28 March 2011

Hands-in training for veterinarians

Growing up on the cow farm, I always had quite a bit of respect for the veterinarians who would visit from time to time to help out with a sick or, more likely, birthing bovine. I even thought I might want to be a vet someday.

Today, I'm glad I didn't go down that route. Meet the rectal simulator:

Dubbed Breed’n Betsy, this metal-framed simulator with a latex back-end and internal organs allows students to perfect their pregnancy-testing, artificial-insemination, and embryo-transferring techniques before they touch a living cow. After you put on your lubricated glove, you just plunge your hand into the cow and feel around to learn the positions of latex uteri, ovaries, and cervixes. There are also upgrades: A water-filled acrylic tube simulates real-cow temperatures, and you can switch out the latex organs for real ones from your local slaughterhouse (oh goodie!). So after you’ve grown comfortable performing rectal exams on this Frankensteinian mishmash of organs, you can confidently do the same to a living, breathing bovine.

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