VET329 Differentiation in Small Animal Medicine

Credits (ECTS):36.5

Course responsible:Ellen Margrete Skancke

Teaching language:Norsk

Limits of class size:Capacity is limited to 25 students .

Course frequency:Yearly

Nominal workload:See semester plan

Teaching and exam period:See semester plan

About this course

Content Clinical rotations

In the companion animal differentiation clinical rotations, emphasis is placed on practicing what the student has learned in active clinical practice and allows them to more independently assess and treat patients, including increased client contact. Additional clinical skills training is provided. The students will write detailed clinical records for a defined number of patients.

Anaesthesia and analgesia course

The course focuses on the theoretical background for sedation, anaesthesia and pain management in companion animal veterinary practice.

Small animal clinical neurology course

The course covers the clinical examination of dogs and cats with neurological signs, including diagnostics, treatment options and prognosis of the most common neurological diagnoses. Video-based interactive case reviews are mixed with lectures, homework and practical exercises in neurological examination

Radiology course

Radiology deals with the use of diagnostic imaging in companion animal practice. Emphasis is placed on diagnostic radiology, but other modalities such as ultrasound, scintigraphy and CT will also be reviewed.

Clinical pathology course

Principles of sampling, evaluation of pre-analytical factors and interpretation of test results in clinical chemistry, clinical endocrinology, haematology and cytology. Practical exercises in preparation of haematology/cytological, cell slide samples and microscopy will be included. Special emphasis is placed on interpretation of test results from dogs and cats.

Reproduction and obstetrics course

Reproduction and obstetrics (physiology and pathology) in dogs and cats. Diagnosis and treatment of reproductive disease, obstetric problems and paediatrics. Introduction to the most common operations related to the genital tract in dogs and cats.

Optional part -1 week

- Course in clinical communication, mental health and clinic management VET342. 1 week spring.

- Extra work with the in-depth assignment. 1 week

- Unpaid internship at DNV approved clinic. 1 week

Learning outcome

The teaching in the differentiation year provides students with deeper theoretical knowledge and strengthens clinical skills in disease development, diagnostics, treatment and preventative health care in small animals.

Purpose and Learning outcomes:

Small animal clinical rotations

Based on a learning outcome description from the 9th semester.

After completing clinical teaching, students will:

  • have acquired good knowledge to be able to independently practice clinical diagnostics, perform treatment and give advice on disease prophylaxis
  • have good ethical attitudes that are beneficial to the veterinary profession and to clients.
  • Day One Skills fullfilled

Anaesthesia and pain management

After completing the teaching, the student should:

Possess good knowledge to plan and carry out sedation, anaesthesia and pain management of small animal patients.

Clinical Neurology

This course will give the student a thorough review of the topic of neurology in dogs and cats.

After completing the course, the student should be able to examine patients with neurological signs, as well as diagnose and know the most common differential diagnoses for neurological diseases in dogs and cats.


This course will provide a thorough introduction to imaging as a tool for small animal practice, and provide students with knowledge of the practical implementation from imaging to interpretation.

After completing the teaching, the student should be able to perform imaging in small animal practice.

Clinical pathology

This course provides the student with a good basis for being able to use clinical chemistry, clinical endocrinology, haematology and cytology in their small animal practice.

After completing the teaching, the student should be able to:

  • Assess indications for different tests, know the most common preanalytical factors that affect the test results and have a basic understanding of the interpretation of test results.
  • Produce cell smears (haematology / cytology) of diagnostic quality.

Reproduction and Obstetrics

To teach students general principles of reproductive physiology and pathology in female and male cats and dogs, and knowledge of the usual operations relating to the reproductive organs. Introduction to obstetric issues such as obstetrics, udder health and puerperal diseases as well as paediatrics.

After completing the teaching, the students should be able to:

  • Explain the general principles related to reproductive physiology and pathology in females and males of cats and dogs, ferrets and rabbits and other rodents.
  • Make a diagnosis of pregnancy in dogs, have knowledge of normal and abnormal conditions in connection with birth, perform obstetrics in dogs and cats, and be able to diagnose and treat udder diseases and puerperal diseases.
  • Explain diseases and treatment of puppies and kittens.

Optional part (1 week)

Students can choose to see practice at an external clinic or spend an extra 1 week on the specialisation assignment, if needed. Alternatively, the course in clinical communication and mental health will help prepare students for everyday clinical life. Mental health and wellbeing is very important, and the course contributes, among other things, to increased openness on the topic, and provides factual information about sources of support. This course is highly recommended.

  • Anesthesia and analgesia

    In addition to the theory, students participate in anaesthesia during clinical rotations. One of the patients will be written up as a case study.


    Radiology teaching combines lectures and problem solving. In addition to basic X-ray technique and physics, all steps in the examination of the individual body parts will be systematically reviewed. Which patients are relevant for the different types of examinations, how the examinations are done, choice of projections, assessment of images, etc. are reviewed.

