Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

This course will utilize engaged-learning in small groups to introduce key foundations in anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, and in related diagnostic and therapeutic medical sciences (for example radiology, pharmacology) to create the solid base of knowledge and skill that will enable students to excel in subsequent organ-system block courses. Key to this will be training in the engaged learning methods used throughout the UA CVM curriculum.

The Professional Skills coursework (VETM 802A, 802B, 802C, and 802D) represents four consecutive semesters of interactive learning designed to introduce students to key occupational attributes that are required for success in clinical practice. Emphasis will be placed on interpersonal skills, including professional behavior, ethics, and how to communicate effectively with all members of the veterinary team (employers, colleagues, support staff, and veterinary clients). Instructional sessions on clinic conversations will introduce Calgary-Cambridge communication skills and allow students multiple opportunities to practice these skills in simulated encounters with standardized clients. Simulated encounters will include every day clinic dialogues, such as comprehensive and focused history-taking, estimate sharing, explanation of physical exam findings, and review of the diagnostic and/or treatment plans. As students develop proficiency in foundational communication skills, their encounters with standardized clients will advance in difficulty to include such difficult conversations as financial constraints, disease progression, euthanasia, and anticipatory grief. In addition to oral communication skills, students will practice the art of written communication by learning how to construct concise medical records (SOAP notes) that hold up in courts of law. Other key professional skills that will be explored in depth include sessions on financial acuity and student debt, practice management, contract negotiation, work-life balance, mental health and well-being. 

The Clinical Skills coursework (VETM 803A, 803B, 803C, and 803D) represents four consecutive semesters of primarily experiential learning designed to create and build upon a foundation of core knowledge and techniques that are essential to the practice of veterinary medicine.  Students will gain proficiency in safety of handling and restraint and will make use of their understanding of animal behavior and welfare to observe, approach, and examine canine, feline, bovine, and equine patients. Live animals will augment the use of non-animal teaching tools and simulators to practice minimally invasive techniques that facilitate diagnosis. This hands-on approach to learning will be fully integrated with the systems-based curriculum so that, for instance, when students are mapping the structure and function of the heart in anatomy and physiology, they will be practicing how to auscult the heart and palpate femoral pulses in the Clinical Skills laboratory. Key skills that will be emphasized include, but are not limited to, physical examination, diagnostic sample collection (i.e. blood, urine, feces, and tissue), clinical pathology (complete blood counts, chemistry profiles, urine and fecal analysis), intravenous catheterization and fluid therapy, surgical instrument and tissue handling, aseptic technique and sterile prep, suturing, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Skills will be taught using a layered approach, such that the complexity of the skills that are introduced and ultimately assessed build upon one another and advance in difficulty throughout the curriculum. Students who complete this series of courses will be well prepared for VETM 818 Advanced Professional and Clinical Skills, which culminates in Sophomore Surgery.

The Clinical Logic in Doctoring coursework (VETM 804A, 804B, 804C, and 804D) represents four consecutive semesters and will utilize small-group engaged learning sessions that are integrated with the coincident systems block.   The course focuses primarily on developing problem solving and critical thinking skills.   Each week students are presented with a clinical case to study, discuss, and “solve.” The cases will be developed from clinical cases seen by veterinarians in the affiliate clinical practices and from clinical case banks such as the ThinkSpace cases developed at Iowa State University. While refining medical knowledge is a component, its emphasis is the process of critical thinking and problem solving. The sequence of systems blocks is designed to progressively increase case complexity to prepare students for understanding multisystemic diseases and multi-sectorial approaches.

The One Health in One World coursework series runs over several consecutive semesters through the academic year. It will focus on public health issues at the local, national, and international level with emphasis on the role of the veterinarian. The one-health context of veterinary medicine in interconnected ecosystems will be a recurrent course theme. In the first semester of the course, students will develop a conceptual framework for One Health and come to understand the veterinarian’s various roles within this framework. Students will begin to integrate their knowledge of the One Health concept to solve real world problems in various contexts including zoonotic diseases, antimicrobial resistance, food security and ecosystem health. Students will also develop critical thinking skills in terms of evaluation and application of research relevant to One Health.

