Veterinary anatomy is often a source of trepidation for many students. Currently professional veterinary programs, similar to medical curricula, within the United States have no admission requirements for anatomy as a prerequisite course. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the impact of a week-long precourse in veterinary anatomy on both objective student performance and subjective student perceptions of the precourse educational methods. Incoming first year veterinary students in the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine professional curriculum were asked to participate in a free precourse before the start of the semester, covering the musculoskeletal structures of the canine thoracic limb. Students learned the material either via dissection only, instructor-led demonstrations only, or a combination of both techniques. Outcome measures included student performance on examinations throughout the first anatomy course of the professional curriculum as compared with those who did not participate in the precourse. This study found that those who participated in the precourse did significantly better on examinations within the professional anatomy course compared with those who did not participate. Notably, this significant improvement was also identified on the examination where both groups were exposed to the material for the first time together, indicating that exposure to a small portion of veterinary anatomy can impact learning of anatomical structures beyond the immediate scope of the material previously learned. Subjective data evaluation indicated that the precourse was well received and students preferred guided learning via demonstrations in addition to dissection as opposed to either method alone. Anat Sci Educ. (c) 2015 American Association of Anatomists.