Archived News

-USDA grant supports interactive case studies on food animals-

October 5, 2001

The University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine has completed three new Web-based lessons encouraging veterinary students to “travel” to international destinations, test their diagnostic skills, and explore new career paths in livestock and wildlife health topics. Real cases form the basis of problem-solving exercises as students:

  • Follow Saul Morfin (DVM, 1999) as he unravels a costly reproduction problem at a dairy cooperative in Mexico.
  • Trace the cause of sick horses and cattle found by Jonathan Arzt (DVM/MPVM, 1999) on mysterious Rapa Nui (Easter Island).
  • Join veterinarian Dewald Keet at Kruger National Park, Republic of South Africa, to improve management of bovine tuberculosis in Cape buffalo and wildlife.

Supported by the USDA Higher Education Challenge Grants Program, the exercises were developed by faculty experts at the School of Veterinary Medicine collaborating with veterinarians and scientists in Mexico, South America and Africa. Patricia Conrad, principal investigator, supervised the Kruger National Park lesson. The case studies are located at

Veterinary student experiences sponsored by the school’s Office of International Programs form the basis for two of the "modules." According to International Programs Director David Hird, "Travel broadens horizons, and all veterinarians face novel situations. These exercises provide engaging case material on a variety of topics and offer problem-solving tools that students can use throughout their careers."

Technical components of the project were crafted by the school’s Computer-Assisted Learning Facility. The team incorporated video clips, maps, clinical images, and an interactive question-and-answer format into the exercises. Students are guided through the processes of initial investigation, medical history, examination, diagnosis and treatment plan.

Plans are forming with Wildlife Information Network, a non-profit organization based in the United Kingdom, to produce compact discs of the program for distribution to wildlife veterinarians and veterinary schools worldwide.

UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is California’s prime resource for veterinary education and information on animal-related health topics, including food animal medicine, internation veterinary health, and veterinary medical aspects of ecosystem health.