    Clinical neurology

    Video-based case reviews and discussions about the assessment of patients with neurological signs as well as lectures on diseases of the nervous system in dogs and cats.

    Clinical pathology

    The course includes lectures, case studies, microscopy of haematology and cytology cases. The main focus is haematology and cytology, however, clinical chemistry profiles are also evaluated as well as urine examinations


    The teaching activities in the differentiation course Reproduction, obstetrics, and pediatrics are practical training in ultrasonography of the reproductive organs, mammae case reports, lectures, group works, and a guided tour to - and through - a private small animal hospital.

    Optional: External shadowing (1 week)

    The optional clinic week can be carried out at an external clinic. 100% attendance and approved clinical records are required. Shadowing in Norway can only be carried out at DNV-approved clinics. Shadowing can also take place at reputable clinics abroad after approval by the course leader. It is a prerequisite that this is a full day of small animal practice and that the student writes a reflective report. The scope of the report is decided by the person responsible for the subject.

  • Recommended litterature, clinical skill centre , digital teaching materials
  • Completed 1-9. semester of the veterinary medicine program
  • Assessment of clinical part

    To pass the clinical part, all program requirements must be passed. In addition, the student must have been sufficiently present and possess widely acceptable professional and ethical standards as described in Part 2 of the document: Clinical rotation 8th and 9th semester, information and forms.

    Assessment of academic specialisation topics

    To pass the academic specialisations all records, papers, presentations and tests need to be approved in line with the subject descriptions. Students may need to wait until the following year if records, papers, presentations and tests are not approved within 3 attempts. In addition, the minimum attendance requirement must be met. For valid absence of more than 20%, work experience and an assignment must be agreed with and approved by the course leader. Non-valid absences will require the student to retake the subject the following year.

    The course leader keeps and files lists of students with approved topics in the academic specialisations, and acknowledges the subject as approved on the evaluation form to the student.

    Assessment of optional part

    Attendance and mandatory activities have to be completed in order for approval. It is the students responsibility to ensure that the optional part is completed. Extra lectures will not be provided unless the students can document valid absence.

    The course supervisor awards a diploma/certificate and/or acknowledges the evaluation form where the elective subject is listed. Only 100% completed optional tasks are approved.

    Assessment differentiation year

    To pass the differentiation year in companion animal medicine, the following 2 parts must be passed:

    • Specialisation thesis (15 ECTS): Passed. Norwegian and English names should be applied the diploma.
    • Specialisation in companion animal medicine: Passed. Consisting of the mandatory part (clinic and course subjects) and elective.

    The evaluation form and 2 copies of the thesis must be delivered to SFA no later than two weeks before the end of term in order for the examination diploma to be issued.

  • The specialisation thesis must be approved by an external examiner
  • Mandatory teaching and program requirements: Clinical rotations

    The clinic service is divided into a) outpatient clinic and emergency/critical care, b) anaesthesia, c) surgical clinic and d) medical clinic. The students must write journals / case reports from their stay at each unit, which are to be approved by the lecturer.

    • Students have 2 evening/night shifts per week during clinical rotations. This includes weekends and bank holidays.
    • Students will demonstrate the case for younger students.
    • One of the rotation weeks is a night shift rotation.

    Clinical rotations are mandatory. Weekend and night shifts are also mandatory. For clinical rotations, up to 1 day of valid absence per week and up to 1 day of valid absence per. night shift rotation per. 5 day shift, is permitted. All absences from weekend and night shifts must be retaken.

    Mandatory teaching and program requirements: Anaesthesia and analgesia

    The student must have participated in a one week anaesthesia rotation during their time in the clinic.

    Within 14 days after the clinical rotation anesthesia the students must deliver a anesthesia casuistry based on the patients the students have been responsible for in the clinic. Records shall be approved by the lecturer.Each student must write their own anaesthesia case report. Only one student case report may be written per anaesthetic patient.

    Mandatory teaching and program requirements: Radiology

    80 % attendance, at least

    Mandatory teaching and program requirements: Clinical pathology

    At least 80 % attendance and passed multiple choice test.

    Mandatory teaching and program requirements: Reproduction and obstetrics

    80 % attendance, at least

    Mandatory teaching and program requirements: Clinical Neurology

    80 % attendance at classes, and participation in the presentation of the homework

  • Approval of external clinics:

    Clinics in Norway must be DNV certified or specially approved by head of the Small Animal Section

    Shadowing at clinics in universities must be at an accredited EAEVE / AVMA institution. Beyond this, shadowing at a foreign clinic needs to be approved by the subject leader.

  • No structured teaching is planned other than clinical guidance and discussion related to patients.
  • VET
  • Admitted to the Veterinary Medicine Program and completed 1-9. semester of the veterinary medicine program