Module code: VMS1006

Module Overview

This module will present the student with the structure and function of the haemopoietic and neurological systems in the various veterinary species. Cases will underpin the presentation of this material to provide context and integration between the disciplines of anatomy, histology, physiology and embryology. Students will use dissection and laboratory sessions to develop their technical competencies. Practicals will be used to underpin the anatomy and physiology and to enhance team learning and the development of independent learning skills. 

Module provider

School of Veterinary Medicine

Module Leader

HAWES Martin (Vet Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 109

Lecture Hours: 27

Practical/Performance Hours: 14

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Introduction to the haematopoietic system and its component parts principally the, lymphatic system, bone marrow, spleen and tonsils and thymus and their function.

Cellular structure of the bone marrow, precursor cells, mature circulating blood cells and spleen. 

Cellular structure of the lymphatic system including tonsil and thymus.

Interaction between cellular components of the haematopoietic system and coagulation factors in the process of haemostasis and coagulation.

Immune cells – their basic functions.

Comparative blood cell morphology including bird and reptile.

Avian, fish and reptilian haemopoietic systems.

Introduction to the nervous system: basic arrangement (including species differences) (peripheral including spinal and cranial nerves; autonomic; central including spinal cord and brain) and cell types (neuron, glial, Schwann).

- structures protecting the CNS (the meninges vertebrae and skull)

- cerebrospinal fluid production and circulation

- blood supply to the nervous system (and important differences in the species)

Spinal cord – function of the different grey and white matter components of the spinal cord (e.g. dorsal horn, white matter tracts) and the anatomical and functional regions of the spinal cord e.g. C6-T12 is the cervical intumescence

Clinical examination of the neurological system

Cranial nerves and special senses: function and anatomy of the cranial nerves and (for special senses) their associated central projections

Brain – anatomical and functional divisions

Introduction to neurophysiology: synaptic transmission (central and neuromuscular junction) and most important excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters. Membrane potential of excitable cells, action potential, myelination and nerve condition

Excitotoxicity – pathological process by which nerve cells are damaged and killed by excessive stimulation by neurotransmitters (with application to spinal cord trauma and epilepsy)

Autonomic nervous system, neurotransmission and control (including adrenal medulla)

Control of micturition

Formation of the neural tube, development of the brain, spinal cord and PNS, molecular basis of differentiation, development of the ventricular system, development of the skull, development of the vertebrae

Pain sensation and its pathways and control

Wind up and neuropathic pain

Animal behaviour in relation to normal and abnormal nervous system function

Animal welfare issues relating to in neurological disorders and extremes of conformation

Role of nutrition on the structure and function of the nervous system

Practical sessions

Cellular structure of the bone marrow precursor cells, mature circulating blood cells and spleen 

Cellular structure of the lymphatic system including tonsil and thymus

Comparative blood cell morphology including bird, fish and reptiles 

Blood cross matching in small animals – kits and on slides 

The components of the PNS and CNS (to able to identify gross regions of the brain, cranial nerves, transverse section of the spinal cord). 

· The anatomy of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system

· To understand the anatomical relationship of the skull and vertebrae to the structures within (e.g. where the cauda equina is, or what skull bones form the caudal cranial fossa).

Using cadavers, fixed samples and models 

Neurophysiology practical demonstrating EEG and EMGs 

Introduction to neurological examination 1 (how to assess and interpret spinal reflexes and proprioception) 

Introduction to neurological examination 2 – how to assess cranial nerve function including vision and vestibular function 

Introduction to neurological examination 

How to assess brain function with audio-visual resources and MRI 


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Practical based assessment STEEPLECHASE 40

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate understanding of the laboratory components, content knowledge and integration of the various components of practical materials.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

Content knowledge examination – 60%

Integration of the various practical components via Steeplechase – 40%

Formative assessment and feedback

Verbal feedback in practical sessions

Formative practical report

First peer assessment of contributions to dissections will be formative as well 

Module aims

  • In this module, students will acquire an understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the haemopoietic and neurological systems. Building upon their experience of safe handling and restraint of domestic animals in the first module, students will conduct basic clinical examinations that enable them to recognise the range of normal structure and function of the neurological system. They will be able to understand how the haemopoietic and neurological systems may impact on behaviour.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Describe the normal development, structure and function of the haemopoietic and nervous systems of veterinary species RCVS KU 1, KU 3 KCT
002 Apply functional and structural knowledge of the haemopoietic and neurological systems to basic clinical examination of veterinary species RCVS 17, 18 KCPT
003 Assess animal behaviour, considering the effects of pain and/or dysfunction of the haemopoietic and neurological systems RCVS KU 1, RCVS KU3 KCPT
004 Assess animal welfare issues relating to neurological disorders KCPT
005 The role of nutrition in the structure and function of the nervous system KT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Enhance the students technical skills using dissection practicals

Enhance the students technical skills by microscopy practicals

Initiate the students physical examination skills by introducing Clinical Examination practicals

The learning and teaching methods include:

Lectures, flipped classroom, small group discussions

Practicals involving dissection, microscopy, review of radiographic and ultrasound images, clinical examination of various species



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
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: VMS1006

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Veterinary Medicine and Science BVMSci (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

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 2019/0 academic year.