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Veterinary Students Handbook

Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge: The first two years

Welcome to Cambridge, and congratulations on gaining a place to study veterinary medicine.  This is the beginning of an exciting and challenging time: going to University, perhaps leaving home for the first time and embarking on a demanding course which will lead you to qualification in a highly respected profession. This handbook provides a general introduction to the Cambridge veterinary course for students starting their course in October 2013, and covers mainly the first two years.

Dr David Good, Director of Education (Biological Sciences)

The Aims of the first two years of your Veterinary Education

Our ever-increasing knowledge of biology, physics and chemistry provides the fundamental underpinning to the practice of veterinary medicine.  The first two years of your veterinary course is designed not only to give you a thorough knowledge of that science base, but also to begin to apply this to clinical topics.  In the future we believe you will find this knowledge base invaluable whether it is drawing on biochemistry as you struggle to understand the metabolic diseases of cattle and sheep; applying your understanding of the physiology of the kidney as you sit up all night in the intensive care unit with a dog in renal failure; or using your knowledge of neurophysiology and anatomy to help explain the uncontrolled twitching in the hind leg of a thoroughbred horse.

It is important for students beginning the veterinary course in year one to know that the clinical course at Cambridge builds on the pre-clinical, relying heavily on knowledge, understanding, problem solving and other skills developed in the first three years.

By the end of the first two years we aim to give you a sound grounding in the sciences needed for veterinary practice and the basic knowledge and the skills to prepare you for the clinical part of the course.

You will also learn technical skills, but there are other skills - notably listening and talking to people, and being able to handle animals in a careful and safe manner - which are essential for a veterinarian. We expect you to practise and develop these skills, and one of the best ways to develop your communications skills is in the supervisions arranged by your College. Do participate in supervisions - they are not just teaching sessions, they are learning sessions, and learning requires self-expression. Also, ask questions in practical classes; the demonstrators are there to help.

Although most of the teaching that you receive during years one to three is under the supervision of the Faculty Board of Biology, it is the Faculty Board of Veterinary Medicine, working through the Director of Education in the School of the Biological Sciences (Dr David Good) and the Director of Teaching at the Veterinary School (Professor Alun Williams), which is formally responsible for overseeing the professional aspects of the veterinary course.


Veterinary Student Code of Conduct (Preclinical)

Fitness for Practice, Health and Conduct: Guidance for Veterinary Students

As members of the University, veterinary students are subject to the statutory provisions of University Discipline as set out in the Statutes and Ordinances. In addition, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the University expect all veterinary students to behave in a manner appropriate to their future role as veterinarians.

The University has agreed a Code of Conduct for veterinary students to guide you during your studies. The Code of Conduct, which details the conduct expected of you, together with some guidance notes, is printed on the next page.

Veterinary students are required to confirm their acceptance of the University's Veterinary Student Code of Conduct and of the rules to be observed by veterinary students by signing the Veterinary Student Register form. This imposes important obligations on you, and requires that your name must be on the University's Veterinary Student Register. A copy of the Register form is included in this handbook, but at the start of the course you will be issued with a copy to sign and hand in. The copy remaining in this booklet serves as a reminder of the standards that you have agreed to follow. 

It is important that you are aware that students whose health or conduct may lead them to be a risk to patients, clients or Extra-Mural Studies placement providers, or who breach the Code of Conduct for other reasons, may be removed temporarily, or permanently, from the Veterinary Student Register and may not be permitted to enter the Final Vet MB examinations for the award of the Vet MB degree and registration with the RCVS.

 

Veterinary Students Code of Conduct and Guidance

Respect others: clients, professionals, teachers and fellow students
Treat others politely and with consideration, respect their views and the animals under your or their care.

Guidance note
In all your dealings with, or in relation to clients, teachers and colleagues, act without any discrimination, whether on grounds of age, colour, disability, gender, illness, marital status, national or ethnic origins, nationality, perceived economic worth, race, sexual orientation, social status, religious or philosophical belief.

Be an effective and considerate communicator

Always make clear that you are a student and not a qualified vet; be aware of your limitations and do not exceed your ability when giving information to clients, animal owners or other members of the public.
Understand accept and agree to be bound by the principle of confidentiality of patient data and also of information concerning staff and students.
Ensure that you can be easily contacted by University and Hospital Staff and always reply promptly to all communications.
Do not use mobile electronic devices to record and store patient information.

Guidance note

Contribute to the review of teaching by completing feedback forms as requested by course organisers and by reporting difficulties as they arise through the appropriate channels.
Do not discuss clients or their animals with other students or professionals outside the clinical setting, except anonymously. When recording data or discussing cases outside the clinical setting, ensure that clients and patients cannot be identified by others.
Do not use mobile electronic devices – cameras, mobiles, discs, data-sticks etc. to record or store patient images or other information. Never use E-mail, social networking sites, ‘Blogs’, ‘Twitter’, ‘Facebook’ etc to share information about clients or patients.

Abide by rules and policies, follow procedures and guidelines.

You must be aware of and comply with the rules, policies (including health and safety), procedures and guidelines of the University, Colleges, Department of Veterinary Medicine (including the Queen’s Veterinary School Hospital) and Extra-Mural Studies (EMS) placements.

Guidance note

Comply with rules and procedures laid down by the Director of Education in Biological Sciences, Director of Teaching in the Department of Veterinary Medicine, the Examination Board, farmers, clients, other animal owners, General Practitioners, the Head Nurse(s), or their deputies, in pre-clinical and clinical Extra-Mural Studies.  Be in attendance for the hours as directed by them and as required to gain experience of both routine and emergency situations. As veterinary surgeons you will have to make decisions not to go to places at the times you would like because of your clinical duties. You have a responsibility to yourself, your financial sponsors and your future patients to complete your rotations and EMS placements.
Comply with appropriate current and any new personal health-testing requirements. Be aware of potential zoonotic infections and comply with control procedures.

Be open and honest.

Do not break the law. Never threaten violence, act violently towards others or act dishonestly.

Guidance note

Just one criminal conviction could jeopardise your career prospects in veterinary medicine. The University is required to inform RCVS of these when students graduate. Do not cheat in examinations: cheating, at any level, destroys trust and those who cheat may also lie and be unfit for veterinary practice.
Inform the Director of Teaching in the Department of Veterinary Medicine immediately if you are involved in any University or police investigation which may lead to charges being brought; concealment of involvement in a drunken brawl that may lead to prosecution may be viewed as an even greater offence than the incident itself.

