35480 - Clinical Methods in Veterinary Medicine

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Single cycle degree programme (LMCU) in Veterinary Medicine (cod. 8617)

Learning outcomes

The course is aimed to provide the student with the cultural and operative tools to perform a thorough physical examination focused to assess the health status of an animal.

After successful completion of the course, the student will be better able to:


  • know the different methods and the equipment to perform a complete and thorough  physical examination


  •  properly collect the data related to the signalament and history;
  • adequately approach an animal in order to warrant his own safety and that of the patient;
  • perform the correct manual procedures pertaining to the physical examination of an animal;
  • recognize, appreciate and collect the clinical signs;
  • correctly perform the manual procedures necessary to collect biologic samples for the necessary diagnostic investigation


  • solve the proposed problems through the exposition to clinical scenarios;
  • communicate and share with the other students and with the tutor her/his own inferences;
  • utilize complementary resources available in situ (Portale Didattico Veterinario, web-search systems  and similars) to solve the proposed problems.

Course contents

 The student, starting this course, should already have the knowledge (and the ability to use it in the different clinical applications) of the information related to the normal morphology and physiology of the different organs and systems. The student should also have known the fundamentals of the pathologic processes, acquired through the study of the General Pathology.
 The student should have the knowledge and understading of the spoken and written English language in order to be able to read and understand the slides that the teacher may use and abstracts of publications, textbooks and handbooks.

The log of the propedeuticts courses is detailed in the webpage: https://corsi.unibo.it/magistralecu/MedicinaVeterinaria/propedeuticita  

The course is aimed to provide the student with the cultural and practical  tools to  perform a thorough clinical examination focused to assess the health status of an animal.

The course content, including the detailed syllabus, is downloadable at the website https://corsi.unibo.it/magistralecu/MedicinaVeterinaria/syllabi-terzo-anno/35480-metodologia-clinica-veterinaria.pdf


The teaching material consists of the suggested textbooks (see below) and of the material put on the specific course website (https://iol.unibo.it/course/view.php?id=24546 or website of the teacher responsible for the course: http://www.unibo.it/docenti/gualtiero.gandini ).

The course has a clinical practical orientation. For this reason, many information can be obtained by te slides and by the video and photo material in the "portale didattico veterinario" of Bologna University (http://www.portaledidatticovet.org/metodologia-clinica.html)

Students are strongly advised to consider to buy the suggested textbooks, auseful also for the clinical courses of the subsequent years. Specifically. the suggested textbooks are:

 - Ciaramella P. (ed) - Semeiologia Clinica Veterinaria - Poletto Editore, 2013.

- Ettinger SJ, Feldman EC, eds. Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders, 2014

- Nelson RW, Couto CG, eds Small Animal Internal Medicine, 4th  ed. Philadelphia, Saunders, 2008

Teaching methods

The course is made of academic (frontal - 26 hours) and practical lessons (10 x 4 hours). Normally, the course is held in presence. In case of necessity, due to the persistence of the threat of COVID-19, academic and practical leccons could be held, partially or totally,

The signature of the frequency is collected by the teacher only for practical lessons
a. Academic lessons
Academic lessons are aimed to promote the interaction between the teacher and students and are organized with the aim to best represent the real professional situation and environment of the veterinary surgeon.

 More precisely, the academic lessons are dedicated to the explanation of the clinical approach to the patient using the in-depth description of the items hereunder reported:
- procedures of direct semiology
- signalament and anamnesis
 - Esame obiettivo generale (EOG) - General physical examination

- Esame obiettivo particolare  - Physical examination of the different specific systems
-  examples of algorythms according to the problem oriented approach

The academic lessons could be partially held using the online modality. All the lectures will be recorded and made available to the students.

b. Practical “hands on" lessons
Practical lessons are held dividing the students in four groups of about 20 students each, further divided in smaller groups of 4-6 students. The same hour of practical lesson is provided for each major group

During practical lectures, is mandatory for students are obliged to wear a white coat and protective toecap footwear. Some practical sessions require a percussion hammer, 12 cm Klemmer, neurologic hammer and sthetoscope

 The goals of the practical lessons are:
-  making the student able to perform the practical procedures of the physical examination (hands-on activity) -  This activity is focused to gain professional skills;
- develop the student's ability to recognize and collect the clinical signs using either real cases from the Teaching Hospital . Therefore, practical lessons consist in hands-on activity on the live animal aimed to acquire the necessary manual skills;
Within the practical lessons, the teacher/tutor will emphasize the importance and necessity of the team work, oriented to the development of searching, learning, judgement and communication skills.

