35289 - Veterinary Physiology I

Course Unit Page


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

Zero hunger Life on land

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student will have understood and know in detail the fundamental mechanisms that regulate cell function and intercellular communication strategies, who preside over the functions of the nervous system and the modulation of autonomic functions. He will have learned knowledge about the functions of the blood. He will have learned and will be able to analyze the digestive strategies in different species in order to build the theoretical foundations of nutrition and animal nutrition.

Course contents

An outline of general physiology of the cell. Active and passive transports across membranes. Resting transmembrane potential. Cell excitability. Communication between cells: the synapses.
The blood. Composition of both plasma and interstitial fluids. Mechanisms regulating pH; alcalosis, acidosis. Plasma proteins: origin, functions. Haemostasis. Erythrocytes: their production and destruction. Haemoglobin: synthesis, metabolism, functions. Leukocytes. Physiological basis of immunity.
The nervous system. Neuron and its excitability. Membrane potential, voltage-dependent ion channels. Action potential and its conducibility in myelinated and unmyelinated fibres. Synapsis. Neurotransmitters. Receptors and receptor potential. The reflex; spinal reflexes. The spinal cord. The sensitive cortex. The control of motor activity. Proprioceptivity, the cerebellum. Regulation of muscle tone. Hypothalamus and pituitary. The autonomic nervous system: distribution and organization.
The gastrointestinal tract. Digestive strategies in domestic species. Regulation of appetite. Prehension, mastication. Salivary secretion; composition and functions of saliva. Swallowing and esophageal function. The stomach; contraction and secretions and their control mechanisms. The vomit. The pancreas and the liver: functions, secretions and their controls. Digestion and absorption in small intestine. The large intestine. Intestinal motility and its control.The forestomach; contractions of the reticulum and rumen and their regulation. Rumination, eructation. Microorganisms in the rumen; metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in the forestomach. Absorption from the forestomach. Control of prestomacal motility.


For the preparation of the exam it is necessary to have acquired and internalized the competences related to the preparatory exams.

Attendance to the course is mandatory, so the personal lesson notes are used as a track. Using colleagues' notes is not the best choice as they are the result of a personal processing of those who took notes.

Slides are recoverable from the web site;  presentations are important BUT not exhaustive in the absence of lecture notes and lecture notes are not an alternative to the textbook.

The study on the textbook is also essential.

The suggested textbook:

"Physiology of Domestic Animals" Sjaastadt-Sand-Hove. Scandinavian Veterinary Press second edition (2010). Chapters 2,3,4,5,9,15.

Other textbook:

Duke's Physiology of domestic Animals, 12th Edition. William O'Reace Editor.

Teaching methods

Theoretical lessons, seminars, practical activity.

Assessment methods

The exam can be taken only after you have successfully passed the testing for Applied Physics, Computer Science and Statistics; Veterinary Histology, Anatomy and Zoology; Chemistry and Structural Biochemistry; Clinical Veterinary Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Systemic and Comparative Veterinary Medicine.

The detection of frequencies will be performed by collecting signatures with the instrument of self-certification for oral lectures and through signature collection for practical activities. Within 10 days after the end of the course, self-certification, duly filled and signed, must be delivered, also by e.mail, to the teacher.
In the event of non-delivery, the student will not receive the certificate of attendance and will have to attend the course the following year.
The frequency will be given to students who have attended at least 50% of the total hours of the lectures and 75% of practical hours.

The evaluation, aimed at defining the achievement of the training objectives will be composed as follows:
3% evaluation of students' active participation in laboratory or self-employment activities;
3% test on the topics and techniques dealt with in the laboratory;
3% group work evaluation;
91% final exam.

Final exam:
Written exam (45 closed questions) possible only once to test one's preparation before the oral exam, optional but strongly recommended.
ORAL exam: 1 question for each topic of the program, 5 questions in total.



Teaching tools

Projector, slides, laboratory, informatic laboratory, didactic stable. Teaching materials

Office hours

See the website of Maria Laura Bacci

See the website of Domenico Ventrella