Take care of your appearance.

Your appearance, personal hygiene and demeanour should always be modest and reasonably conventional.

Guidance note

The appearance of a veterinary student or veterinary practitioner should not be such as to potentially affect a client’s trust in that person’s veterinary judgement or standing. When in the Queen’s Veterinary School Hospital, you should always wear an identification badge and show your face so that you can be recognised by clients, teachers and staff. Headdress routinely worn for religious observance must not cover the face: facial expression is an important part of communication and showing your face also makes it easier for clients with a hearing impairment to hear you and/or lip-read.
When examining patients in any clinical setting, observe the appropriate clinical dress code as laid down for the establishment or placement in which you are working.

Take action at an early stage when any problem arises.

Inform the Director of Teaching at the Department of Veterinary Medicine or a College Tutor immediately if you become aware of any problem (personally or in others) that may put the health or well-being of clients/owners or their animals at risk.

Guidance note

Veterinary Medicine is a demanding profession and, at times, all veterinary students are subject to stress and anxiety. Emotional problems and psychiatric conditions such as depression and eating disorders are not uncommon; do not hesitate in informing your Director of Studies, or Senior Tutor if you are aware/become aware of such circumstances, and in seeking support (see Confidential Sources of Help & Advice) as the earlier a problem is addressed, the greater the likelihood of a successful outcome, ie: success in the course.
Seek advice if you think a veterinary surgeon or colleague has behaved in a way that suggests that he or she is not fit for practice. Examples of such behaviour include:

  • making serious or repeated mistakes in diagnosing or treating a patient’s condition
  • not examining patients properly or responding to reasonable requests by owners for treatment for their animals
  • misusing information about patients
  • treating patients without properly obtaining the owner’s consent
  • behaving dishonestly in financial matters, or in dealing with clients, patients, or research
  • making improper advances towards clients
  • misusing alcohol or drugs

Do not abuse drugs and alcohol.

Guidance note
Abuse of alcohol and other mind-altering substances may lead to behaviour (including decision-making) that puts clients or animals at risk; problems associated with such abuse, eg: violent and aggressive behaviour, jeopardise your career. Never obtain or seek to obtain drugs that have not been properly prescribed, prescription or non-prescription, for yourself or others by any means.

 

Student Support and Guidance

As a veterinary student and future professional you must now be prepared to take responsibility for your own actions and your own personal development. This means thinking about what you do and in particular, facing up to and dealing with problems in the context of your work and relationships with others. However, the University has many support systems in place.  For a compendium of essential information for any student in the University see the on-line student gateway

Motivational problems - Are you on the right course?

If you are having serious doubts, talk about them immediately with your Tutor, Director of Studies and/or Veterinary School Clinical Supervisor (VSCS). There are people who suddenly realise, having got to this stage, that it was all a big mistake. If you really do want to get out, then don't hesitate to say so; it is never too late to change your mind, but it can become increasingly awkward. Cambridge offers exit routes from veterinary medicine into other courses, so you will still acquire a degree.

Are you having difficulty coping with the demands of the course?

Again, talk to your College Tutor and/or your Director of Studies (or VSCS). If you have a serious problem they will help, or in some cases direct you to sources of professional help, but they should be your first port of call. You can, however, seek support from the Counselling Service directly if you prefer: http://www.counselling.cam.ac.uk/

Are you having Academic problems?

Begin by asking your College Supervisor in the appropriate subject, but University teachers can be approached if a problem remains unsolved and, in practical classes, demonstrators are on hand to deal with immediate queries. Problems with these lectures and practical sessions can be raised with those who are lecturing or running a particular class.

Complaints or concerns about other students or staff

The Student Code of Conduct requires students to ‘take action at an early stage when any problem arises’. All veterinary students should seek advice if they think another student has behaved in a way that suggests he or she is not fit for practice. Examples of such behaviour include:

  • behaviour that adversely affects other students or staff
  • misusing information about clients
  • treating animals without properly obtaining consent
  • behaving dishonestly in financial matters, or in dealings with clients, or research
  • making sexual advances towards clients
  • misusing alcohol or drugs

Complaints and concerns about your fellow students should again be raised in the first instance with your College Tutor or Director of Studies. Complaints about academic staff should be raised with the relevant course organiser or with the Director of Veterinary Teaching. All complaints will be dealt with in confidence.

The University has a formal student complaints procedure.

Monitoring and mentoring student progress

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has certain expectations regarding the attitudes, behaviour and performance expected of veterinary students from the beginning of their course through to graduation and provisional registration, and places the responsibility for monitoring this on the University.

In the University of Cambridge, much of the day-to-day responsibility for this rests with the College tutorial and pastoral care system.

Your College may have a Fitness to Study policy for all students. The University also has a Medical and Veterinary Student Progress Panel. Both of these are aimed at supporting students in their studies and helping them progress successfully through their course.

The Medical and Veterinary Student Progress Panel

The College tutorial and pastoral system is supported by the Medical and Veterinary Student Progress Panel, which maintains a general overview of veterinary student progression throughout both the pre-clinical and clinical course at Cambridge. It will also monitor the cases of students who, for one reason or another, may be having problems with the course. This may be because of illness, personal difficulties or due to repeated examination failures. The Medical and Veterinary Student Progress Panel consists of senior members of the School of Clinical Medicine and Department of Veterinary Medicine together with College tutorial representatives.

In co-operation with Colleges, through the Senior Tutors and the College pastoral system, the Medical and Veterinary Student Progress Panel will review student cases with a view to offering advice about support for students who are encountering difficulties with the course. The committee is not a disciplinary body and is set up to provide support for students and Colleges. Its basic remit is to try to ensure that students have a timely and, as far as possible, trouble-free progress through the course. A more detailed description of the Panel and its functions can be found here.

However, the Medical and Veterinary Progress Panel is aware of the RCVS expectations of veterinary students and it will have the option of referring cases which raise serious concerns to the Fitness for Practice Committee. Details of the Fitness for Practice procedures can be found on the web.