Utilizing engaged learning techniques, students will learn about the defense mechanisms of the immune system and skin barrier that protect an individual from infection, trauma and other insults.  In addition to normal structure and function, pathological processes of the hematopoetic system and skin and the resulting disease presentations will be emphasized.  Students will explore and acquire the critical thought processes needed to select and interpret relevant diagnostic tests and determine appropriate treatment plans for diseases involving these organ systems.

Collaborative learning instruction will provide a basic comparative understanding of the musculoskeletal system, designed to help students approach the maintenance of musculoskeletal health and diagnose disease. The course reviews the location, identification, and function of bones, muscles, peripheral nerves, and vessels of the body. The structure and physiology of the basic tissues of the musculoskeletal system (cartilage, bone, joint, and muscle) are reviewed. Common diseases, their underlying pathologic mechanisms, current diagnostic techniques, and therapeutic plans for the primary domestic species will be included.

Students will engage in comparative examination and exploration of the cardiovascular, pulmonary, and renal systems, and the roles that these closely related systems play in maintaining homeostasis and animal wellness. The course will integrate how differences in the anatomy and physiologic needs of the species affect the function of these systems. Collaborative online learning using a combination of peer instruction and team-based learning activities, in-person gross anatomy labs as well as clinical simulation labs will be used to promote competency in identifying and diagnosing cardiovascular, respiratory, and renal system disorders. Students will explore and acquire the critical thought processes needed to select, perform (when applicable) and interpret relevant diagnostic tests, as well as determine appropriate broad treatment targets (pharmacology) and approaches for diseases involving these organ systems.

Foundational knowledge of the gastrointestinal tract and the three main accessory organs (Pancreas, Liver, and Gallbladder) will be deepened and expanded in this course from a clinical perspective. This course will include collaborative learning and instruction to enable students to synthesize signalment, history, and physical exam into a differential list from most to least likely for a patient/flock/herd with gastrointestinal signs. Students will outline and implement an iterative diagnostic plan prioritizing high yield tests over lower yield tests, understanding the rationale, risks and benefits, results and information gleaned from each test. Students will begin to formulate and implement a treatment plan that may include medical, pharmacological, nutritional, and surgical interventions based on the owner’s budgetary restrictions (understanding the role of the primary & referral veterinarians), and adjust these plans based on the patients’ response and disease progression, financial and emotional limitations of the owner, as well as additional information that may result from more advanced testing. Rare facts or processes not used in a daily clinical setting are not emphasized. Instead, the course aims to give students a process by which to approach clinical signs of illness in the GI tract and accessory organs. The knowledge will provide a solid basis for future multi-systemic, internal medicine and surgery courses, as well as electives in the student’s area of interest.

Foundational knowledge of the endocrinological anatomy and physiology and clinical applications of endocrinology in equine, bovine, ovine, ovine, caprine, porcine, feline, and canine species. Additionally, reproductive anatomy, physiology and clinical applications reproduction of equine, bovine, ovine, caprine, porcine, feline, and canine species. This course will include collaborative learning and instruction to enable students to synthesize signalment, history, and physical exam into a differential list from most to least likely for a patient/flock/herd with reproductive clinical signs as well as breeding management of these species. Students will outline and implement an iterative diagnostic plan prioritizing high yield tests over lower yield tests, understanding the rationale, risks and benefits, results and information gleaned from each test. Students will begin to formulate and implement a treatment plan that may include medical, pharmacological, nutritional, and surgical interventions based on the owner’s budgetary restrictions (understanding the role of the primary & referral veterinarians), and adjust these plans based on the patients’ response and disease progression, financial and emotional limitations of the owner, as well as additional information that may result from more advanced testing. Rare facts or processes not used in a daily clinical setting are not emphasized. Instead, the course aims to give students a process by which to approach clinical signs of illness in the endocrine system, reproductive system and accessory organs. The knowledge will provide a solid basis for future multi-systemic, internal medicine and surgery courses, as well as electives in the student’s area of interest.

