companion animal care and take account of important considerations in the management of ‘herd’ health and welfare KCPT
010 Describe and enact the role of the veterinarian as an educator and advocate for the health and welfare of companion animals in their care KCPT
011 Apply the principles of EBVM and “lifelong learning”, and develop skills in reflective practice KCPT
012 Demonstrate a range of Day 1 clinical skills in companion animal practice, including but not limited to: bandaging, injection techniques, fluid administration, positioning for radiography, collection and processing of diagnostic samples. KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 90

Lecture Hours: 33

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed toprovide students with opportunities to:

  • Develop, reinforce and apply essential clinical and professional skills in companion animal practice

  • Develop, reinforce and apply problem-solving skills

  • Reinforce communication skills and develop a team approach to management of companion animals

  • Gain a deeper understanding of the role of the veterinary surgeon as an educator and advocate of companion animal health and welfare

  • Reinforce a holistic consideration of  companion animal care throughout the various  life stages

The learning and teaching methods include:

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures,  small group practical teaching, case based learning, simulation and role play, self – directed learning and group learning            

  • 3 lectures per week (33 hours)

  • small group practicals (dentistry, bandaging, triage scenarios, ‘well being’ clinics (17 hours)

  • EMS case presentation sessions (1 hour)

  • Small group work shops
         Diagnostic interpretation (imaging, / clinical pathology) (6 hours)
         Clinical skills ( therapeutic administration) (3 hours)

  • Online resources for self directed learning


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.