And in the University’s regulations.

What to do if you have problems.

It is an unfortunate fact that, with a large student body, some individuals will encounter problems in their private lives and these can affect their progress on the course. The table below gives a list of confidential sources of advice for many types of problem..

Student's College

University

External

Clinical Supervisors


Chaplains – local place of worship


Directors of Studies


Nurse


Student Mentors


Tutors

 

Professor Alun Williams, Director of Teaching, Department of Veterinary Medicine
tel.  (3) 37640
Email: aw510@cam.ac.uk

Dr David Good, Director of Education (Biological Sciences)
tel. (7)66899
Email: dg25@cam.ac.uk

Occupational Health Service
Fenner’s, Gresham Road
tel.(3)36 594, Email: occhealth@admin.cam.ac.uk
9am – 5pm Monday to Friday by appointment

CUSU Welfare Officer
11/12 Trumpington Street
tel.(3)33313
Email: welfare@cusu.cam.ac.uk http://www.cusu.cam.ac.uk/welfare/

Counselling Service:
http://www.counselling.cam.ac.uk/
tel
. (3) 32865 Email: reception@counselling.cam.ac.uk

Disability Resource Centre
tel: (3) 32301
Email: disability@admin.cam.ac.uk  

Managing Alcohol: University Counselling Service
http://www.counselling.cam.ac.uk/alcohol.html

CUSU Eating Disorders Support (EDS) tel. (7) 40555 (Mon & Wed, 8-10pm)  
www.cusu.cam.ac.uk/campaigns/eds/

Mental Health Support Group: www.srcf.ucam.org/mhsg

Student Linkline
http://linkline.org.uk/cambridge/
01223 367575 (BT)      
01223 744444 (NTL)

General Practitioner: University or Family

NHS Direct
24hr Helpline: 0845 4647
http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk

National University Counselling Services:
http://www.student.counselling.co.uk/index.htm

Samaritans
4 Emmanuel Road (all days: 10.30 am - 10 pm)
tel. 364455 or 08457 90 90 90 (Day or night)
Email: jo@samaritans.org

CRISP (Cambridge Racist Incidents Support Project)
62-64 Victoria Road  tel. 462615
Email: crisp@cecf.co.uk
http://www.cam.net.uk/home/crisp/crisp/index3.htm

Centre 33 Information & Counselling Service, 33 Clarendon Street
tel. 316488
Email:  help@centre33.org.uk
www.centre33.org.uk/

Drinksense
Dashwood House, 185 East Road,
tel. 01733 555532
Email: centraloffice@drinksense.org
http://drinksense.org/

Alcohol Concern: www.alcoholconcern.org.uk  

Rape Crisis:
http://www.rapecrisis.org.uk/

Down Your Drink
NHS online alcohol reduction programme: http://www.downyourdrink.org.uk/

 

Course and Assessment Information

Outline of the Vet Course

In the first two years of the course, you will study biological sciences relevant to veterinary medicine both as subjects in their own right, as well as a means to understanding disease in animals. The official title of the course reflects this: it is called “The Medical and Veterinary Sciences Tripos”, usually abbreviated to MVST (a Tripos is Cambridge-speak for a series of courses leading to a degree). This is a traditional way of teaching veterinary medicine: learn the biomedical science first, and then study its application to veterinary practice. Many students prefer to study this way, and by choosing the Cambridge course you have declared your preference. During these first two years these courses will give you instruction leading to both your professional veterinary medical qualifications (Second Vet MB), and to your Cambridge degree (BA). In order to proceed to the Veterinary School (where you take the Final part of your Vet MB), you have to pass all subjects in the Second Vet MB, fulfil certain requirements of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and veterinary school for Extra-Mural Studies (EMS) and gain your BA.

An advantage of the Cambridge course is that all veterinary students have the opportunity in the third year either to specialise in a related subject such as pathology, pharmacology or anatomy, or to widen their educational horizons by taking courses in, for example, business studies, social science or philosophy. This freedom of choice gives a wide range of educational opportunities.

You will graduate with a BA after three years but you have also embarked on professional training, which should result in your acquiring the degree of Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine in six years’ time.

Year of Study

What You Will Study

Subjects and Courses

Qualifications Obtained

Year 1

MVST IA

Preclinical veterinary science

Veterinary relevant core scientific knowledge and skills

Second Vet MB,
Tripos IA

Second Vet MB,
Tripos IB

Year 2
MVST IB

Year 3
Part II

Part II course of specialised study

A wide range of courses and subjects (other Tripos courses are also available).

B.A.

Year 4

Clinical veterinary studies in Cambridge

Clinical veterinary medicine, leading to the development of skills and knowledge in a range of specialities

Final Vet MB, leading to Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine degree

 

Clinical Veterinary Study

Following on from the first three years, you will move to the Department of Veterinary Medicine at Madingley Road, and complete your veterinary education there, graduating with a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (Vet MB) degree. An outline of the clinical course is given on page 14 of this handbook.  After completing your initial veterinary education, and subject to demonstrating your fitness to practice, you will become a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and you will have to decide what sort of vet you wish to become.

The Complementary roles of the University and the Colleges

Cambridge is a collegiate University and responsibility for your education is shared between the University and your College. You were admitted by a College and you will, I hope, soon make friends with other students in your College. Your College Director of Studies will get to know you as an individual, as will those that are appointed by your Director of Studies to act as your Supervisors in the main subjects that make up your course. Supervisors, Director of Studies and Tutors provide a pastoral network designed to support your studies. Further support is available through your Veterinary School Clinical Supervisor – a veterinary surgeon working at the vet school who provides not only pastoral support but guidance for your Extra-Mural Studies.

The University body with responsibility for organising your teaching for the first three years is the Faculty of Biology. The Faculty delegates responsibility for delivery of this formal teaching to Departments, or to course management committees: the majority of your timetabled teaching (lectures and practicals) is delivered by staff from seven departments (Biochemistry; Genetics; Pathology; Pharmacology; Physiology, Development and Neuroscience; Psychology; and Veterinary Medicine). This teaching will be augmented and enhanced by small-group teaching, (supervisions), organised by your College.  The supervision system can help with academic work, but also helps you to develop communication and writing skills 

Departments will provide course handbooks for each of the courses you take which will include details of the arrangements for lectures and practical classes in that subject, and detailed guidance about the form and conduct of examinations.

