35451 - Veterinary Pharmacology and Pharmacy

Course Unit Page


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

Good health and well-being Quality education Oceans

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes

The “Veterinary Pharmacology and Pharmacy” Course aims to provide students with useful information that will allow them to define a therapeutic protocol relevant to the pathology and to the animal species. Students have to know the risk/benefit inherent in any drug administration, the legal provisions governing its use, its adverse effects and, concerning antimicrobials, all the measures useful to prevent/to control antibiotic resistance.

On completion of the Course, the student should have acquired:

  • KNOWLEDGE AND COMPREHENSION SKILLSthe student should be familiar with drug kinetics, mechanisms of actions, toxicity, legal provisions and the pharmacological classes of drugs for veterinary use in the various animal species. The student should also know some of the common names of drugs in the various drug classes.

  • ABILITY TO APPLY KNOWLEDGE AND COMPREHENSION – the student should be in possession of a sound ability to make good use of drugs, i.e. be able to:

    • make the correct drug choice depending on the required treatment (emergency, maintenance therapy, etc.) and on the particular drug’s ease of use;

    • make the correct choice of route of administration;

    • assess any possible species-specific differences in drug response;

    • comply with all legal provisions regarding the use of veterinary drugs (prescription, exceptional use in waiver of provisions, farmed animals).


  • make the link between different but allied subject matter, especially as regards specific topics (chemotherapy and site-specific drugs);

  • demonstrate a reasoned, critical approach to the subject matter rather than rote-learned knowledge;

  • discuss the course topics.

Course contents

Presentation and aims of the course

Once the Veterinary physician has made a diagnosis of a presenting pathology, or when he/she believes a treatment protocol, or diagnostic investigation are required, he/she must be fully aware of the “appropriate use” of the drug proposed and the risk/benefit inherent in any pharmacological treatment. The veterinarian must know the legal provisions governing the use of veterinary drugs (prescription) and, when treating animals in the animal husbandry sector (major or minor species) must have a thorough knowledge of possible health hazards to human consumers and the environmental impact of drugs.

The future Veterinarian must therefore be able to:

  • draw up a pharmacological treatment protocol entailing the least adverse/toxic effects for the animal;

  • choose the most appropriate pharmacological treatment, both in an emergency and as long term and/or maintenance treatment;

  • draw up different treatment protocols depending on the animal species (difference between the species);

  • draw up prescriptions (also for compounding) in compliance with legal provisions governing drug use in the veterinary setting;

  • know the ease-of-use of the various drugs, and in the case of antibacterials, take measures to prevent antibiotic resistance.

The Course aims to provide students with detailed knowledge of the mechanisms of action, kinetic behaviour and metabolism of drugs, with particular reference to the differences among species. The different drug administration routes and the toxicity will be examined, as well as the legal provisions regarding veterinary drug use.


Administration routes. Disposition and fate of drugs in the body. Plasma concentration-time profile and kinetic parameters. Mechanisms of drug action. Dose-response relationships. General principles of pharmacy (different pharmaceutical forms, prescription writing). Pharmacologic, therapeutic and toxic activities of drugs used in animals: chemotherapy of microbial, fungal and parasitic diseases; histamine antagonists; local and general anesthetics; nonsteroidal and steroidal anti-inflammatories; diuretics; drugs acting on: the autonomic and somatic nervous systems, the central nervous system, the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, the gastrointestinal system.


Students enrolling in this course must already be familiar with chemistry, biochemistry, normal morphology and physiological functioning of the different organs and systems, as well as with microbiology and virology.

Students must have a good written and spoken knowledge of English to be able to read slides (that may be used in lessons) and extracts from publications, scientific texts and manuals.


