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Veterinary Pharmacology

Course Code: VTEC 1204
Faculty: Science & Technology
Department: Veterinary Technology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: Winter
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. Practical applications of concepts for a variety of species are reviewed.

Course Content

The major topics in this course include the following:

  1. Terminology & concepts
    - definitions
    - drug development and marketing
    - toxic levels and safety zones
  2. Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics
    - getting in, moving around, changing, getting out
  3. Drugs by body system
    - central, peripheral, sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system drugs and reversal agents
    - cardiovascular system: positive inotropic drugs, anti-arrhythmic drugs, vasodilators, diuretics, anti-coagulants; treatment of congestive heart failure
    - respiratory system: expectorants, mucolytics, anti-tussives, bronchodilators and decongestants
    - musculoskeletal system: acetylcholine, acetylcholinesterase, NSAIDs, neuromuscular blockers, spasmolytics and anabolic steroids
    - gastrointestinal system: emetics, anti-emetics, anti-ulcer, anti-diarrhea, laxatives and prokinetic drugs
    - endocrine and reproductive systems: gonadotropins, estrogens, androgens, progestins, oxytocin, prostaglandins, corticosteroids, thyroid and adrenal gland modulators, blood glucose regulators; treatment of diabetes
    - integumentary system: antibiotics, anti-fungals, anti-inflammatories, topicals
    - ocular and aural systems: solutions, ointments, cleaners
    - urinary system: diuretics; incontinence drugs; treatment of chronic kidney disease
  4. Drug classes
    - analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs
    - anti-neoplastic and immunosuppresive drugs 
    - anti-parasitic drugs: anthelmintics, anti-nematodals, anti-protozoals, ectoparasiticides
    - antimicrobial drugs: bactericidal versus bacteriostatic, broad and narrow spectrum and mechanism of action
    - anesthetics: local and general

Methods of Instruction

This course involves four hours per week of classroom instruction.

Means of Assessment

The instructor will present a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester. A final minimum cumulative grade of “C” or 60% is required in order to pass this course. Evaluation will be based on quizzes and assignments, at least one midterm and a final written examination.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Use pharmacological terminology.
  2. Describe the process of drug development, marketing and research. 
  3. Explain Canadian dispensing and prescription label regulations.
  4. Describe the basic concepts of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.
  5. Calculate dosages of various drug formulations.
  6. List classes of nervous system and analgesic drugs (including anti-inflammatories) and explain their effects.
  7. Describe the uses of nervous system drugs for local and general anesthesia and analgesia.
  8. List classes of cardiovascular and respiratory drugs and explain their effects.
  9. List types of gastrointestinal and urinary drugs and explain their effects.
  10. List types of drugs that affect muscle function, skin, reproductive and endocrine systems and explain their effects.
  11. Discuss commonly used anti-parasitic drugs.
  12. Describe the types of ophthalmic and otic drugs, their uses and side effects.
  13. Describe the uses and types of antineoplastic and immunosuppressive drugs and their side effects.
  14. Discuss the use of antimicrobials in veterinary medicine.

course prerequisites

AHTT 1101 or VTEC 1101


AHTT 1103 or VTEC 1103 


MATH 1183


VTEC 1201

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.