Much more information, especially about timetables, is available on these MVST pages of the Faculty of Biology web site and you should become accustomed to consulting this.

Study Skills - how to survive the terms

University is not like school. There are significant differences between the way you were taught at school and the way you will learn at University, and sometimes you may feel bewildered by the transition.  In place of relatively small school classes, information at University is delivered by means of lectures, (essentially a 50-minute monologue) to groups of over 300 students.  Lecturers will issue hand-outs, but you will also need to develop your listening, concentration and note-taking skills to get the best out of this. The material will be delivered quickly, and it is then up to you to understand and assimilate it; you are also expected to read further material on the subject matter.  The information you are provided with in lectures will be developed and set in context in practical classes.  Although classes may be large you will work in small groups with demonstrators on hand to help and answer questions. These sessions are vital to your education and attendance is mandatory.

The supervision system is there to complement the formal teaching and the onus is very much on you to make use of it, and to develop study and time management skills to help you cope with and master the material. College supervisions will play a very important part in your education. Make them interactive and take full advantage of them to ask questions about any parts of the course you need help with.

You will need to use the internet to consult library catalogues, past examination papers, databases of scientific literature - and much, much more. The departments that provide your teaching are providing increasing amount of supplementary information on their web sites, and this Faculty of Biology website also provides a lot of basic information.

You need to be aware that the University takes plagiarism very seriously.

Assessment and Exams

Courses have been designed to allow students, wherever possible, to learn for themselves rather than being passive recipients of instruction, and you will get far more out of your course and are more likely to do well in your exams if you regard university as an opportunity to study what interests you, rather than just learning a syllabus to pass an exam.

You will encounter two kinds of assessment.

Formative assessment is designed to indicate to you how you are progressing, on a weekly or termly basis. Your College supervisor is the person mainly responsible for providing this kind of feedback. Formative assessment, more or less informal, may also form part of some University-based teaching.

Summative assessment (end of course exams) determines your ability to proceed with the rest of the course. The main science courses in your first and second year will be examined for two qualifications:

• Second Vet MB, which determines whether you are able to proceed to the clinical part of your veterinary course;

• Tripos, on the basis of which you are classed and will receive your BA degree. In addition to the main science courses, there are other courses which are assessed only for the Second Vet MB.

Each of the main summer exams in May/June is divided into three sections, and Sections I and II count for the Second Vet MB. The general format is a 1-hour theory exam (Section I), which covers the lecture material and consists of MCQs or short notes, and a 1 or 2 hour practical exam (Section II) covering the practical material. Because these Second Vet MB exams constitute a professional qualification, you will be expected to pass these at a qualifying level, and to demonstrate a basic knowledge and understanding of the whole of the subject material in the courses. The marks obtained in these two sections will then be added to those of Section III, to give a final Tripos mark.

Students often ask, “How much do I need to know to pass the exams?”  The bottom line is that to pass your professional qualification (Second Vet MB) you will be expected to show a good working knowledge of the subject material in all your courses.  Furthermore, you will be expected not merely to know this material but, more importantly, to understand it and apply that understanding to the solving of problems. You should remember you would be expected to know more than just enough to pass exams when working as an excellent professional veterinary surgeon!

Courses will provide you with the scientific knowledge which veterinary surgeons need to have in order to cope with today’s clinical practice, but we are also trying to show you that learning is a continuous process and that practitioners will have to continue to develop their knowledge and skills throughout their working careers.  To do well in the Tripos, you will need to show a deeper understanding of the material, and to be able to marshal facts into coherent arguments.

If you do not pass the Second Vet MB in June you will have one further attempt at a separate Second Vet MB examination in September, unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as illness or other good cause. If you require a third attempt, your College has to apply for this on your behalf to the Faculty Board of Veterinary Medicine.

Section III consists of a 2-hour exam, during which you will be asked to write essays from a wide choice of topics; this section does not figure in your professional qualification, and the marks obtained count only towards your Tripos class.

In addition to the main science courses, there are other courses, for example Principles of Animal Management and Preparing for the Veterinary Profession, which are only assessed for the Second Vet MB.

Full details of the exams and how they relate to the course can be found here.

Complaints

(a) About courses

For each course that you take there is a Course Organiser (listed at the back of this booklet). If you have problems with the organisation of a particular course, you should communicate with him/her. You can also tell the student representatives who sit on the management committee for the course you are concerned about and ask them to raise the problem on your behalf. It may be a general problem and this is one way of bringing it to the notice of the organisers. A problem arising within a particular department may be raised, if all else fails, with the Head of the Department.

Problems with the teaching provided for you by your College should be raised with your Director of Studies or, if that fails, with your Tutor or with the Senior Tutor.

(b) Queries or complaints about examinations

Any complaints about the conduct or results of examinations must be raised in the first instance with your College Tutor and not directly with the Examiners concerned. It is your Tutor’s responsibility to advise on these matters. Cambridge exam rules and regulations make provision for cases of illness or other misfortune; if you encounter any kind of illness or other impediment to exam preparation, the sooner you inform your College Tutor, the better. All liaison between a student and the central administration, particularly examination matters, must be conducted through your College Tutor.

Attendance at Teaching Sessions

Diligent attendance is a requirement of the Faculty Board of Biology as you will need a certificate of diligent attendance to permit you to take the Second Vet MB examinations.
Attendance at practical classes (but not lectures) is recorded and, if your attendance at the practical classes is unsatisfactory, the Head of the Department concerned will be unable to provide a certificate of diligent attendance and your progression in the course and professional future will be in jeopardy.

If there are good reasons why you are unable to attend a practical class then you should tell your Director of Studies and the appropriate Course Organiser. It may be possible for you to do the practical at some other time. Organisers of practical classes may notify students and their Colleges if a student’s attendance record is unsatisfactory.

As a student your timetable is likely to be very full. Most of the teaching in the first three years will be on the University’s Downing site.  If you haven't time to go to College for lunch, undergraduates are welcome at the University Centre, which is at the end of Mill Lane. MIMS and HOM lectures will take place in Lady Mitchell Hall on the Sidgwick Site. The Sidgwick Buttery is open Monday-Friday 08:30 – 16:00. 

