Pharmacology and Toxicology


2 CFU (24 hours)


Students will be introducted to basics of pharmacology and on the use and adverse effect of drugs in large marine vertebrates. Focus will be given on characteristics of drugs which are used during strandings, in rehabilitation centres and in animals under human care. Their clinical application are outside the aims of this course and will be discussed in the courses of "Risk and health management of large marine vertebrates under human care" and "Management of strandings". 



  • Pharmaco- and toxicokintetics principles
  • Pharmaco- and toxicodinamics principles
  • Routes of drugs administration
  • Dosing of drugs
  • Drugs classes: antibiotics, antiparasitics, antifungals, anti-inflammatories
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Anesthesia
  • Euthanasia
  • Collateral effects of drugs


Students will be introducted to the characteristics of main toxicants impacting large marine vertebrates health. Both natural and anthropogenic compounds will be considered, and special attention will be given to their adverse, long-term effects.  



  • Movement of toxicant in the environment and bioavailability
  • Concept of accumulation and biomagnification
  • Legacy contaminants: trace elements, PCBs, PBDEs, organochlorine compounds
  • Novel compounds: poly- and perfluoroalkil compounds, marine litter, microplastics
  • Oil
  • Algal toxins
  • Immunotoxic effects 
  • Reproductive effect
  • Other adverse effects
  • Sampling in toxicology


Dr. Annalisa Zaccaroni