Integrated Foundations Course


The overall objective of the Integrated Foundations Course (see detailed objectives) is to provide background information from traditional disciplines
  • anatomy,
  • biochemistry,
  • microbiology,
  • immunology,
  • physiology,
  • pharmacology and
  • pathology
required for the understanding of veterinary diseases and the processes causing them, in the context of clinical cases.

The Clinical Presentation (CP) model introduces students to the underlying concepts and information required to understand the basis for the development of clinical symptoms. The cases include a selection of common diseases or clinical conditions affecting those organ systems fundamental to the overall study of veterinary medicine. The primary and secondary cases of the Integrated Foundations Course involve the various systems, i.e.

  • respiratory,
  • cardiovascular, and
  • gastrointestinal
predominantly affected. The Integrated Foundation uses the Clinical Presentation approach but not a fully-fledged Clinical Presentation. Thus, the presentations in this course differ somewhat from those appearing in the Comparative Systems Course but do show some overlap.
For instance, in the Integrated Foundations Course, presentations involve specific species with secondary presentations created to accommodate the comparative dimension. The intent is to use a Clinical Presentation framework to present the underlying basic sciences. In contrast, the Clinical Presentations in the subsequent courses present a comprehensive taxonomy of veterinary medicine with integrated presentation of clinical and basic science.

A clinician presents students with an authentic clinical condition and focuses on eliciting the important signs and symptoms leading to a differential diagnosis and to the various basic science topics necessary for a complete understanding of the condition.

For example, in the first major case presentation, the students examine a cow (at a feedlot) with an elevated temperature, nasal discharge and lethargy. This leads them to a differential diagnosis (respiratory infection) and topics such as innate immunity and the febrile response.
The students receive an appreciation of the factors contributing to development of the disease through the differential diagnosis of these common conditions. Thus in the first major case presentation (shipping fever), they study details of the respiratory system to gain an appreciation of the factors contributing to development of infection and the specific agents primarily responsible. While a primary case always is the focus of the overall presentation, secondary cases relate to the organ system under discussion but are comparative in nature (avian air sac versus mammalian lung).

The clinician presents the material in formats most appropriate to the best learning experience for students. These include

  • lectures,
  • laboratories,
  • field trips,
  • small group discussions and
  • individual reading and study.
The students learn material in sufficient depth and breadth to have a solid underpinning of knowledge not only for the subsequent cases in the Integrated Foundation Course (IFC) but also for the Comparative Systems Course.

IFC SYSTEMS STUDIED (chronological order)
nasal discharge in a calf
bird with difficulty breathing
pig with a dry cough
decreased exercise tolerance in a dog
horse with a nosebleed
lameness in a horse
persistent lameness in a dog
horse with open skin wound
horse with large areas of skin lesions
cow with abnormal gait and unusual behaviour
dog with partial paralysis
chronically ill cat with persistent fever and poor appetite
week old calf with watery diarrhea and rapid respiration
pen of feedlot steers that are off-feed and showing abdominal pain
cat with abnormal thirst, excessive urination nausea and vomiting
increased drinking and urine production in a dog
horse with thick coat of wavy hair
dog with enlarged lymph nodes, excessive thirst and urination
infertility in cattle
vaginal discharge in a postpartum mare


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Online Curriculum | Pre-Clinical Courses Synopsis | Integrated Foundations Course | Integrated Foundations Course Objectives | Cases for Integrated Foundations Course | Comparative Systems Course | Cases for Comparative Systems Course |