First Year Courses

These courses are assessed for Second Vet MB and Tripos. They cover the following topics:

  • the overall layout of the structures of the body in Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology (VAP)
  • the chemical and molecular mechanisms underlying the functions of the body and the mechanisms that govern inheritance in Molecules in Medical Science (MIMS)
  • the mechanisms that underlie communication within the body, and the maintenance of the stability of the internal environment in Homeostasis (HOM) and Histology (HIST)

These courses are assessed only for Second Vet MB, and during these you will cover:

  • The Principles of Animal Management (PAM) which comprises two elements:
  • basic animal husbandry and nutrition is introduced;
  • the nature of the veterinary vocation as well as some practical training in animal handling and restraint
  • basic concepts of epidemiology and biostatistics as tools for critical assessment of the      quality of scientific evidence and appropriate inference are introduced in the Introduction to the Scientific Basis of Medicine (ISBM)


Principles of Animal Management

This course is designed to provide basic animal health teaching and to ensure that students obtain maximum benefit from their Extra-Mural Studies.

The aims of the course are to provide you with an understanding of UK agriculture and the roles of veterinary surgeons within the industry, to teach you basic animal husbandry of the major farm and companion animal species, and to ensure that you have a common understanding of fundamental concepts of nutrition. The course consists of lectures, computer assisted learning (CAL) packages and practicals. The CAL packages are available via the internet from the Veterinary School’s website. Although slots have been timetabled for the use of CAL, students are free to use the packages at their own convenience, in College, at home, or using central computing resources. The course will also show you some of the risks of working with animals and the risks of working on farms and provide some practical training on the handling and restraint of cattle, sheep, pigs, horses, and other species commonly treated by vets.

The animal handling practicals will be held at the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Milton Campus of the University of West Anglia. Transport to the College of West Anglia will be provided and you will be advised of the arrangements. You will be shown safe and humane animal handling techniques and have an opportunity to practise them. Documentary evidence of satisfactory attendance at these sessions, and of farm visits, must be provided before you can sit the Principles of Animal Management exam.

A Second Vet MB examination for the course will be held at the end of the Lent term of your first year. As a Second Vet MB exam, the marks will not contribute to the Part I Tripos classification, but you must achieve a pass in order to be eligible for progression to the clinical course.


Pre-Clinical Extra-Mural Studies

In addition to PAM and PfVP (see below), you will need to complete a minimum of twelve weeks of pre-clinical Extra-Mural Studies (Pre-clinical EMS) and will need to submit a report on visits to at least one farm and certificates from all your placements to show you have completed at least twelve weeks’ attendance at a variety of placements by the end of the Easter term preceding the October in which you enter the first year of the clinical course (that is Easter of the third year for most students; Easter of the second year for affiliates).

At the beginning of the 1st year, there is an introductory lecture on farm safety – attendance at this lecture is compulsory for all students.

Each student will be allocated a Veterinary School Clinical Supervisor (VSCS) who will advise on EMS, both in the pre-clinical and clinical parts of the course. If you have not been contacted by your VSCS before the end of the second week of term please contact Katheryn Ayres (kma28@cam.ac.uk). Your VSCS should meet with you at least once per term.

 

Second Year Courses

Five courses are assessed for Second Vet MB and Tripos, and they cover:

  • the mechanisms by which drugs act upon the body in Mechanisms of Drug Action (MODA)
  • the biological processes underlying disease in Biology of Disease (BOD)
  • the structure and function of animal reproductive systems in Veterinary Reproductive Biology (VRB)
  • the structure and function of the sense organs and the central nervous system and basis of animal behaviour in Neurobiology and Animal Behaviour (NAB)
  • further veterinary anatomy in Comparative Vertebrate Biology (CVB)

Preparing for the Veterinary Profession (PfVP)

The Preparing for the Veterinary Profession course aims to give you an introduction to ethical and animal welfare issues, and the social and professional responsibilities of the profession in society, nationally and internationally. As its name suggests, it aims to provide you with the opportunity to learn some of the skills and knowledge that should facilitate the transition from academic preparation to practise within the profession. A further main aim of the course is to introduce you to the current issues in veterinary medicine and the nature of the veterinary vocation

The material covered in the PfVP will be formally examined along with the second year material, in a 45-minute MCQ examination at the end of the Lent term of your second year. This course is assessed for Second Vet MB only and not as part of Tripos.

Summaries of the subject matter in these courses and detailed timetables will be provided in the individual course handbooks and on the MVST website.

The Third Year

After two years (unless you are an affiliated student) you will do a further year’s study and take a final Tripos exam to complete the requirements for the BA degree. In April 2015, you will be asked to state preferences for which course(s) you want to take in your third year. If you are an affiliated student, you will start the clinical part of your course in Cambridge in September 2015. A huge advantage of the Cambridge system is that it offers an extensive range of courses in your third year. You may choose to take in-depth courses in many of the subjects you studied in the first two years, or you may take courses in something rather different, such as Anthropology, Management Studies or Philosophy, or you may decide to combine different subjects via a course such as NST Part II Biological and Biomedical Sciences. 

Your Director of Studies will be able to help you make a decision about what to take in the third year, and there will be an opportunity for you to attend a Subjects Fair in March 2015 where the various course organisers will set up their stalls and explain what they offer.

The Clinical Veterinary Curriculum

The clinical training is an integrated core teaching programme based on separate but related courses given over the first six terms of the three clinical years. Some courses have a body systems basis (eg: alimentary) and some a discipline (eg: anaesthesia) or species basis (eg: equine). Alongside this there is small group practical teaching on a rotational basis dealing with such things as clinical methods, post mortem work, radiography, clinical pathology and gynaecology. Regular formal assessment takes the form of course exams spread throughout the first five terms of the clinical course, the aim being to encourage steady work and personal development; students need to pass all these modular exams (Final Veterinary Examination Part I) to be eligible to sit the Final Veterinary Examination Part II exams in the 6th term of the clinical course.

There is a proportion of elective work in the clinical course with fourth year veterinary public health assignments and final year clinical electives, when students can choose areas of interest to study in greater depth than in the core curriculum. This final year elective project is assessed within the Final Veterinary Examination Part III.

