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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies : BVMS

Undergraduate Course: Clinical Foundation Course (Yr 3) (BVMS09013)

Course Outline
SchoolRoyal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 9 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits40 ECTS Credits20
SummaryThis course will provide instruction in the practical and theoretical aspects of several topics that are considered core subjects with regard to diagnosis and treatment of veterinary species. The subject areas included are; Applied Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Diagnostic Imaging, Surgery, Anaesthesia and Critical Care, Introduction to Clinical Oncology and Evidence Based Veterinary Medicine. This course provides a foundation for the subsequent species based integrated clinical modules.
Course description Introduction to Pharmacology and Therapeutics


The teaching of Veterinary Pharmacology begins in third year and will be further reinforced during the fourth and final year, exemplifying the importance of this subject.

The pharmacology component of third year is broadly divided into a number of areas. Basic or ¿core¿ pharmacology, therapeutics and legislation is covered in Semester I in the clinical foundation course. Systems based pharmacology is covered in Semester II as part of the dog and cat course. The course is complemented by lectures from other subject areas such as physiology, microbiology, parasitology, pathology and by the clinical lectures in Semester II.


To provide the students with information and understanding of the pharmacology of drugs, enabling them to use drugs in animals, in an appropriate and responsible manner. NOTE: The term pharmacology will be taken to include the pharmacokinetics, mechanism of action, adverse or side effects, toxicity and clinical relevance of a group of drugs or an individual agent.

To discuss the main legislation affecting the use of drugs in veterinary species and to discuss some of the ethical, public health and societal issues associated with the use of drugs in veterinary practice.

Diagnostic Imaging

Module Objectives/Aims:

This module provides an overview of the principles and modalities of diagnostic imaging and their main applications for clinical canine, feline and equine patients.


Module Objectives/Aims:

This part of the Clinical Foundation Course provides a rationale for, and an understanding of basic general aseptic surgical principles, concepts, terminology and methodology. Students will gain fundamental knowledge for evaluating and treating a variety of soft tissue and orthopaedic cases.



The principles and practice of veterinary anaesthesia are taught in parallel with a series of seminars in which anaesthetic problems in the individual species are discussed. Anaesthesia teaching continues in the second semester of third year with a series of lectures which concentrate on the effects of disease processes and specific situations on anaesthesia. In fourth year, this is continued with a series of interactive seminars, where specific clinical situations may be examined in more detail. Thus, the challenges with anaesthesia in a considerable range of clinical situations are covered, and provide the basis for practical teaching in the final year.


The aims of our anaesthesia teaching throughout years 3 to 5 of the degree programme are listed below:
To provide information on the physiological and pharmacological principles of anaesthesia with practical attention to the particular problems associated with horses, food, companion and laboratory animals.
To discuss the implications of commonly encountered conditions, e.g. extremes of age, pregnancy, surgical procedures and diseases on the management of anaesthesia so that students develop the ability to identify 'high-risk' cases and create defensible anaesthetic protocols.
To allow development of fundamental technical skills, e.g. intravenous catheter placement, endotracheal intubation, anaesthetic machine operation, positive pressure ventilation.
To develop familiarity with anaesthetic equipment including machines, anaesthetic breathing systems and monitoring apparatus. To be able to prepare and identify problems with such equipment and to use it safely in a clinical setting.
To develop skills at clinical and physiological monitoring. To recognise deviations from acceptable ranges and to respond appropriately.

Clinical Oncology


Small animal oncology is taught in two stages. As part of the clinical foundation course we teach the basic approach to cancer patients and an introduction to therapeutic modalities. In the Dog and Cat course we go into more detail with specific tumour types as they affect individual body systems. Cancer is one of the most common diseases affecting both dogs and cats and a sound understanding of this disease and available therapeutic options is essential.

Aims and Objectives:

To understand the basic biology of cancer as it relates to the clinical manifestations of disease.
To appreciate the general approach to the cancer patient and the principles of diagnosis
To understand staging and grading of tumours and how this influences decision making in oncology therapeutics
To appreciate the different treatment modalities and the underlying principles of each, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy

Evidence Based Veterinary Medicine


The evidence based veterinary medicine part of the course builds on the evidence based medicine material in Second Year/GEP Year. The theme is understanding animal disease in populations and applying this knowledge to critically evaluating published evidence.

