A teaching tool has been developed using a PHANTOM® 1.5 to train veterinary students to palpate cows to diagnose pregnancy and perform fertility examinations. The PHANTOM has been placed inside a fiberglass model of the rear half of a cow to help make the learning environment more realistic.


In traditional training, when the student examines a real cow his or her actions are not visible, which makes learning and teaching very difficult. During the simulator training sessions, as the student palpates the virtual anatomical structures the instructor follows the movements inside the cow on the computer monitor and therefore can provide directions. The simulations have been created by an experienced veterinarian and now include a wide range of models: the normal reproductive tract, pregnancies, and some unusual cases.


Research has validated the simulator as a teaching tool. Veterinarians have evaluated the virtual models as reasonably realistic representations of the same structures in the cow. Work also demonstrated that simulator training had beneficial effects on students' subsequent performance examining cows. A further study demonstrated the feasibility of integration into a curriculum and teaching with the simulator is now included as part of the farm animal course at the University of Glasgow Veterinary School. Installations of the simulator are also at the Royal Veterinary College in London and at the University of Nottingham Veterinary School - the oldest and the newest schools in the UK.


The "Haptic Cow" simulator is being marketed by Virtalis Limitedacross the EU, the US and the Rest of the World.

Further simulations are being developed to represent clinical scenarios in other species. These include an equine colic simulation as well as versions for clinical examinations of small animals. The simulator is also being used to investigate various aspects of the performance, teaching and learning of palpation based skills.

For more information visit:  http://www.hapticcow.com and http://www.live.ac.uk/our-work/haptic-cow

Article by Sarah Baillie MRCVS

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