First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine
Course unit
AVP7077540, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2018/19

Information on the course unit
Degree course First cycle degree in
AV2378, Degree course structure A.Y. 2017/18, A.Y. 2019/20
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Degree course track Common track
Number of ECTS credits allocated 8.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination COMPARATIVE ANIMAL PHYSIOLOGY
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Comparative Biomedicine and Food Science
E-Learning website
Mandatory attendance
Language of instruction English
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge GIANFRANCO GABAI VET/02

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses VET/02 Veterinary Physiology 8.0

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

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Practice 1.0 8 17.0 No turn
Lecture 7.0 56 119.0 No turn

Start of activities 30/09/2019
End of activities 18/01/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2017 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
2  Commissione a.a. 2019/20 01/12/2019 30/11/2020 GABAI GIANFRANCO (Presidente)
MONGILLO PAOLO (Membro Effettivo)
1 Commissione a.a. 2018/19 01/12/2018 30/11/2019 MONGILLO PAOLO (Presidente)
HU MARIAN YONG AN (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: Students are required to have basic knowledge in physics and biochemistry, and a deep knowledge of the anatomy of the different vertebrate classes (mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians), with emphasis on relevant species (mouse, rat, dog, zebrafish, and birds). To take the examination in Comparative Animal Physiology, it is mandatory to pass the examination in Comparative Animal Anatomy.
Target skills and knowledge: Students will:
a. Learn basic physiology of digestive, circulatory, respiratory, renal, endocrine, reproductive systems in the different vertebrate classes (mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians), with emphasis on relevant species (zebrafish, birds, mouse, rat and dog).
b. Understand the main mechanisms of regulation of oxygen and nutrient distribution, water and electrolyte balance, acid/base balance and body temperature.
c. Recognise and identify a normal or desirable physiological status.
d. Recognise that changes to or disruption of circadian rhythms or photoperiod can effect animal physiology.
e. Acquire theoretical tools to understand the physiological animals’ adaptation to environmental changes and stressors.
f. Understand the physiological consequences of restraint, transport, acclimatization, husbandry conditions and experimental procedures on the species concerned (zebrafish, birds, mouse, rat and dog).
g. Understand the importance of good welfare to generate good scientific results.
Examination methods: Evaluation of the Laboratory and Seminar Report (20%)
Written examination consisting of 3 open questions (80%)
Assessment criteria: The examination will be based on a problem-solving approach and the evaluation will consider the following criteria:
1) Degree of knowledge of the topic;
2) Clarity of the narrative and ability of synthesizing;
3) The capability to understand the implications in term of adaptation to the environment.
Course unit contents: LECTURES:
Body fluids. Transport of solutes and water across an epithelium.
Comparative physiology of digestion and absorption: digestive system.
The principles of chemical communication, hormones and pheromones.
The endocrine regulation of growth, intermediate and calcium metabolism.
Regulation of body temperature and adaptation to environmental temperature.
Comparative physiology of oxygen and carbon dioxide transportation: the blood and circulatory physiology.
Comparative physiology of oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange: respiratory physiology.
Comparative physiology of the regulation of the water/electrolyte balance: excretory physiology.
The regulation of the acid-base balance.
Biological clocks.
Adaptation Physiological responses to stressors.
Reproductive strategies in female and male vertebrates: puberty, gamete development, reproductive cycles, seasonality.

Each topic will consider the differences between the vertebrate classes (mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians), and a special focus will be given to relevant species: zebrafish, birds (fowl), mouse, rat and dog.

Virtual lab 1: the Langendorff’s heart
Virtual lab 2: the rat aorta and stomach
Blood smear evaluation in different species of vertebrates
The endocrinologic evaluation of stress

- Develop a reproductive profile of a selected animal species.
- Good welfare and good science: discuss if and how failure to attend to biological needs affect the experimental outcome.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: The course includes
- 50 hours of lectures
- 10 hours of lab sessions and group discussion of the lab sessions
- 4 hours of student seminars
Additional notes about suggested reading: The adopted textbook thoroughly covers most of the topics.
Additional materials will be delivered to the students during the course.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • R.W. Hill, G.A. Wyse, M. Anderson, Animal Physiology, 3rd edition. Sunderland, USA: Sinauer Assoicates Inc., 2012. Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Laboratory
  • Problem based learning
  • Working in group
  • Virtual lab (SimHeart & SimVessel)

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)
  • Virtual lab (SimHeart & SimVessel)

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Good Health and Well-Being Quality Education