Bristol University vet students use new 'cow machine'

Picture credit Tracy Dewey, University of Bristol
Image caption The two rectal simulators will enable students to learn around the clock

Veterinary students in Bristol are using an innovative machine to learn about the internal anatomy of a cow.

Bristol University has purchased two rectal simulators following donations, including from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Charitable Trust.

The Breed'n Betsy trainer will replace "six live animals" per student.

The metal frame simulators allow students to diagnose pregnancies, and carry out artificial insemination and embryo transfer.

Students can also use the system to teach themselves with the aid of guidance posters and have the freedom to practice whenever they want.

Real specimens

"Many of our students come in to try out the simulators," said Mike Steele, from the School of Veterinary Sciences.

"As a result, the first rectalling class with a new group of students is very much more successful.

"No student is in a cow for more than five minutes now and up to 90% leave the first session having felt a uterus, most differentiating whether pregnant or not."

The university has found that students are now more competent at an earlier stage and that the cows are affected to a minimal degree.

The Breed'n Betsy model can also allow the attachment of real specimens obtained from abattoir material to complete the realistic experience.

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