The final year of the clinical course extends over 40 weeks, beginning at the end of 5th year. It is essentially lecture-free and consists of small group rotational work through the clinics of the Department of Veterinary Medicine. There is an increasing emphasis on students taking responsibility for their own learning and development, with case and client management under supervision. During this 40-week final year, some of the veterinary school-based rotations will be during University vacation time – and students will conduct clinical Extra-Mural Studies both within University term time and vacations.

Continuous assessment forms an important part of this rotational work and contributes marks towards the Vet MB Final Examinations Part III that completes the course at the end of the final year. Students, on passing this exam, can then be registered as Members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Throughout the clinical years students undertake a minimum of 26 weeks extra-mural training in veterinary practices and other establishments, sometimes with overseas experience.

The formal objectives of the clinical course are set out below, and the foundations for many of these are laid in the pre-clinical course.

 

Programme Outcomes

The clinical veterinary course occupies the final 9 terms of the 18 term veterinary course at Cambridge (15 term course for Affiliates).

On completion of the first level of the clinical course (Final Vet MB Part I & Part II), students should have:

Knowledge and understanding
  • a knowledge of the structure and function of healthy animals, which will allow students to recognise and understand abnormal and disease states of body systems;
  • a sympathetic understanding of the handling, management and nutrition of domesticated animals and of their needs in health and disease;
  • a knowledge of the principles and practice of preventive veterinary medicine and veterinary public health;
  • a knowledge of reproductive physiology and genetics sufficient to understand breeding management in farm and companion animal species;
  • an understanding of the principles underlying the pathogenesis, diagnosis, epidemiology and control of disease;
  • basic knowledge of the law, and of welfare and ethical codes affecting veterinary practice;
  • knowledge of the principles of surgical techniques;
  • basic knowledge and interpretation of diagnostic imaging (radiography and ultrasound), and have received a basic introduction to advanced imaging techniques, eg: nuclear medicine, MRI;
  • basic clinical knowledge of veterinary pharmacology, pharmacy and toxicology.
  • a basic knowledge  of clinical pathology.

Intellectual Skills
- basic skills in diagnostic problem solving, and in formulation of treatment strategies.

Practical Skills
- the ability to take a clinical history from an owner;
- the ability to carry out a full clinical examination in all the main domestic species;
- the ability to handle and restrain animals safely;
- the ability to dispense and administer drugs to animals;
- the ability to undertake basic clinical diagnostic problem solving;
- the ability to formulate disease treatment and prevention strategies.

Transferable skills
- an understanding of scientific method, and an ability to apply basic scientific knowledge, sufficient to enable students to extend their knowledge of, and utilise future developments in, veterinary science;
- basic communication skills.


Lecture free final year

The second level of the clinical course occupies 40 weeks, combining small group teaching with periods of Extra-Mural Studies.  By the time they sit Part III of the Final Vet MB examination, students should have applied their theoretical knowledge and increased their practical skills in the areas above, and should also have acquired:

Intellectual skills
-
knowledge of techniques necessary to carry out under supervision common surgical procedures in domesticated animals, including anaesthesia of most species;
- the ability to draw up a list of differential diagnoses following investigation of disease;
- the ability to devise and carry out a treatment or management plan following clinical assessment of common medical problems.

Practical Skills
- an ability to manage common obstetrical problems;
- the ability to perform intravenous catheterization and to take a blood sample;
- the ability to perform basic surgical techniques;
- the ability to perform basic diagnostic laboratory techniques.

Transferable Skills
- the capacity to communicate effectively with clients and with colleagues both in the veterinary profession and in other disciplines;
- the ability to work well as a member of a team;
- the capacity to undertake successfully an extended study of a topic and to communicate the results verbally and in writing.

In so doing, you will have complied with the Day 1 Competencies, as required of new graduates by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Student Feedback and Representation

Course organisers will actively solicit opinions from you about your perception of their teaching. Many of the good things about the teaching you will receive have come about as a response to suggestions made in previous student questionnaires. You owe it to those coming after you to respond to questionnaires, so that those responsible for organising the teaching know when something is right and when something is wrong. When you complete a questionnaire try to be honest, informative and, if possible, constructive and helpful – we do try to act on constructive suggestions wherever possible.

Course liaison committees also have student representatives and it is at this level that most of the useful work is done in providing feedback to those who teach from those who are trying to learn.

The Faculty Board also has student representatives and we hope that some of you will wish to contribute in this way to discussions about how the teaching is organised. There is also a Faculty Committee - the MVST Part I Committee, which oversees MVST IA and IB, and includes student representatives. Please feel free to take any thoughts you have about the course to any of your student representatives.

Student Societies

Within Cambridge there are societies organised by and run for veterinary students. Here are welcome messages from two of them:

Cambridge University Veterinary Society:

CUVS is the Cambridge University Veterinary Society and we are the representative body of the vet students at Cambridge. We have a 17 strong committee composed entirely of students whose main role is to act as a platform for student opinion and a source of information, advice and entertainment.

Our many functions include: sitting on several committees round the vet school, arranging weekly talks on topics of veterinary interest, ordering vet school ‘stash’ and, most importantly, organising entertainments for you, the vet students! The committee will be introduced to you early on in your first term and one of you will even have the chance to become ‘1st year rep’ at this point, so make sure you keep an eye out for emails and leaflets in your college pigeonholes to tell you more about it!

Cambridge University Veterinary Zoological Society (CUVZS):

Are you interested in working with exotic animals, zoo animals or wildlife? The Cambridge University Veterinary Zoological Society warmly welcomes all vet students to join our society and learn more about how to become an exotics vet. With fortnightly talks, weekend events and our annual symposium attended by vet students from all seven vet schools, CUVZS offers exciting opportunities to meet and learn from exotics, zoo and wildlife vets.Take a look at our website www.cuvzs.com for information on becoming a member and the latest events.

Estimated additional course costs 2013-14

In addition to the standard living costs, vet student should expect to have to meet the following estimated costs.

Costs in the first year

First year students will be expected to purchase overalls, waterproof trousers and boots for use in animal handling classes and for use in the vacations for Extra-Mural Studies placements. Students will also be required to purchase a lab coat and equipment for use in laboratory practical classes.  

