Simulation tools hold a unique place in veterinary training because they allow students to experience true-to-life animal encounters in an ethical and controlled way. The Anatomy Table and SimHorse are two high-tech tools at faculty disposal.

High Fidelity Simulator

Designed to train students in large animal anesthesia, SimDonkey offers students a consistent, simulated learning experience. Simdonkey is a prototype donkey manikin that builds on the success of SimMan technology, repositioning its electronic components and pneumatic modules to reflect the animal’s anatomy. Ultimately, this project will offer a high-fidelity anesthesia simulator for veterinary students to reduce cost and mitigate the ethical implications related to teaching anesthesia on live animals.

SimDonkey, currently in a testing phase, has been presented at three conferences: The Association for Medical Education in Europe Conference, The Ninth World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences; and Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine’s Invest Conference. The target date for use is early 2015.

Anatomy Table

The Anatomy Table is a high-tech simulation tool that displays the bodily systems of a canine through the use of large-scale touchscreen technology. Students can view each of the systems individually, or select just a few to see how they work in concert. For example, with all the systems turned on, students can “strip away” the skin to reveal the muscular system beneath and so on; alternatively, with just the cardiovascular system enacted, students will see the heart, arteries, and veins isolated and in detail.

Eventually, this technology will also include surgical simulation, which enhances the ethical treatment of animals during the learning phase, and ensures that students are better oriented to performing such procedures before performing them on animals.