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Unit information: Small animal practice 2 in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Small animal practice 2
Unit code VETSM0047
Credit points 70
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Mr. Rose
Open unit status Not open



Small Animal Practice 1

School/department Bristol Veterinary School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will develop students’ clinical skills in small animal surgery and allied fields through exposure to clinical cases in a specialist veterinary hospital. In this unit students will rotate through 5 specialities that are allied to small animal surgery: orthopaedics; soft tissue surgery; neurology; emergency practice and diagnostic imaging.

In order to maximise case exposure a single student is allocated at any one time per specialism. Students will spend a total of 5 weeks on each speciality. The rotations are split into 2 blocks. The first block will provide a period for assessment for learning and will consist of rotations of 2 weeks duration. The second block will provide a period for assessment of learning and will consist of rotations of 3 weeks duration. The order of the rotations is designed to spread the workload over the course of the year and balance night and weekend work. For this reason, specialities from Unit Two will be intermingled with specialities from Unit One. Hence this unit will run for 12 months to allow each student to complete all 5 specialisms within this unit.

The aim of this programme is that students will consolidate and build upon existing clinical knowledge and skills from their UG programme, and prior professional practice (for example the RCVS Professional Development Phase) in small animal surgical subjects. The consolidation is necessary for them to maintain their knowledge and skillset. In order to ensure that both consolidation and the learning of new skills occurs students will need a high level of exposure to clinical cases. This will be achieved through full time immersion in clinical rotations. When all compulsory Units for this PG Diploma are taken into consideration this will result in a higher than standard number of hours of student input and this is reflected in total credit points for this PG Diploma being more than the standard 120. This will allow students to be properly equipped with the required knowledge for entry into the University of Bristol’s MSc in Veterinary Practice or similar programmes (i.e. analogous to senior residents) at other vet schools. Students will apply their knowledge and skills to the effective treatment and care of a range of clinical cases under the direction of veterinary specialists.

Attendance at a School based clinical seminar series will form a mandatory part of this unit and will provide additional supporting clinical and scientific knowledge.

Students will be introduced to the concepts of evidence-based veterinary medicine and its application to their clinical practice by producing an Evidence-based review based on a clinical question identified during the rotations included in the Unit. Students will be supported by academic staff and web-based teaching material for this.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Intended Learning Outcomes

Veterinary undergraduates are taught to achieve ‘Day one competency’, the minimum standard required for registration with the RCVS, and the starting point for a practising veterinary professional.

The aim of the PG Dip in Veterinary Clinical Practice is to develop greater knowledge and understanding of small animal practice.

Overarching learning outcomes for both units include:

Consolidation of the day one level of competency in practical skills, knowledge and understanding of common conditions

Increased levels of knowledge and understanding to include less common conditions and those seen at referral veterinary practice

Observation of more advanced diagnostic techniques and procedures employed in referral veterinary practice

Specific learning outcomes for each speciality within the Unit:


  • Be able to confidently perform, record and interpret a neurological examination
  • Understand how the neurological examination aids localisation of a lesion in the nervous system and apply this to assessment of patients

Emergency practice

  • Develop communication skills pertinent to management of cases in higher stress conditions including owner communication and communication within the team
  • Be able to organise the emergency team to ensure that cases are managed in a streamlined manner

Diagnostic Imaging

  • Be able to apply your knowledge of both normal anatomy and pathophysiology of disease to confidently recognise and interpret radiographic abnormalities in small animals.
  • Develop an approach to interpretation of CT and MRI


  • Understand and be able to apply basic principles of fracture planning and assessment
  • Be able to evaluate and assess orthopaedic radiographs post operatively and at follow ups
  • Be able to discuss the relative merits for methods of management of cranial cruciate rupture

Soft Tissue Surgery

  • Be able to create a surgical checklist for soft tissue procedures (accurately name the procedure, antibiotic protocol that applies, complications and intra-operative rescue strategies and ancillary measures)
  • Be able to confidently manage and monitor animals that have had a variety of soft tissue surgery conditions in the post-operative period

Teaching Information

Seminar series 1 hour per week

Students will be on clinics full-time during the week while on rotation. We expect much of this time will be consolidation of prior undergraduate learning / day one level of competency. Direct contact which consolidates old learning, contributes to learning new techniques and greater knowledge and understanding while on clinical rotations will be approximately 20 hours a week.

Independent study reading round subject 4 hours / week

Preparation and writing of Evidence-based review 50 hours

Contact Hours Per Week

22 hours/week average direct contact

Student Input

Breakdown of notional total student input (To include number of contact hours, independent learning, assessment, other activities)

This unit will occupy 25 weeks of the student’s year

Contact hours including MCQ Exam 550 hours

Independent study 100 hours

Evidence-based review 50 hours

When combined with the second Unit on this PG Diploma it results in a total credit point of 140. This is higher than the standard expectation of 120 and this is justified within the paperwork above.

Assessment Information

Clinical competency assessment:

These are pass/fail assessments and students must pass all elements of these assessments

One Mini CEX or CbD per rotation (total 5 in this unit). Students will be given the opportunity to perform this assessment to obtain feedback for learning on their first pass through a rotation. This is a pass/fail assessment and students must pass all assessments

Multi-source feedback will be provided using a standardised form and verbal feedback for each rotation.

Practical skills reflective log-book must be completed for this unit. Students will be assessed on their progression and engagement in this by their clinical supervisor using discussion.

All of the above will require student’s engagement in clinical activity and personal study totalling 21 hours/week. In addition to this there is 1 hour a week set aside for PG Dip specific teaching.

Multiple choice exam – assessment for learning, but this is a compulsory activity (1 hour for the exam)

One Evidence-based review should be completed on a topic of the student’s choice. The word count for this will be 1000-1500 words. This will be assessed using the 21 point scale (50 hours). Students must attain a minimum of 9 using the 21 point scale in this assessment.

Assessment Outline

Clinical competency 5 x mini-CEX or CbD During second set of rotations
Practical skills Reflective log-book Throughout rotations
MCQ 25 questions delivered on-line June
Evidence-based review 1 June

Knowledge will be assessed using MCQs and the Evidence-based review. Knowledge and understanding and intellectual skills are intimately linked in clinical competency and are both assessed using the Mini-CEX, CbD and the evidence-based review. The ability to perform specific practical skills is assessed via observation and the skills checklist.

Reading and References

Emergency Practice

Manual of Emergency and Critical Care, Eds Boag A. and King L. 3rd Edition, BSAVA, Glocs

Small Animal Critical Care Medicine Eds Hopper K and Silverstein D, 2nd Edition, Elsevier.


BSAVA manual of neurology 4th edn Eds. Platt and Olby, BSAVA, Glocs

Handbook of veterinary neurology 5th edn Eds Lorenz, Coates, Kent

Soft tissue Surgery and Orthopaedics

BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Abdominal Surgery 2nd Edition. Eds Williams and Niles, BSAVA Glocs

BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Head, Neck and Thoracic Surgery. Eds Brockman and Holt, BSAVA Glocs

BSAVA Manual of Small Animal Fracture Repair and Management. Eds Cougholon and Miller, BSAVA Glocs

BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Musculoskeletal Disorders. Eds Houlton, Cook, Innes and Langley-Hobbs, BSAVA Glocs

BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Surgical Principles, A Foundation Manual Eds Baines, Lipscombe and Hutchinson, BSAVA Glocs

Diagnostic Imaging

Textbook of Veterinary Diagnostic Radiology – Ed. Thrall, 6th Edition

Atlas of Small Animal ultrasonography - 2nd Edition