Collaborative learning instruction will provide an overview of general principles in neuroscience, neuropathology, neurology, neuropharmacology and animal behavior. Students will be introduced to the structure and function of the nervous system while integrating related histology, comparative pathology of common diseases, pharmacology, clinical applications of diagnostic procedures including imaging in neurology, and medical and surgical treatments. In addition, the basis of common behavioral issues and their prevention, diagnosis and treatment will be addressed.

Collaborative learning instruction to provide a multisystemic consideration of the disease state that focuses on the many diseases that impact multiple organ systems.  In doing so, this course will “zoom out” from the focus that was originally on single organ systems, to the essential clinical understanding of how multiple organ systems work together in health, and become disrupted as multiple organ systems in disease.

VETM 813, focusing on small companion animals, extends and adds clinical complexity to the organ systems courses and to VETM812, by expanding the scope of emphasis to include a more holistic consideration of the patient and the patient’s disease(s).  This includes, but is not limited to, fiscal considerations, life stage considerations, nutritional considerations, therapeutic and long-term patient management considerations, and public health considerations.

VETM 816, focusing on large animals, extends and adds clinical complexity to the organ systems courses and to VETM812, by expanding the scope of emphasis to include a more holistic consideration of the patient and the patient’s disease(s).  This includes, but is not limited to, fiscal considerations, life stage considerations, nutritional considerations, therapeutic and long-term patient management considerations, and public health considerations.

These experiential courses (814A and 814B) are focused on anesthesia and surgical skills and are devoted to intensive hands-on clinical preparation for students moving to Y3.  The course emphasizes principles of anesthesia, surgery, and emergency/critical care. The course will provide each student four primary surgical and anesthesia experiences (spay and neuter) with patient follow-up.

The Advanced Professional Skills coursework (VETM 815A and VETM 815B) represents two consecutive semesters of primarily experiential learning designed to build upon foundational knowledge in clinical practice, in particular, the content areas of medicine, surgery, and client communication. Students will be primed to participate in Sophomore Surgery on live animals using non-animal teaching tools and simulators. Students will refresh their physical examination skills and medical record keeping to ensure that standard of care is met and that there is appropriate documentation of all patient care in the pre-, intra-, and post-operative periods. Students will learn how to create and tailor anesthetic plans to the individual patient; how to administer pre-medications; how to induce and intubate patients; how to monitor anesthesia; how to identify and appropriately respond to changes in a patient’s vital signs and parameters intraoperatively; and how to recover a patient from an anesthetic event. Students will learn how to perform routine and elective surgical procedures, including, but not limited to, canine/feline ovariohysterectomy and open/closed castrations. Students will learn to manage postoperative complications and how to make use of pain scales in advance of procedures to minimize the occurrence of wind-up pain. Students will also build on their oral communication skills through continued interactions with standardized clients. Standardized client encounters will advance in difficulty to include clinic conversations surrounding unexpected death, treatment complications and medical errors. Students will learn how to effectively communicate with clients and team members when faced with emotionally charged cases and/or unsatisfactory patient outcomes. Students will also learn how to navigate interpersonal conflict, in particular, when team members outwardly disagree about how to move forward on a given case.

Five 3 week miniblocks dedicated to specific focused education and training, including  canine practice , feline practice , equine practice , avian/exotic practice, beef cattle practice, dairy cattle practice, small ruminant practice, swine practice, poultry practice, public health, laboratory animal practice, zoo/wildlife practice, and research.   The content will provide a more in-depth view of topics highlighting the unique aspects of veterinary medicine within the area of emphasis.  This course allows students to begin emphasis toward more specific veterinary medical career foci.