Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Alimentary, endocrine and urogenital systems (year 1)
Academic Year
Semester 2 (Taught over 2 semesters)
Core for BVSc Veterinary Science – not available for any other student
Core for BVSc Veterinary Science – not available for any other student
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Due to Covid-19 students should refer to the module Blackboard pages for assessment details

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment .5 Hours   Written in-class Exam  Written in-class Exam  20%
Semester Assessment .17 Hours   Oral exam  Oral exam 10 minutes  20%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Exam  Exam  All VE modules to be in one week of exams (confirmed by TW, PVC)  60%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Resit exam  Resit exam  80%
Supplementary Exam .33 Hours   Oral exam  Oral exam 20 minutes  20%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Describe the role of the key components of the male and female urogenital systems (renal, urinary and reproductive) in the male and female veterinary species

Outline the main features of the oestrous cycle, fertilisation and pregnancy with reference to the hormones controlling the processes.

Describe the structure and function of the key components in the alimentary system under examination conditions.

Discuss how the basic metabolism of different species reflects the metabolites they absorb which, in turn, reflects the structure and function of their alimentary tract, comparing foregut and hindgut fermenters with carnivores and omnivores.

Apply knowledge of the physiology of studied body systems to the interpretation of diagnostic tests for common diseases e.g. blood glucose and diabetes mellitus.

Brief description

This module will provide an overview of the normal structure and function of the digestive, urogenital and endocrine systems. This will be the start of the “Alimentary”, “Endocrine” and “Urogenital” strands which will be delivered throughout the BVSc course.


In the introduction to the Alimentary strand, this module will concentrate on the commonalities of alimentary tract structure and function, but will also highlight the many differences that are important to animal care and production. Initially the module will study the teeth, chewing and swallowing, and then move caudally through the tract describing the key organs and their physiology. Abdominal anatomy is also covered, focusing on the placement of organs within the abdomen, and the abdominal wall, including surgical access routes. Having eaten, digested and absorbed material, it is important to understand how animals use these metabolites to drive bodily processes. This module will outline the most important metabolic pathways, always focusing on how these are regulated to meet the body’s needs. The “Endocrine” strand content within this section will focus on regulating blood glucose levels and learning to perform and analyse a glucose tolerance test. Finally, fermentation processes in both foregut and hindgut fermenting herbivores will be considered.

In the introduction to the “Urogenital” strands students will learn the key organs, tissues and cells present in the urinary and reproductive tracts and their function. The module will outline key changes in oocyte and spermatozoa during fertilization, processes that occur post-fertilization including placental structure and function and cover maternal and foetal changes at the end of pregnancy that result in parturition. Finally, environmental influences on reproduction will be examined to help understand seasonal reproduction. The endocrine strand content within this section will focus on hormone secretion and action relating to reproduction. The renal and urinary system is intimately associated with the reproductive system. The anatomy and physiology is introduced towards the end of Year 1 and linked back to the cardiorespiratory system in terms of this system’s key role in regulating blood volume and electrolyte homeostasis.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Outside the formal contact hours, students will be expected to research materials, manage time and meet deadlines for the coursework and exam. This aspect is not assessed.
The exam will require students to research topics beyond the depth and scope of the lecture material. Information from a variety of sources will be used. Research skills will be assessed in the examination.
Small group learning will encourage students to communicate, assess and present information as a team. This aspect is not assessed.
Small group learning/Practical classes, coursework and exams will involve problem solving.
During the module, students will gain knowledge of veterinary terminology, anatomical locations. These will be assessed.
Students will develop effective written and oral communication skills in the examination where these will be assessed. Feedback for the exams will be available.
Students will have contact with veterinary surgeons and biology researchers providing insight into these sectors. This aspect is not assessed.
Students will have contact with veterinary surgeons and biology researchers providing insight into these sectors. This aspect is not assessed.
Not a significant component of this module


This module is at CQFW Level 4