The Department is responsible for teaching in veterinary pharmacology and toxicology, clinical diagnostics, and equine and small animal diseases in the Bachelor’s and Licentiate programmes in veterinary medicine.

Teaching and clinical practices are based on research and scientific evidence in the field. Students are taught in close collaboration with the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Clinical training supplements theoretical studies, and provides the knowledge and skills needed to independently treat equine and small animal diseases. Teaching staff work partly at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, where they supervise the clinical work of undergraduate students and specialising veterinarians.

Information on all courses offered by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine can be found on the course search site. You can browse the information without logging in. Students can access their course pages through the My Studies site.

Studies in equine surgery focus on the most common equine diseases that cause lameness, including their diagnostics and treatment, as well as the main principles of general equine surgery and wound care.

The basic studies in internal medicine explore the most common diseases of different organ groups, i.e., the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory system, urinary tract, muscles, bones and skin. Neurology investigates the most common neurological disorders in horses, and ophthalmology focuses on eye diseases.  The studies include lectures, practical exercises and patient seminars. Teaching is also provided to veterinarians completing a Finnish or international specialist degree.
Students who complete the studies in equine diseases will be equipped to perform appropriate clinical examinations on horses, apply their knowledge to individual cases to confirm a diagnosis, select the right tests to arrive at a diagnosis and plan the appropriate treatment using the instruments, drugs and other means available in private or municipal practice. Students also learn about less common diseases and their diagnosis and specialist treatment. Such treatment is provided by Finnish equine hospitals, and students must be aware of the options available.

In their fifth year of study, students complete a practical clinical period and provide emergency service at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s equine hospital unit in Helsinki according to a course-specific weekly schedule. Teaching focuses on active and hands-on patient work throughout the treatment process under the supervision of clinical instructors, as well as daily case discussions, demonstrations and round-the-clock emergency service.

The internal medicine unit for small animals teaches students to diagnose and treat contagious and non-contagious diseases of the internal organs, including the heart, respiratory tract, endocrine organs, blood and immune system, gastrointestinal tract and related organs (liver, pancreas and peritoneum), urinary tract and skin.

Students pursuing a Licentiate degree in veterinary medicine are taught to examine patients and apply problem-based diagnostics and a therapeutic approach. The studies mainly take the form of lectures, seminars and practical exercises. During clinical studies, students learn to treat patients in practice under the supervision of veterinarians. Students participate in the treatment of patients and monitor their progress at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. They learn to plan and perform procedures, establish a diagnosis and  prognosis, and plan treatment. Students are supervised by a team of specialists, including clinical instructors, veterinary specialists and nurses from the referral hospital. Students also provide out-of-hours emergency service because the hospital is open 24 hours a day 365 days a year.  

The teaching is also suitable for students completing postgraduate professional education (specialist education) in either a Finnish or European programme in veterinary medicine, and includes monitoring and supervision. Several specialist fields are represented including small animal diseases, in a Finnish programme, and small animal internal medicine or dermatology, in a European programme. Specialist education takes several years.

Lectures and seminars are also available to doctoral students, other veterinarians, and the owners and breeders of small animals.

Teaching in small animal surgery focuses on the following specialist fields: soft tissue surgery, orthopaedics, anaesthesiology and intensive care, neurology, ophthalmology, and oral and dental diseases. The discipline provides basic education to veterinary students, and postgraduate education to veterinarians who are pursuing Finnish or European specialist education. The teaching includes lectures, exercises and practical teaching in conjunction with the treatment of patients at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Establishing the causes of veterinary diseases and planning treatment protocols require diagnostic imaging methods and clinical laboratory examinations. The most common methods of diagnostic imaging are X-ray and ultrasound. Possible follow-up examinations on small animals include CT and MRI scans.

Clinical chemistry explores the animal body’s biochemical changes related to animal diseases and the use of key laboratory examinations to detect disease and monitor treatment with a focus on species-specific features.

At the end of the clinical stage of studies, students will be familiar with the diagnostic use of the most common imaging methods and laboratory examinations, and able to draw conclusions on the patient’s health based on the results of the examinations.

Students will learn the basics of performing X-ray and ultrasound examinations and interpreting their results as well as the indications for using CT and MRI scans on animals. Special attention will also be paid to radiation safety. The training of specialising veterinarians includes more comprehensive diagnostics.  

The competence examination for radiation safety officers as well as preparatory radiation protection training in the qualification area of veterinary X-ray practices can be completed as alternative studies or professional continuing education.

Veterinary pharmacology examines drug absorption and distribution as well as the biotransformation and excretion of drugs while drawing attention to the special features of different animal species. The mechanisms related to the effects of drugs must be known in order to understand their desired effects and side-effects and to avoid adverse effects.

Research in veterinary pharmacology serves as the basis for determining drug dosages and appropriate care instructions for animals as well as the restrictions of use (concerning withdrawal periods) for drugs used in food-producing animals.

Toxicology explores the side-effects of drugs and other xenobiotics on animals.

Basic studies in pharmacology and toxicology cover the principles of drug dosage, absorption, distribution and excretion from the body as well as their mechanisms of action. During lectures and practical exercises, students also learn about the use, antibodies and side-effects of drugs. They also become familiar with the basics of drug safety.

Clinical pharmacology and toxicology is a part of integrated teaching, which focuses on the causes, symptoms and treatment of animal diseases. The students gain knowledge of prescription and medicinal regulations. They learn to identify toxic symptoms in animals and how to treat them. Students who complete the course will have acquired basic skills in administering medicine to animals.

The Department of Equine and Small Animal Medicine is responsible for the specialist programmes in equine diseases and small animal diseases leading to a specialist degree completed as a postgraduate professional degree.