Module code: VMSM002

Module Overview

This module involves the theoretical study of companion animal clinical practice with specific reference to identification of clinical problems, establishment of a list of appropriate differential diagnoses, the logical selection of appropriate laboratory tests and diagnostic procedures (including diagnostic imaging), logical interpretation of results and the formulation of an appropriate treatment (medical and/or surgical) and/or management plan (including nutrition) for the individual small animal patient.

Module provider

School of Veterinary Medicine

Module Leader

FINNEGAN Catherine (Vet Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 104

Seminar Hours: 5

Guided Learning: 10

Captured Content: 31

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

This module will cover:

The knowledge skills and attribute to support companion animal practice in the UK. Topics will include maintenance of health, diagnostics, therapeutics, nutrition, anesthesia, surgery and disease management. Species included will cover dogs, cats, rabbits and small mammals.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination Online Companion animal SBA examination (90 mins) 50
Examination Online Companion animal SAQ examination (90 mins) 50

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

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

  • Problem solving skills

  • Ability to assimilate and interpret diagnostic findings

  • Clinical reasoning and case-management skills at an individual/population level.

  • Knowledge of animal health management protocols.

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

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Companion Animal Single Best Answer Examination

  • Companion Animal Short Answer Question Examination

Formative assessment

Throughout the module, students will be provided with formative MCQ’s or similar related to their weekly learning topics.



  • Examples of feedback may include, but are not limited to:

  • Discussion of responses to questions during engagement sessions.

  • Discussion forums via SurreyLearn and other platforms.

  • Formative assessments written feedback.

  • Group feedback on self-directed case-based learning.

This assessment pattern has been chosen as it follows that of the RCVS statutory membership examination.

Module aims

  • Apply existing knowledge to clinical companion animal practice across the different stages of the animal's life.
  • Develop a rational, problem solving approach to the common disease presentations in companion animal practice at an individual and/or colony level.
  • Develop the ability to interpret diagnostic results and formulate an appropriate treatment and/or management plan for medical and surgical cases.
  • Prepare international students for employment as veterinary surgeons in small animal practice in the UK and provide skills required for the RCVS statutory membership examination.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Understand how to restrain and perform a comprehensive clinical examination including history-taking and physical examination and identify the key clinical problems and the body systems involved. KCPT
002 Demonstrate a rational, evidence-based, problem-solving approach to the common presentations in companion animal practice. KC
003 Perform clinical reasoning, involving structuring an appropriate differential diagnoses list and recommending appropriate further investigations. KC
004 Understand how to take appropriate samples and request appropriate tests. KP
005 Interpret and appraise laboratory reports and clinical data as part of management of a clinical case. KCT
006 Formulate appropriate treatment, patient care, control, and prevention plans including euthanasia. KC
007 Understand how to safely and appropriately sedate, anaesthetise and recover an animal from sedation or anaesthesia. KCT
008 Understand how to prepare for and perform simple surgical procedures. KP
009 Understand how to critically review and evaluate evidence, in support of practicing evidence based veterinary medicine. KCT
010 Understand the importance of sustainability in veterinary practice. CT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

Teaching will be delivered online and will include pre-recorded lectures which include elements of flipped classroom, self-directed e-learning, case-based sessions, and live engagement sessions which will be recorded.

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: VMSM002

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.
Sustainability: Sustainable veterinary practice, considering the requirements for the safe handling, storage and disposal of veterinary medicines and clinical waste and the need for pharmacovigilance and responsible anaesthetic and antimicrobial use.

Global and cultural capabilities: Teaching clinical practice and clinical reasoning involving evidence based medicine, acknowledging a diverse client community and ethical principles in animal welfare and make clinical decisions with effective engagement with clients from different backgrounds.

Resourcefulness and resilience: The importance of being adaptable and resilient in the profession, comfortable with making clinical decisions based on diagnostic tests and lab results and then making contextualized clinical plans for the individual patient.

Digital Capabilities: Throughout the module, students are required to utilise digital technology, including accessing the library databases for literature evaluation, use of referencing software and utlising online learning materials. .

Employability: This module fosters the development of a range of attributes which are integral to the RCVS Day One competences including communication, legislation, ethics, patient safety, and veterinary professionalism to prepare students for a professional workplace.

Students are able to develop critical thinking, cultural awareness, communication skills, decision-making, collaboration and leadership. The teaching and assessment strategy require students to demonstrate reflective skills, use of digital tools and application of knowledge acquired across the topics within the context of work in the veterinary industry.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Veterinary General Practice PGCert 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.