Med. Weter. 76 (1), 5-10, 2020

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Modern techniques of teaching bovine rectal palpation: opportunities, benefits and disadvantages of new educational devices
Rectal palpation has been an integral part of a clinical examination of large animals. This seemingly easy technique can pose certain difficulties for veterinarians and therefore requires considerable training. The rectal examination course included in the traditional program of veterinary studies is mainly based on practical classes with live animals. However, there is a common belief that the use of live patients is burdened with certain disadvantages in the form of a lack of control over the student’s actions. What is more, a rectal palpation can have a negative effect on the animal organism. Following the increased focus on animal welfare in society and taking into account both ethical and medical concerns, a number of alternative teaching devices have appeared on the market in order to replace or significantly reduce the participation of live animals in the didactic process. Breed’n Betsy – one of the first simulators – is used to teach the diagnosis of the oestrus cycle and pregnancy phase as well as the artificial insemination or the embryo transfer. The appliance was soon followed by more technically advanced didactic equipment. Simulators, such as Haptic Cow, use virtual reality and haptic technology. The computer-generated, virtual objects representing the cow’s anatomical structure are displayed on the screen. This technique enables the tutor to follow student’s movements “inside the cow” and provide them with immediate instructions. Numerous studies indicate that the use of simulators, integrated with the traditional teaching techniques, brings highly satisfactory results.
Keywords: rectal examination, virtual simulators, cows