Evaluation of a humanvirtual-reality endoscopytrainer forteaching early endoscopy skills toveterinarians

Katherine E. McCool, Sally A. Bissett, Tracy L. Hill, Laurel A. Degernes, Eleanor C. Hawkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Competency in flexible endoscopy is a major goal of small animal internal medicine residency training programs. Hands-on laboratories to teach entry-level skills have traditionally used anesthetized laboratory dogs (live dog laboratory [LDL]).Virtual-reality endoscopy trainers (VRET) are used for this purpose in human medicine with the clear benefits of avoiding live animal use, decreasing trainee stress, and allowing repeated, independent training sessions. However, there are currently no commercially available veterinary endoscopy simulators.The purpose of the study was to determine whether a human VRET can be a reasonable alternative to a LDL for teaching early veterinary endoscopy skills. Twelve veterinarians with limited or no endoscopy experience underwent training with a VRET (n = 6) or a LDL (n = 6), performed two recorded esophagogastroduodenoscopies (EGD) on anesthetized dogs for evaluation purposes (outcomes laboratory), and then underwent training with the alternative method. Participants completed questionnaires before any training and following each training session. No significant differences were found between training methods based on: measured parameters from the outcomes laboratory, including duration of time to perform EGD; evaluators' assessment of skills; and, assessment of skills through blinded review of the esophageal portion of EGD recordings.TheVRET was less stressful for participants than the LDL (p = .02). All participants found that the VRET was a useful and acceptable alternative to the LDL for training of early endoscopy skills. Based on this limited study,VRET can serve as a reasonable alternative to LDL for teaching endoscopy skills to veterinarians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-116
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of veterinary medical education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for the simulator was provided through a competitive grant from North Carolina State University Educational Technology Funds.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 University of Toronto Press Inc.. All rights reserved.


  • Veterinary endoscopic training
  • Veterinary endoscopy
  • Veterinary simulation
  • Virtual-reality endoscopy trainer


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