The following items can be pre-ordered via the vet school and collected at the Introduction to the Vet School session on the afternoon of Thursday, 10 October 2013 – please complete and return the separate order form:

Lab coat

  £   7.68

Wellington   boots (with toe protector)

  £ 11.70

Overalls (boiler   suit)

  £ 15.79

Waterproof trousers

  £     7.07

If you do not manage to obtain a lab coat from the vet school, you must purchase one during the Molecules in Medical Science (MIMS) lab coat sessions on Wednesday 9 October 2013 in the Hopkins Building in the Department of Biochemistry for approximately £10 each.

The following items will be provided and should be paid for at the first Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology (VAP) practical on the morning of Thursday, 10 October 2013 – please remember to bring cash or a cheque with you:

Dissection kit,   gloves, safety glasses, loan of locker and key, loan of dog skeleton

  £ 24.00

Veterinary   Dissection Manual which includes course guides for Veterinary Anatomy and   Physiology (1st Year) and Neurobiology and Comparative Veterinary   Biology (2nd Year)*

  £ 14.00

*The manuals essentially replace the need for a text book of human or veterinary anatomy.

The following items will be required later in the year:

University approved   calculator

  £ 14.00

Electron micrographs   (optional)

  £   2.00

EMS (preclinical) 12   weeks practical vacation experience with animals, particularly farm   animals.  Insurance cover provided but   no subsistence grants payable

 


 

Additional cost for clinical years

Students will be expected to make use of the equipment purchased in first year (boots, overalls, waterproof trousers) when they join the clinical years, for their clinical EMS placements.

In 4th and 5th Year, other appropriate protective clothing will be provided by the Department of Veterinary Medicine for use by students during practical/rotation work at the veterinary school during term time. Additional protective clothing for use during vacations while on EMS placements must be provided by students (see pre-clinical EMS requirements, above) and kept specifically for use during the vacations. Fourth Year students are required to have ‘yard boots’ with protective toe-caps, which must be used for equine clinic work at the veterinary school and during equine EMS placements in the vacations.

Fourth year students are expected to purchase the equipment items below from the Department’s Stores Office for use during practical/rotation work during term time and for use during EMS in the vacations (please note that the Vet. Department’s Stores do not stock the ‘yard boots’).  The costs given are those for the current fourth year:

Locker padlock

  £  1.56

Stethoscope*

  £  2.35

Clinical thermometer

  £    2.70

Digital thermometer

  £  0.99

6” scissors, curved   on flat

  £  2.42

Spencer Wells   forceps, 5”

  £  3.05

Pen torch

  £  1.66

Dog lead (red)

  £  1.44

Hoof pick

  £  0.69

‘Yard Boots’

see above paragraph

EMS - 26 weeks   required by RCVS - variable depending on chosen placements (Grants are   available to assist with costs)

 

BVA insurance cover,   at a cost of £27.00 per annum, will be met by the Veterinary School, for 4th,   5th and 6th year students

 

* This is a basic level stethoscope. Many students purchase a higher quality stethoscope, and a fob-watch for use in theatre, later in their clinical course. This is organised by the Student Society.

 

In addition to the list above, students will be required to purchase white theatre shoes (£ 1.95, approx) and protective clothing to be worn in theatre (£ 12.20, approx) prior to starting their 6th year rotations.

Course Organisers

Course Organisers - MVST Part 1A (2013-14)

Name of   Course

Organiser

Email   Address

Telephone   Number

Histology

Dr J T Tiffert

(Physiology, Development   & Neuroscience) (PDN)

 

jtt1000@cam.ac.uk

33830

Homeostasis (HOM)

Dr   C Schwiening (PDN)

 

cjs36@cam.ac.uk

33827

Introduction to the   Scientific Basis of Medicine (ISBM)

Professor K-T Khaw

(Clinical Medicine)

 

kk101@cam.ac.uk

36927

Molecules in Medical   Science (MIMS)

Professor E Laue (Biochemistry)

edl1@cam.ac.uk

33677 or

46287

Principles of Animal   Management (PAM)

Dr G Pearce

(Veterinary Medicine)

 

gpp28@cam.ac.uk

 

37678

Veterinary Anatomy and   Physiology (VAP)

Dr D Bainbridge

(PDN)

 

db125@cam.ac.uk

 

33799

Course Organisers - MVST Part 1B (2013-14)

Name of   Course

Organiser

Email   Address

Telephone   Number

Biology of Disease (BOD)

Dr I B Kingston (Pathology)

 

ibk1000@mole.bio.cam.ac.uk

 

33330

Comparative Vertebrate   Biology (CVB)

Dr J H Brackenbury

(PDN)

jhb1000@cam.ac.uk

 

33847

Mechanisms of Drug Action   (MODA)

Dr L MacVinish   (Pharmacology)

 

ljm1000@cam.ac.uk

34034

Neurobiology and Animal   Behaviour (NAB)

Dr S Edgley   (PDN) &

Dr H Matthews (PDN)

sae1001@cam.ac.uk

hrm1@cam.ac.uk

33812

Preparing for the Veterinary   Profession (PfVP)

Dr J Brearley

(Veterinary Medicine)

 

jcb78@cam.ac.uk

37658

Veterinary Reproductive   Biology (VRB)

 

Dr D Bainbridge

(PDN)

db125@cam.ac.uk

 

33799


Course and Assessment

These tables summarise the MVST courses, and how they are assessed.  For the first two years students take both Second Vet MB and Tripos examinations. Second Vet MB only Exams are held on the last day of Lent Term. The main sitting for the Second Vet MB/Tripos examinations is in June.   Resits for all Second Vet MB subjects are in September.

“Form and Conduct Notices” for the MVST exams are published in the Reporter; these describe in detail the format of individual examinations.  Links to all Form and Conduct notices are provided here.

