Module code: VMS2009

Module Overview

This module introduces the students to general mechanisms of pathology including gross and microscopic changes associated with infectious and non-infectious causes in various species. This will be presented in context with clinical correlates and One Health. Moreover, the students are introduced to the general principles of infectious disease and its pathology as well as the immune system and the host response to pathogen infection. The cellular and tissue changes induced by infection with viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi and prions will be introduced to the students. These topics will be presented in the context of One Health and underpinned with clinical case examples introducing clinical pathology results from the various veterinary species.

Module provider

School of Veterinary Medicine

Module Leader

CATLOW Georgina (Vet Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 48

Lecture Hours: 40

Practical/Performance Hours: 9

Guided Learning: 10

Captured Content: 43

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

This module is designed to be an introduction to Pathology and Infectious diseases. Indicative content includes:


  • Introduction to pathology and its position at the core of understanding clinical medicine and the commonality of processes across species.

  • History of the discipline.

  • Classification of disease processes – infectious and non-infectious cell adaptions to stress and injury, cell degeneration, death and repair.

  • Pathological cell and tissue accumulations.

  • Inflammation: acute and chronic, chemical mediators, inflammatory cells, tissue responses to inflammation and wound healing.

  • Immunopathology – immunodeficiency, hypersensitivity, immune mediated and autoimmune disorders.

  • Developmental and genetic pathology Neoplasia.

  • Mechanisms of malignant transformation.

  • Categorisation of neoplasms.

  • Invasion and metastasis. Grading and staging.

  • Paraneoplastic syndromes.

  • Haemodynamic and circulatory disorders – hyperaemia, congestion, haemorrhages, oedema, thrombosis, embolism, ischaemia, infarction and shock.

  • Infectious disease – overview of categories of infectious causes and their mechanisms of disease.

  • Environmental and nutritional pathology – toxicosis, radiation, thermal, electrical, vitamin and minerals, obesity etc.

  • Basic post mortem technique and gross pathology description and terminology.


  • General introduction.

  • The epidemiological triad of infection.

  •  Invasion and infection.

  • Major bacterial groups and phenotypical differences.

  • Bacteria and the alimentary system – commensals versus pathogens.

  • Bacterial genetics and virulence factors.

  • Bacterial pathogenesis: colonisation and tissue invasion.

  • Antimicrobial resistance.

  • Unique structures of infectious pathogens – Bacterial LPS, Peptidoglycans, bacterial DNA.


  • General Introduction.

  • Taxonomy and genetics.

  • Replication and pathogenesis.

  • Transmission and control.


  • Taxonomy, life cycles and management of the environment of Nematodes, Cestodes, Trematodes, Protozoa, Ectoparasites.

  • Invasion to where and by what route?

  • Extracellular and Intracellular pathogens.


  • Cells and tissues of the immune and haematopoetic system.

  • Innate Immunity- recognising invaders (PAMPs/ DAMPs and pattern-recognition receptors).

  • Innate Immunity – key cells, phagocytosis and the complement system.

  • Immunological cell signals: Cytokines and their receptors.

  • Antigens and MHC complex.

  • Adaptive immune response: T-cells and antigen recognition (TCR) Antigen presenting cells – bridging the innate and adaptive immune response. T-cell subsets and function and the difference in animal species.

  • Antibody structure and function B-cells – antigen recognition and antibody production.

  • The orchestra of T-cell and B-cell activation.

  • Regulation of adaptive Immune responses.

  • Immune responses to bacteria, fungi, helminths and viruses.

  • Vaccination principals.



  • Perform a post mortem examination.

  • Basic cytological examination.

Infectious Disease (Collecting appropriate samples to detect infectious pathogens):

  • Bacterial culture and identification –gram stains, various light microscopy techniques, dark field.

  • Virus outbreak scenario – PPE training, preparation and analysis of viral diagnostic techniques.

  • Identifying ectoparasites –gross specimen demonstration and life cycle charts.

  • Identifying endoparasites – gross specimen demonstration and life cycle charts.

  • Identification and quantification of parasites through faecal examination.

  • Anti-microbial resistance and LAMP Immunoassays and ELISAs

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination PC Lab (Closed Book) MCQ and SAQ Exam Fixed Start Time (2 Hours) 100

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

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

  • content knowledge of general pathology and disease mechanisms.

  Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • one content knowledge examination worth 100% of the marks for this module. The examination will consist of MCQs and SAQs, some of which will include images. This is a compulsory module (students are required to achieve a 50% pass mark overall to pass the module)

(Exam Units are onsite closed-booked invigilated fixed-time assessments. They are delivered through SurreyLearn using campus PC Labs)

Formative assessment

  • A formative exam will be offered through SurreyLearn in October as a mock exam prior to the summative examinations. This test is intended for practice only and will not count towards the final grade. Unlimited attempts will be allowed, and the test will remain available for students to access.

  • Online Quizzes on SurreyLearn. Intended to aid students in assessing their comprehension of the self-learning content.


  • Online Quizzes in Lectures. Intended as a revision aid for summative written examination, covering a broad range of topics. The quizzes can be conducted using Poll Everywhere, Kahoot or similar.

  • In-lecture feedback. Aimed as a revision aid for summative examination; Feedback will be verbal and conducted immediately after each online quiz.

  • In-practical feedback. Demonstrators and academics running practicals will provide immediate feedback to students during practical classes.

  • Individual discussions: You will have an opportunity during practical classes to engage with demonstrators. Students are encouraged to ask questions at the end of each lecture, or engagement session.

  • SurreyLearn discussion. After each lecture students can submit questions in person or anonymously to peers and lecturers. The aim of the discussion board is to provide equal feedback to whole class and provide opportunities to engage with peers.

Module aims

  • Introduce the fundamental principles of pathology and how these disease mechanisms manifest clinically through examples of gross and microscopic lesions.
  • Enable the students to recognise, describe and record pathological changes and write meaningful descriptions using appropriate terminology
  • Introduces the terminology of infectious disease, the broad categories of infectious agents, systemic pathology based on aetiopathogenesis, and gross and microscopic appearance of lesions induced by pathogens and the host response.
  • Increase the students¿ ability to describe pathological findings and write meaningful reports using the appropriate methods and terminology

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Describe the basic mechanisms of disease and apply acquired foundation knowledge. KCT RCVS 24
002 Describe and apply knowledge of the causes, development, and consequences of disease (including infectious disease), and the immune system's role in mediating or exacerbating disease by utilising knowledge of the following pathogenic mechanisms: injury, adaptation, inflammation, repair, disorders of growth (including neoplasia), and their physiologic correlates. KCT RCVS 24
003 Perform a necropsy and describe how to identify common incidental findings during a necropsy and be able to recognise them in images or other media; and how to recognise abnormal gross findings (lesions) on tissues, images or other media. KCPT RCVS 36, 45
004 Describe basic gross, microscopic and cytological lesions using appropriate veterinary medical terminology. KPT RCVS 17, 20
005 Describe relevant sampling methods appropriate to detecting infectious agents and have an opportunity to perform a range of these methods. KCPT RCVS 31
006 Describe the commonality of the disease process (including infectious disease) across species including concepts of One Health, One Medicine, antimicrobial resistance, and microbial diversity. KCPT RCVS 23, 39, 44
007 Describe the basic differences between parasitic, fungal, bacterial, and viral pathogens including replication/life cycles, impact on host and global impact as appropriate. KCPT RCVS 23, 38

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:

• Provide pathology to the students in the context of One health, One medicine

• Provide infectious diseases to the students in the context of One health, One medicine

• Allow students to develop skills in performing a systematic post mortem examination and identify lesions induced by infectious agents.

• Provide students with the skills to write a meaningful post mortem report and record their findings with appropriate terminology and supporting images.

• Provide students with the skills to describe and record their findings with appropriate images.

• Allow students to understand the cellular and tissue changes related to gross pathology findings.

The learning and teaching methods include:  Lectures, flipped classroom, small group sessions, practical classes using microscopy and anatomic pathologic specimens, online discussion forum.

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: VMS2009

Other information

The Surrey Framework consist of the attributes: employability, global and cultural capabilities, digital capabilities, sustainability and resourcefulness and resilience. This module includes the following key topics which further develop one or more of the attributes as indicated.

  • Employability: Practical session including post-mortem examinations and infectious diseases identification and detection, providing students with skills required for Veterinary profession.
  • Global and cultural capability: A diverse teaching team provides the students with personal experience and teaching of both endemic and exotic diseases.
  • Digital capabilities: Use of flipped classrooms to consolidate complex topics, PollEv and Jamboard etc to enhance the student’s learning experience.
  • Sustainability and resourcefulness: Engagement sessions provide a student-centred learning experience. Practicals provide a scaffold (eg worksheet) to facilitate the students to explore the content.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Veterinary Medicine and Science BVMSci (Hons) 1 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 2025/6 academic year.