Module code: VMS4006

Module Overview

This module places the previous knowledge gained by the student by body system into the context of production animal practice at the various stages of the animal’s life cycle. The emphasis will be on maintaining production animal health, safeguarding welfare and sustaining productivity, through a proactive approach to herd / flock health management working in partnership with animal owners. 

Module provider

School of Veterinary Medicine

Module Leader

MAHENDRAN Sophie (Vet Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5


JACs code: D210

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

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

Successful completion of all previous units of the BVMSci 

Module content

Clinical examination and problem solving in the context of production animal species

Management common disease presentations at different lifecycle stages (neonates, youngstock, growing / finishing animals and adults) for the main production animal species (dairy and beef cattle, sheep, goats, camelids and deer).

Production animal therapeutics and responsible medicines use

Optimising animal health, welfare and production for the main production animal species through preventative medicine, disease control strategies and improved farm management and animal husbandry

Problem solving at population level: Applied clinical epidemiology in herd health / flock management and on farm risk assessment

Reproduction and obstetrics

Production animal neonatology: Immunity, environmental management and infectious disease

Managing youngstock: Respiratory disease, gastrointestinal disease, nutrition and growth

Managing growing / finishing animals: nutrition and growth, reproduction and sustainable parasite control

Managing adult production animals

  • Udder health: mastitis, milk quality and milk yield

  • Mobility and foot health: Managing the environment and the animal

  • Reproductive health, fertility and obstetrics: Breeding for health and longevity

  • Clinical nutrition and metabolic health: feeding for health, disease  and production

  • Infectious disease: Monitoring and vaccination

  • Production animal economics: decision-making for investment in preventative programmes, treatment and culling

  • Emergency medicine and euthanasia

  • Public health and zoonoses

An introduction to camelid medicine and surgery

An introduction to goat medicine and surgery

Pet farm animals and gerontology

Public Health and zoonotic disease prevention

The vet as a welfare advocate for production animals: management practices and their welfare implications

Alternative approaches to sustainable production: Organic, extensive and robotic systems 

The farm veterinary professional: leadership, business, communication and reflective practice


Presentations and Practicals – 32 hours

Small-group practical sessions

  • Fertility and obstetrics

  • Mobility and Udder health

  • Herd health management and farm audit

EMS case presentations

Herd health and communication skills group task

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation EMS CASE PRESENTATION 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 production animal practice

  • Problem-solving and case-management skills at both individual animal and population level

  • Knowledge of production animal health management protocols

  • Communication in both oral and written format aimed at the client / farmer education

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

  • Demonstrate day one clinical skills, in the context of simulation training and making use of live animal resources if appropriate, within a must-pass clinical skills portfolio

Thus, summative assessment for this module consists of:

Written examination – 70%

Practical presentations and reports – 30%

  • EMS Case Presentation (15%)

  • Herd Health Management Audit (15%)

MUST PASS 80% of components within the clinical skills portfolio

Formative assessment and feedback

Formative assessments: Instructor assessments

Module aims

  • To apply existing knowledge, and clinical and professional skills to production animal practice across the different stages of production cycle in dairy and beef cattle, sheep, goats, camelids and deer.
  • Develop a rational problem-solving approach to the common presentations in farm animal species at individual and herd / flock level
  • Indicate the role of veterinary surgeon in leading a proactive, evidenced-based and cost-effective approach to herd / flock health management, including prevention and control, through partnership and effective communication with farmers.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate a rational, evidence-based, problem-solving approach to managing the common and important presentations in the main production animal species at both herd and individual animal level. KCT
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 Interpret findings of herd / flock health data analyses, integrating these with on-farm observations and weighing their significance, in order to prioritise problem lists, synthesize differential diagnoses, and establish appropriate diagnostic plans, considering both welfare and economics. KCT
004 Know the common and important techniques for obtaining diagnostic samples and imaging in production animal practice and when they are appropriate, and interpret the results. KP
005 Demonstrate a range of day one clinical skills in production animal practice, including, but not limited to clinical examination, bovine foot trimming and basic obstetrics, giving appropriate consideration to the health and safety aspects and recognising their own limitations by asking for help when required. KCPT
006 Describe and develop a management plan for the common and important disorders seen in production animals in relation to the stage of the production cycle, including giving appropriate consideration to euthanasia. KC
007 Demonstrate a rational approach to therapeutic decision making, with regard responsible medicines use in production animals and within the context of Public Health. CT
008 Describe and enact the role of preventive medicine (herd / flock health management) in production animal practice, including biosecurity KCPT
009 Discuss the importance of the farm as a business and take account of the role of economics in informing diagnostic, therapeutic and preventative decision-making. KC
010 Describe and enact the role of the veterinarian as an educator and advocate for the health and welfare of production animals in their care KCPT
011 Develop and rehearse effective communication skills to help motivate, manage and sustain change towards improved animal health, welfare and production. KCT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 85

Lecture Hours: 33

Methods of Teaching / Learning

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

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

  • Develop, reinforce and apply problem-solving skills at individual animal and population level through case-based learning

  • Practice communicating about health and welfare related issues in production animal practice

  • Gain a deeper understanding of the role of the veterinarian as an animal care advocate in production animal practice

  • Reinforce a holistic view of care of production animals including nutrition, husbandry and welfare

  • Develop, rehearse and perform day one clinical skills, both under supervision and independently, in the context of simulation training and making use of live animal resources if appropriate

  • Take responsibility for their own independent learning and develop skills in reflective practice

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures

  • Small-group practical teaching

  • Clinical skills simulation and role play

  • Case-based learning

  • Self-directed individual and group learning

  • E-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.