Teaching material

Teaching material comprises a list of recommended texts, course note and material (slides) made available to students through the website https://iol.unibo.it

The following texts are especially recommended:

  • Belloli C., Carli S., Ormas P., Farmacologia Veterinaria, Idelson-Gnocchi, Napoli, 2021

  • Nebbia C., Residui di farmaci e contaminanti ambientali nelle produzioni animali, EdiSES, Napoli, 2009

  • Allen D.J., Pringle J.K., Smith D.A., I farmaci per uso veterinario, 1a Ed. Italiana, Piccin, Padova, 2001.


    Syllabus, together teaching materials, is available through website https://iol.unibo.it

Teaching methods


The Course will be held by Professor Anna Zaghini (responsible of the course of Veterinary Pharmacology and Pharmacy and of the Module 1, frontal lessons) and by Doctor Andrea Barbarossa (responsible of the Module 2, practical activities).

The teaching may involve postgraduate research staff of the Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences. During the Course, several lectures might be organized with the collaboration of external teachers being experts on specific subjects.

Teaching methods and lesson format

The course involves hours of frontal lessons (51 hours, held by Professor Zaghini) and practical activities (4 hours/student, 4 groups of students, held by Doctor Barbarossa).

Classroom lessons are intended to encourage close interaction between teacher and students with the aim of prompting the class to appreciate the links between the various matters dealt with and stimulate a critical reasoned approach.

During frontal lessons the lecturer will show slides to support the oral presentation. Students may ask the lecturer questions regarding the topic being presented.

Detailed focus will be given to veterinary drug mechanisms of action, kinetics and metabolism. The most commonly used classes of drugs will be given special attention.

The practical activities are intended to consider the following topic:

- Doses and dilutions exercises

- Use of the withdrawal period calculator software, released by the European Medicines Agency (EMA)

- Draw up prescriptions (also for compounding) in compliance with legal provisions governing drug use in the veterinary setting

- Construction of plasma concentration-time curves and their use for the evaluation of the main pharmacokinetic parameters.

Construction of dose-response curves and their use for the evaluation of pharmacodynamic aspects

Assessment methods

Student assessment methods

The end-of-Course examination will be an oral test. The oral examination will assess whether the student has acquired the knowledge and know-how detailed in the Course objectives.

The student will be considered to have passed the oral examination if he/she replies correctly to three key questions on the general section of the course, on chemotherapy and specific organ therapy as dealt with during the course. In addition:

  • the student’s knowledge with be assessed with further questions regarding specific aspects of the three broad topics mentioned above;

  • it is essential that the candidate have a thorough knowledge of the subject matter of the Courses taken in previous years (requirements);

  • in addition to the mastery of the topics and the clarity of exposition, it will pay particular attention to the student’s ability to expound the information learned in a logical and deductive manner. In addition, particular attention will be given to the student’s ability to adopt a broad rational approach to the subject matter, showing a capability to link the various aspects of the course issues;

  • the final vote is the weighted average of the votes for each module of which the Course is composed and it is expressed in thirtieths.

  • During the examination students will not be allowed to use support material like textbooks, notes or computers.

For the 2021/2022 academic year, informations are currently awaited from the University on how to carry out the exams in relation to the COVID 19 health emergency. At the moment the student can choose to take the exam face-to-face or online.

How to enrol in examinations and the examination calendar

Students may sign up for the oral examination only through the Alma Esami online system. For further enrolment instructions, please go to: ( https://almaesami.unibo.it/almaesami/welcome.htm ).

Examination dates appear in special windows for course students, and are scheduled throughout the year for out-of-course students.

  • When the number of candidates enrol for an examination is high, the examining committee undertakes to ensure that candidates shall be able to sit the examination at the first possible opportunity.

  • Students may not enrol in more than one examination date at a time.

  • Students failing to pass the oral examination are entitled to re-sit the test after a minimum period of three weeks.

Teaching tools

Video player to show power point slides; computer with different programmes to elaborate data and to carry out kinetic evaluations. Clickers might be used. Portale didattico (http://portaledidatticovet.org [http://portaledidatticovet.org/]) to self-evaluate the knowledge for the examinations.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Anna Zaghini

See the website of Andrea Barbarossa