First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine
Course unit
AVP7077541, 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 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
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 LIETA MARINELLI VET/02

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses VET/02 Veterinary Physiology 6.0

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

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Practice 2.0 16 34.0 No turn
Lecture 4.0 32 68.0 No turn

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

Prerequisites: Required foundation courses: none
Students are required to know:
- anatomy of muscular, nervous and sensory system of vertebrates;
- basic electrical concepts and terms (current, voltage, resistance, power, charge);
- principles of evolutionary processes and concepts of genealogical trees;
- hereditary mechanisms and concept of phenotype and heritability.
Target skills and knowledge: To develop theoretical and practical knowledge and skills enabling students to recognize pain and distress in vertebrates.

To understand the foundation basis of vertebrate behavior and learning.

Students will acquire theoretical and practical tools useful in addressing animal ethological needs and animal training.
Examination methods: The student may choose between a final written exam or three partial exams during the course.

Exams will be based on multiple choices and open questions.
Assessment criteria: The examination will cover both practical and theoretical learning objectives. Student is expected to gain experience in physiological and behavioral data analysis and to critically discuss principles presented in lecture sessions.

Evaluation criteria include degree of knowledge of acquired information, understanding of the relationship/integration between different body systems, ability to explain the mechanisms underlying common situations related to adaptation to environment, use of appropriate technical language.
Course unit contents: The course lectures cover:

An introduction to the physiology of excitable tissues and neural communication. Basic notion of muscles physiology. Functional organization of the nervous system: the central and peripheral nervous system. The components of the reflex arc. Sensory receptors: types, stimulus conversion, sensitivity, adaptation and acuity. Function of the spinal cord and the spinal reflexes. Somatosensory pathways and somatotopic maps. Pain perception: the process of pain transduction and transmission of information and pain perception in higher centers in vertebrates (mammals, birds, fishes, reptiles and amphibians). Basic principle of pain management in dog, rat, mouse, zebrafish and birds. Brain stem functions. Somatic nervous system: motoneurons and muscle tone regulation. Special senses physiology of vertebrates: vision, taste, smell, hearing and vestibular sense. Processing of sensory input in the thalamus. Principal functions of the cerebral cortex. The autonomic nervous system: the physiological effects of enhanced parasympathetic and sympathetic tone. Behavioral mechanisms, biochemical and neural systems involved in coping with stress. Neurobiology of animal emotions.
Basic notion of conceptual issues in studying animal behavior and applied ethology. Definition and recognition of normal/desirable behavior. The evolution of animal behavior and adaptation. Behavior and genetics. Principle of animal communication. Social systems and socialization processes. Processes related to animal learning and cognition with focus on how training using positive reinforcement, habituation and socialization program can increase confined animal well-being.

The course lab sessions and practical activities cover:
Pain recognition and evaluation of pain perception. Evaluation of general and special senses sensitivity and acuity. Evaluation of reflexes. Direct observation and evaluation of the autonomic nervous system activation. Levels of analysis of animal behavior. Procedure for behavioral analysis and behavioral testing. Animal training basics (habituation, classical and operant conditioning).
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: The course includes 32 hours of lectures, 16 hours of lab sessions and hands-on activities to reinforce physiological and ethological principles discussed in lecture sessions.
Lab sessions and practical activities are based on participative interaction, with group discussion and tests.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Additional learning materials, detailed learning objectives and weekly program are available on Moodle (
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • R.W. Hill, G.A. Wyse, M. Anderson, Animal Physiology. Sunderland: Sinauer Associates, Inc., --. International Fourth Edition Cerca nel catalogo
  • A. Manning, M. Stamp Dawkins, An Introduction to Animal Behavior. --: Cambridge University Press, --. SIxth Edition Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Laboratory
  • Working in group
  • Video shooting made by the teacher/the students
  • Use of online videos
  • Students peer review

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)

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