In case of impossibility to perform practical lessons in presence, the activity will be shifted towards the presentation of tutorial videos and/or problem solving activities. These latter include the possibility for student to work autonomously, in order to promote active learning processes.

Assessment methods

The final mark of the integrated teaching course Metodologia, Patologia Clinica e Medicina Legale results from the mean of the marks obtained in the final evaluations of the single different parts that comprise the teaching course. The marks obtained in the different part of the exam do not expire. Since the course is an integrated Course, teh teacher responsible for the verbalization of the marks is prof. Gualtiero Gandini.

The final exam of the Course "metodologia Clinica Veterinaria" has the objective to evaluate the achievement of the main learning outcomes:
 - Ability to adequately and thoroughly collect the history of the patient;
 - Knowledge of the manual procedures of the clinical examination o fan animal and ability to practically perform them;
 - Ability to detect and collect the clinical signs in a sick animal;

The exam will focus on the topics related to the suyllabus of the last year.

The evaluation of the student for the teaching course Metodologia Clinica Veterinaria consists of a pratical part, integrated with an oral part.

 The goal of the practical part of the exam, performed on a live animal, is to assess the achievement of an adequate skill in the manual procedures necessary to perform a thorough physical examination;
   - This part of the exam is passed when the candidate is able to perform correctly the required procedures.
   - If the candidate is not able to adequately perform teh required manual procedures, the exam is NOT passed. The goal of the oral part of the exam is to assess the achievement of the theoretical knowledge as detailed in the part learning outcomes. This part of the exam is passed when the candidate is able to correctly answer a maximum of two main questions concerning the topics discussed during the course. The mark will include the oral and practical assessment.
   - The evaluation of the candidate may include other minor questions related to the topics of the two main questions.
   - It's considered extremely important that the candidate has the knowledge of the relevant information acquired in the previous teaching courses (prerequisites), and specifically those pertaining the physiological function of the different systems of the body, as well as those related with the principal physiopathological mechanisms of dysfunction.
   -  When evaluating the candidate's answers, the examiners will put specific relevance in evaluating the achievement  of a logic-deductive methodology in the discussion of the topics of the questions.
   - During the exam is not allowed the use of any support material, such as textbooks, nots, notebooks and other electronic devices.

Practical Information

The practical and oral part are taken at the same time.
Students can make a reservation for the exam using the modalities of the Atheneum' online systemAlma Esami:

- The dates of the exam are proposed within the dedicated periods of the academic year for the students that have regularly attended the course in the present academic year. All the other students (so called “fuori corso" students can take the exam in specific dates that are proposed during the whole year.

- Depending on the frequency of the available dates, the examination committee will decide the maximum number of the candidates allowed to take the exam per day. - Each student can't make reservations for multiple dates of the exam at the same time.

- The student who fails the oral part of the exam, can retake the same part of the exam after a minimum period of three weeks.

In case of impossibility to perform the assessment in presence according to the above described modalities, it will be replaced by an oral assessment, to be performed online. The assessment methods include the use of images/videos aimed to produce clinical scenarios reproducing the problems discussed during the course. 

Teaching tools

The Course utilizes many video and pictures, showing the correct manual procedures of the physical examination or sings of dysfunction of the different organs. This material, showed during the academic lessons, is found at the website: http://www.portaledidatticovet.org/metodologia-clinica.html.

Academic lessons use powerpoint presentations which, in the PDF version are downloadable by students through IOL (https://iol.unibo.it/course/view.php?id=24546). Videorecords of the academic lessons will be available at the same website.

During lectures, to develop the acrtive involvement of hte students, the software KAhoot is used. Kahoot permits to answer in anonymous way to MCQS.

The software kahoot will be used also in case of "problem solving" practical lessons held online

Office hours

See the website of Gualtiero Gandini


Good health and well-being Quality education

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.