Veterinary school is going high-tech. First, we showed you the simulator designed to help veterinary students learn where to place the needle when administering joint injections. Now, German researchers have presented a jugular vein injection simulator designed to help promote equine welfare while helping veterinary students master injection skills before working with a live horse.

Using a life-size, lifelike model of a horse head and neck with “blood” running through one of its jugular veins, veterinary students can now practice jugular vein puncture repeatedly without causing pain to a living horse, said Uta Delling, DrMedVet., MS, Dipl. ACVS, ECVS, associate surgeon at the University of Leipzig’s Large Animal Clinic for Surgery.

“Until now, veterinary students have had to practice jugular vein injection on living horses starting with the very first try,” Delling said. It isn’t possible to practice injecting jugular veins on cadavers because the veins have no blood and are therefore deflated.

“The horses wiggle and jump; it hurts a little bit,” she said. “Some of the horses are very patient and will stand still through several trials. But after a while even the quietest ones won’t tolerate it anymore.”

Practicing with live horses has become an increasingly more significant welfare issue as fewer horses are available to veterinary hospitals, said Delling. In some parts of Europe, as many as 14 to 15 students might need to practice on a single horse.

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