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Veterinary Pharmacology

Course Code: AHTT 1204
Faculty: Science & Technology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course provides a foundation in the basic principles of pharmacology. Pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic and general pharmacological principles, definitions and a review of drugs that affect each body system are included and practical applications of concepts for a variety of species are reviewed. Enrollment is limited to students of the Animal Health Technology Program

Course Content

The major topics in this course include the following:

Terminology & Concepts

  • definitions including pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, over-the-counter drugs, pharmacotherapy, prescription drugs, controlled substances, extra label drugs, and veterinary pharmacology.
  • drug development and marketing -- safety, toxicity evaluation, effective (ED50 and lethal dose (LD50) and therapeutic index.
  • toxic levels and safety zones.
  • review of routes of administration (procedures and definitions).

Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics

  1. “Getting In”
  2. “Moving Around”
  3. “Changing”
  4. “Getting Out”

Overview of Drugs Affecting Each Body System

  1. Nervous system – Definitions of CNS and ANS components; the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems; peripheral nervous system and drugs associated with each.  Reversal agents will also be discussed.
  2. Cardiovascular system Definitions of basic cardiovascular terminology.  Positive inotropic drugs (cardiac glycosides, catecholamines, phosphodiesterase inhibitors).  Antiarrhythmic drugs, vasodilators, diuretics, blood modifying.  Use of drugs to treat CHF and AHF.
  3. Respiratory system –definitions; drug categories’ actions and examples. Including expectorants, mucolytics, antitussives, bronchodilators and decongestants.
  4. Musculoskeletal drugs - definitions including neuromuscular junction, acetylcholine, acetylcholinesterase, NSAID’s, neuromuscular blockers, spasmolytics and anabolic steroids.
  5. Gastrointestinal system - Review drug classes with mode of action and uses. Includes but not limited to-emetics, antiemetics, antiulcer, antidiarheal, laxatives and prokinetic drugs.
  6. Drugs used in hormonal, endocrine and reproductive disorders –Gonadotropins, oestrogens, androgens, progestins.  Thyroid drugs and blood glucose regulation (diabetes management).  Drugs affecting reproduction and growth- e.g. oxytocin, prostaglandins, corticosteroids.
  7. Dermatology - Oral and topical drugs used in a variety of conditions and species.
  8. Drugs that affect the eye and ear and their uses in various species
  9. Urinary system - Drug classes (diuretics) and uses; urolith preventative drug treatments; incontinence drugs.
  10. Overview of drugs used to relieve pain and inflammation
  11. Drugs used to treat various cancers and overview of immunosuppressants.


  • Internal: anthelmintics, antinematodals, antiprotozoals, and drugs for prevention and treatment of heartworm.
  • External: ectoparasiticides - classes, methods of application in companion and large animals.

Antimicrobial drugs

  • role and function of antimicrobials -- antibiotics antifungals antivirals and Antiparasitics.
  • bactericidal versus bacteriostatic antibiotics.
  • broad and narrow spectrum antibiotics.
  • antibiotic classes and examples -- mechanism of action.


  • local and general

Methods of Instruction

This course includes four hours of classroom instruction per week.

Means of Assessment

Quizzes and assignments               15 -  25%

Midterm exam                               20 – 30%

Group project and presentation        15 – 25%

Final Exam                                    30 – 35%


Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course students will:

  1. Better understand and be able to utilize pharmacology terminology and aspects of general pharmacology.
  2. Understand the process of drug development, marketing, drug prescribing and research.
  3. Be able to describe and understand the basic concepts of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.
  4. Utilise dosage calculations.                           
  5. Have reviewed the routes of drug administration used in veterinary medicine.
  6. Be familiar with the types of available CNS and ANS drugs and their effects on the nervous system.
  7. Be familiar with the types of available cardiovascular and respiratory drugs and their effects.
  8. Understand the use of commonly used anti-parasite drugs in a variety of species.
  9. Understand the use of antimicrobials in veterinary medicine.
  10. Be familiar with the types of gastrointestinal and urinary drugs available, their uses and their modes of action.
  11. Be familiar with drugs affecting muscle function, skin, reproductive and endocrine systems.
  12. Be familiar with local and general anaesthetics.
  13. Be familiar with the types of anti-inflammatory, analgaesic, ophthalmic and otic drugs and their uses.
  14. Be familiar with the uses and types of antineoplastic and immunosuppressive drugs.

course prerequisites

AHTT 1103 – Veterinary Care 1


AHTT 1101 – Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology 1


AHTT 1201 – Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology 1I

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.