top of page

Reflection on Anatomy Knowledge

A perfect knowledge and understanding of anatomical structures within an animal body forms an essential part of veterinary physiotherapist skills package. It is a fundamental for diagnosing and it is critical in targeting a specific structure when setting up a rehabilitation plan. As Smith and Mathias (2011) suggested, anatomy knowledge is best acquired in clinical settings. Granger (2004) argued that dissections are highly beneficial in facilitating of the learning experience. Similarly, Flack and Nicholson (2018) noted that besides being a valuable learning tool, students appreciated how dissections enforce professional teamwork as well as coping with death.

The first course dissection took place in October and was a dissection of the horse’s spine. As part of preparation for the dissection, I familiarised myself with the structures involved to be able to better understand what I am seeing during the dissection. Although I found it quite challenging to identify muscles I have previously only seen on a paper, I truly appreciated the session and I found it particularly helpful as it efficiently combined the theory with practice (Parker, 2002; Johnson, 2002). Unfortunately, due to the government restrictions following Covid-19, the following dissection sessions were postponed until the end of semester, thus we were forced to support our learning in another way. I have followed the recommended anatomy books, watched dissection videos available online and draw own pictures of anatomical landmarks to aid visualisation and memorisation of the learned material (Pandey and Zimitat, 2007). During the Christmas break I secured a short work experience with a local small animal vet which allowed me to further supplement my practical anatomy knowledge by observing and assisting in surgeries. Besides the musculoskeletal system, I also had a chance to see and identify some inner organs during ovariohysterectomy in Rottweiler suffering from pyometra (Hagman, 2017) and about the pre and post-surgical procedures. Nevertheless, my learning is strongly affected by the current COVID-19 restrictions as I feel like the lack of practical sessions and palpations slightly slowed my learning progress. As anatomy is such an important component of the overall veterinary physiotherapist knowledge, I have added regular revising into my Personal Development Plan.


Flack, N.A.M.S., Nicholson, H.D. (2018) What do medical students learn from dissection? Anatomical Sciences Education. 11(4), 325–335.

Granger, N.A. (2004) Dissection laboratory is vital to medical gross anatomy education. The Anatomical Record Part B: The New Anatomist. 281B(1), 6–8.

Hagman, R. (2017) Canine pyometra: What is new? Reproduction in Domestic Animals. 52(S2), 288–292.

Johnson, J.H. (2002) Importance of dissection in learning anatomy: Personal dissection versus peer teaching. Clinical Anatomy. 15(1), 38–44.

Pandey, P., Zimitat, C. (2007) Medical students’ learning of anatomy: memorisation, understanding and visualisation. Medical Education. 41(1), 7–14.

Parker, L.M. (2002) Anatomical dissection: Why are we cutting it out? Dissection in undergraduate teaching. ANZ Journal of Surgery. 72(12), 910–912.

Smith, C.F., Mathias, H.S. (2011) What impact does anatomy education have on clinical practice? Clinical Anatomy. 24(1), 113–119.



bottom of page