First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Course unit
MVM0013034, A.A. 2013/14

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2012/13

Information on the course unit
Degree course 5 years single cycle degree in
MV0991, Degree course structure A.Y. 2011/12, A.Y. 2013/14
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 5.0
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Animal Medicine, Production and Health
Mandatory attendance
Language of instruction Italian

Teacher in charge GIANFRANCO GABAI VET/02

Integrated course for this unit
Course unit code Course unit name Teacher in charge

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Basic courses VET/02 Veterinary Physiology 5.0

Course unit organization
Period Second semester
Year 2nd Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Practice 1.0 10 15.0 No turn
Lecture 4.0 40 60.0 No turn

Start of activities 03/03/2014
End of activities 14/06/2014
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2017 course timetable

Examination board
Examination board not defined


Common characteristics of the Integrated Course unit

Prerequisites: Students must know the basic notions of the physic of fluids, the gas laws and electrophysisc. Moreover, they must know the basis of inorganic chemistry, in particular those concerning the equilibrium reactions and acid/base balance. It is necessary a deep knowledge of the organic compounds involved in the animal metabolism, the metabolic pathways and cellular physiology. Finally, they must know the macroscopic and microscopic anatomy of the animal body systems. To take the examination, students mast pass the examination of Veterinary physiology and ethology 1.
Target skills and knowledge: The students will learn about the fundamental principles of circulatory, respiratory and renal physiology, the regulatory and integrative mechanisms, with particular attention to the comparative aspects. They will learn about the endocrine mechanisms regulating growth, the metabolism, the reproductive functions, lactation and the regulation of body temperature in the domestic animals. They will learn about the behavioural patterns and reactions to the environment in animals of veterinary interest, in order to understand and evaluate their welfare and quality of life.
Finally, the students should be able to apply the knowledge acquired to interpret the phenomena of adaptation to the environmental and husbandry situations, and simple alteration of the organic functions.

They are expected to learn deeply the digestive function and the control of intermediate metabolism. Finally, the students should be able the knowledge to explain simple phenomena of animal adaptation to the husbandry environment.
Examination methods: Students will be evaluated by an oral examination at the end of the course. Partial evaluations during the year are not scheduled.
Assessment criteria: The examination will consist in the discussion of the results acheived during the practical work and in some questions related to the program of both modules. The oral examination will take into consideration the following criteria:
1) The precision of information;
2) The comprehension of the integration between the physiological systems;
3) The ability to explain from the physiological point of view simple phenomena of animal adaptation to environmental and husbandry situations, and some alterations of the organic functions;
4) The ability to communicate with the appropriate terminology;
5) The ability to organise the speech.

Specific characteristics of the Module

Course unit contents: Introduction to endocrinology. Hormones and growth factors. Chemical nature and target relationships. Mechanisms of action. Principles of hormonal assay (RIA and EIA).
Growth and metabolism. Somatotropic axis. The thyroid hormones. The pancreas hormones. The adrenal hormones. The calcium regulating hormones.
Physiology of reproduction. The hypothalamus-pituitary-gonad axis.
Male reproductive physiology. Androgens, Spermatogenesis and spermiogenesis, erection and ejaculation.
Female reproductive physiology. Reproductive cycles. Puberty, seasonality. Estrous cycle (phases, follicular waves, hormone profiles). Ovulation. Corpus luteum development and life. Anestrus.
Gamete transportation and fertilization. Sperm transportation. Fertilization. Maternal recognition of pregnancy.
Pregnancy, parturition and puerpuerium. Stages of pregnancy and functional adaptations. Placental Hormones (eCG, PL, PAGs, oestrogens and progesterone). Triggering of parturition. Placenta expulsion. Uterine involution. Pregnancy diagnosis by means of hormonal assaies.
Physiology of lactation. Mammogenesis, lactogenesis and galactopoiesis. Lactation curves and functional adaptation. Colostrum and milk composition. Biologically active components.
Veterinary ethology. Analysis of social, aggressive, reproductive and maternal behavioural patterns in equine, bovine, sheep, goat, pig, rabbit and rodents).
Animal Welfare. Stress physiology and ethology. Approach to animal welfare assessment.
Regulation of body temperature. Thermal exchange mechanisms, adaptation to cold environment, adaptation to hot environment. Fever.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: The module consists of theretical lessons, seminars and practical training.
During the theoretical lessons the main aspects of each topic are explained. Information contained in the slides displayed during the lessons cannot be considered as alternative to that contained in the textbook.
At the beginning of the course, students will be provided with a lessons' calendar.
The practical training has the objective to render the students familiar with some aspects of applied physiology, such as:

- Oestrus detection and timing of insemination,
- Oestrus synchronization,
- Characterization of behavioural units in veterinary species.

Before any practical, students will be provided with a lab report template with detailed instructions, indications about data recording and a questionnaire to relate the observations made during the practicals with the topics encountered during the theoretical lessons. The collections of these lab reports will be presented and discussed at the final examination.

Class attendance:
- Theoretical training (lectures and seminars): mandatory attendance: 50%
- Practical training: mandatory attendance: 90%
Additional notes about suggested reading: The course topics are deeply dealt with in the suggested textbook. However, some information related to the reproductive physiology should be integrated and the attendance of the theoretical lessons is strongly suggested.

Consulting hours: appointments with the teacher can be taken by e-mail at any time.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Sjaastad O.V., Sand O., Hove K., Physiology of domestic animals. 2nd edition.. Oslo, N: Scandinavian Veterinary Press, 2010. Testo di riferimento Cerca nel catalogo
  • Sjaastad O.V., Sand O., Hove K., Fisiologia degli animali domestici - Edizione italiana a cura di C. Tamanini. Milano: Casa Editrice Ambrosiana, 2013. Versione italiana del testo di riferimento
  • Jensen P., The Ethology of Domestic Animals. An Introductory Text, 2nd edition. Oxford, UK: CABI Publishing, 2009. Testo di riferimento per gli argomenti di Etologia veterinaria Cerca nel catalogo
  • Senger P.L., Pathways to pregnancy and parturition, 2nd revised edition. Pullman, WA, USA: Current conceptions Inc., 2005. Testo per l'approfondimento degli argomenti di fisiologia della riproduzione Cerca nel catalogo