First Year Courses - MVST PART 1A

Course

Exam paper structure

Material examined

Assessment

Exam format

Notes

Homeostasis (HOM)

Section I

1 hour

Lecture material

2nd MB

2nd Vet MB

Tripos

MCQs or Short Notes

Sections I & III taken   as a single 3 hour paper

Section II

2 hours

Practical material

2nd MB

2nd Vet MB

Tripos

Practical questions (by   MCQs)

Section III

2 hours

Whole course

 

Tripos

Essay questions

Molecules in Medical   Science (MIMS)

Section I

1 hour

Lecture material

2nd MB

2nd Vet MB

Tripos

MCQs

Sections I & II taken   as a single 3 hour paper

Section II

2 hours

Practical material

2nd MB

2nd Vet MB

Tripos

Practical questions

Section III

2 hours

Whole course

 

Tripos

Essay questions

Veterinary Anatomy and   Physiology (VAP)

Section I

1 hour

Lecture material

 

2nd Vet MB

Tripos

MCQs

Sections I & III taken   as a single 3 hour paper

Section II

2 hours

Practical material

 

2nd Vet MB

Tripos

Practical questions (short   notes and MCQs)

Section III

2 hours

Whole course

 

Tripos

Essay questions

Introduction to the   Scientific Basis of Medicine (ISBM)

One paper

45 minutes

 

2nd MB

2nd Vet MB

 

MCQs

 

Principles of Animal   Management (PAM)

One paper

1 hour

 

2nd Vet MB

 

MCQs

 

Note 1 Histology will be examined as part of the Homeostasis practical.
Note 2 The regulations for MVST IA stipulate that each subject of the IA examination should carry the same marks.

Second Year Courses - MVST PART IB

Course

Exam Structure

Material examined

Assessment

Exam format

Notes

Biology of Disease (BOD)

Section I

1 hour

Lecture material

2nd MB

2nd Vet MB

Tripos

MCQs

Sections I & III taken   as a single 3 hour paper

Section II

2 hours

Practical material

2nd MB 

2nd Vet MB

Tripos

Practical questions

Section III

2 hours

Whole course

 

Tripos

Essay questions

Mechanisms of Drug   Action(MODA)

Section I

1 hour

Lecture material

2nd MB

2nd Vet MB

Tripos

MCQs and short notes

Sections I & III taken   as a single 3 hour paper

Section II

2 hours

Practical material

2nd MB

2nd Vet MB

Tripos

Practical questions

Section III

2 hours

Whole course

 

Tripos

Essay questions

Neurobiology and Animal   Behaviour (NAB)

Section I

1 hour

Lecture material

 

2nd Vet MB

Tripos

Short Answer Questions

Sections I & III taken   as a single 3 hour paper

Section II

1 hour

Practical material

 

2nd Vet MB

Tripos

Practical questions

Section III

2 hours

Whole course

 

Tripos

Essay questions

Veterinary Reproductive   Biology (VRB)

Section I

1 hour

Lecture material

 

2nd Vet MB

Tripos

MCQs

Sections I and III taken as   a single 2½ hour paper

Section II

1 hour

Practical material

 

2nd Vet MB

Tripos

Practical questions

Section III

1½ hrs

Whole course

 

Tripos

Essay questions

Comparative Vertebrate Biology (CVB)

Part I

1½  hrs

Whole course

 

2nd Vet MB

Tripos

Steeple chase

 

Part II

1½  hrs

 

Tripos

Essay

questions

 

Preparing for the   Veterinary Profession (PfVP)

One Paper

45mins

Whole course

2nd Vet MB

 

MCQs

 

Note: The regulations for MVST IB stipulate that the maximum marks allocated to each subject at IB should be in the following proportions:

Biology of Disease 10                                            
Comparative Vertebrate Biology 8
Neurobiology and Animal Behaviour 10               
Veterinary Reproductive Biology 8
Mechanisms of Drug Action 10                             

Form and Conduct Notices have been published in the Reporter, which describe in detail the format of individual examinations.

 

Veterinary Student Register Agreement October 2013

If you have a difficulty with any element of this declaration, please contact your college Senior Tutor to discuss how this might be resolved.

1   I have read the following information:

  • The University’s Veterinary Student Code of Conduct and explanatory notes[i];
  • The University’s Confidential Sources of Help and Advice[ii].

2    I will comply with the rules and procedures laid down by the Faculty Boards of Biology and Veterinary Medicine, and by the Examinations Board;

3    I will respond promptly to all communications from my College, and University (incl. Departmental) staff;

4    I recognise that all information obtained about any animal/patient or their owner during the course of my duties is strictly confidential and may not be divulged to anyone other than in a clinical context;

5    I recognise that my conduct and dress when engaged in the care of patients and while undertaking Extra-Mural Studies will be appropriate to the status of a veterinary practitioner;

6    I will inform the Director of Education (Biological Sciences), the Director of Teaching in the Department of Veterinary Medicine and my College Senior Tutor immediately if I am involved in any police investigation which may lead to charges being brought against me;

7    I will inform the Director of Education (Biological Sciences), the Director of Teaching in the Department of Veterinary Medicine and my College Senior Tutor immediately if I am no longer able to meet the requirements of this agreement or if I am/become aware of any change to my physical or mental health that may affect my performance/progress on the course, and/or put at risk the health and well-being of other students, animals/patients or their owners;

8   I understand that the Fitness for Veterinary Practice Committee may share information about my registration with other bodies in the public interest and has the authority to remove my name, either temporarily or permanently, for failing to observe the Veterinary Student Code of Conduct or failing to progress academically;

9   I understand that I will remain on the Cambridge Veterinary Student Register and observe the University’s Veterinary Student Code of Conduct until I have:

  • completed the requirements of the clinical Veterinary course satisfactorily;
  • withdrawn from the veterinary course;
  • sat any Vet MB examination on two occasions without passing;
  • been suspended by the Fitness to Practise Committee;

10  I understand that, if I fail to abide by this agreement and the Code of Conduct, I will be responsible for paying any reasonable costs arising from a review of my fitness for practice in the event that such review leads to me being found unfit for practice or fit for practice only on certain conditions;

11  I give my consent to the processing of my data by the University.

Student Name: .....................................     Witness Name:......................................

(BLOCK CAPITALS)

Signature: ............................................     Signature: ..................................................

Date: ........................    

Please return this form, at your first Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology (VAP) practical on the morning of Thursday, 10 October 2013, to Dr David Bainbridge.


[i] Available in your handbook and on the web at: http://www.bio.cam.ac.uk/sbs/facbiol/mvst/vethbk.html
[ii] Available in your handbook and on the web at: http://www.bio.cam.ac.uk/sbs/facbiol/mvst/vethbk.html