72469 - Physiology

Course Unit Page


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

Zero hunger Good health and well-being Responsible consumption and production

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student will know the fundamental mechanisms that regulate cell, tissue, organ and system functions of farm animals.

Course contents

The cell membrane. Basic function of the nervous system. Nerves, junctions and reflexes. Somatic sensory systems. Skeletal and smooth muscle. Visceromotor control. General functions of gastrointestinal tract and their control and integration in mammals and birds. Secretory functions of the gastrointestinal tract. Gastrointestinal motility. Digestion and absorption of carbohydrate, fat and protein. The ruminant forestomachs: contractions, microorganisms and metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins. The cardiovascular system and blood flow. Mechanics of respiration in mammals and birds. Glomerular filtration, tubular function and concentration of urine. Principles of hormone actions. Functions of the endocrine system with focus on hypothalamus and pituitary glands, thyroid and parathyroid glands, adrenal glands, endocrine pancreas. Reproductive hormones. Ovarian function: folliculogenesis, ovulation and corpus luteum. Female reproductive processes: puberty, estrous cycle, pregnancy and parturition The mammary gland and lactation. Male reproductive processes. Avian reproduction.


Teaching material consists of the suggested textbooks (see below) and the material available on the website of the teacher responsible for the course: http://www.unibo.it/docenti/marcella.spinaci 

The suggested textbooks are:

Sjaastad O., Sand O., Hove K. Physiology of Domestic Animals, Scandinavian Veterinary Press

Sherwood L., Klandorf H., Yancey P., Fisiologia degli Animali, Zanichelli, Bologna

Teaching methods

Traditional lectures utilizing visual aids. Practical lessons (Aule Esercitazioni, Dipartimento di Scienze mediche Veterinarie, via Tolara di Sopra, 50, Ozzano Emilia, BO).

Assessment methods

Final oral or written examination; the students will be informed during the course about the ways. In both cases the aim is to evaluate if the student has acquired the knowledge related to the topics that have been treated during the course.

Written exam. The written exam will consist of 60 questions (either multiple choice questions or very short questions with open answers); each multiple choice question will present a little number of alternatives and can have more than one exact answer. In case of open questions, the answer must not exceed the available space. The score ranges between 0 (zero) and 1 (one) depending on whether the answer is exact and pertinent to the question. No answer will have a score equal to zero. The student will not have the possibility to use textbooks, memos or data storage devices. The exam will be considered as passed if the total score is equal or above 36 points.

Oral exam. The exam will be considered as passed if the student demonstrates that has sufficient knowledge of the arguments that have been treated during the course. In particular, students should be able to link the different arguments, to have a deep knowledge of the topics and to speech properly.

Teaching tools

Slides, videos, laboratory. 

Office hours

See the website of Marcella Spinaci