Course Objectives and Aims

Extend material covered in Year Two to give students:

A clear understanding of the principles behind the scientific approach applied to epidemiological and clinical questions.
The basic tools to undertake and interpret animal-disease surveys.
The knowledge to interpret observational studies and clinical trials, and to understand the impact of risk factors and therapies on disease occurrence.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students must be enrolled on a BVMS Veterinary Medicine degree programme in order to take this course.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 400 ( Lecture Hours 66, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 17, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 15.5, Online Activities 9, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 4, Summative Assessment Hours 3.5, Revision Session Hours 6, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 8, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 271 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 75 %, Coursework 15 %, Practical Exam 10 %
Additional Information (Assessment) In Course Assessment
MCQ Assessment (15%)

Examined at the end of semester 1
Written Examination
Multiple choice questions (35%)
Short answer questions (50%)

Practical Examination
Objective Structured Clinical Examination - Pass/Fail [candidates failing the OSCE will have two resit opportunities during the second semester. Two final opportunities to repeat this examination will be held in the presence of the external examiner]

Resit Examination in August
Written Examination
Multiple choice questions (50%)
Short answer questions (50%)
Feedback Feedback sessions will be held to provide feedback on the in-course assessment then again for the End of Semester 1 Examinations.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)CFC Exam2:30
Outwith Standard Exam Diets OctoberCFC MCQ ICA0:30
Resit Exam Diet (August)CFC Resit exam3:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. ¿ By the end of this course, the student should be able to outline and apply the principles of pharmacology, diagnostic imaging, surgery, anaesthesia and critical care, clinical oncology and evidence based veterinary medicine.
  2. ¿ By the end of this course the student should be able to outline and apply safety the principles and legal implications related to equipment, animals and people.
Reading List
Applied Pharmacology and Therapeutics:
For a list of recommended texts and other useful resources please go to:

Diagnostic Imaging:
Thrall D: Textbook of veterinary diagnostic radiology.
Seventh Edition, 2018; Saunders Elsevier: St. Louis, MS. printed and ebook version available. This is the most comprehensive modern diagnostic imaging textbook covering all major imaging modalities, body parts and commonly imaged species. It also includes radiographic anatomy chapters. We will base our lectures on selected chapters of this book. You will need this book also in the following years of your veterinary course.
Freely available via DiscoverEd at:

Small Animal Surgery, Fifth Edition 2018. T.W. Fossum (ed) Mosby

Anaesthesia and Critical Care:
BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Anaesthesia and Analgesia Eds Tanya Duke- Novakowski, Marieke De Vries and Chris Seymour. British Small Animal Veterinary Association; 3rd edition (16 June 2016) ISBN-10: 1905319614; ISBN-13: 978- 1905319619

Veterinary anaesthesia principles to practice by Alex Dugdale Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell; 2010. ISBN : 1118279352 ISBN : 9781118279359

Veterinary Anaesthesia by KW Clarke, CM Trim & LW Hall (2013) 11th Edition London: Elsevier; ISBN-13: 9780702027932 eBook ISBN : 9780702054235

Laboratory Animal Anaesthesia: An Introduction for Research Workers and Technicians (Hardcover) by Paul A. Flecknell. London: Academic Press; 2nd edition (4th April 1996) ISBN-10: 0122603613; ISBN-13: 978-0122603617

Manual of Equine Anesthesia and Analgesia (Paperback) by Tom Doherty (Editor), Alexander Valverde (Editor) Blackwell Publishing; 1st edition (June 2006). ISBN 10: 1405129670; ISBN 13: 978-1405129671

Clinical Oncology:
Decision Making in Small Animal Oncology by Argyle, D.J. (Blackwell-Wiley)

Small Animal Clinical Oncology, 5th edition, Withrow, Vail, Page (eds). 2013 (Elsevier)

Veterinary Epidemiology, Fourth Edition by Michael Thrusfield, Robert Christley, Helen Brown, Peter J. Diggle, Nigel French, Keith Howe, Louise Kelly, Annette O'Connor, Jan Sargeant, Hannah Wood
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMr Rob Ward
Tel: (0131 6)50 7982
Course secretaryMrs Belgin Davidson
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