Photo: Animals in Teaching
Equine exams being taught to first-year veterinary students at the Ira M. “Gary” Gourley Clinical Teaching Center.

Animals in Teaching

Since animal health care is the primary focus of veterinary medical training programs, appropriate use of animals for instruction is essential to the acquisition of knowledge and the development of diagnostic and therapeutic skills. All student actions and interactions with patients, animals donated or purchased specifically for instruction, or specimens, must demonstrate respect and compassion for their being and their unique contributions to student education. 

For core courses in the DVM curriculum, completion of laboratory exercises involving animals or animal specimens is a requirement for satisfactory completion of the course. In most instances, alternate options that permit use of "suitable source" animals or specimens are available for these courses. Where appropriate, academically sound alternatives such as software applications and models have been, and continue to be, developed to replace the use of animals in the curriculum. The school maintains colonies of dogs, cats, and horses so students are able learn non-invasive skills and procedures. Where appropriate, enrichment programs provide exercise and companionship for these animals. For example, veterinary students “adopt” the teaching colony dogs for the year and are responsible for exercise, companionship, obedience training and providing the dogs with the skills needed to be a responsible society member once adopted from the colony.