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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Realistic Dog Model To Replace Cadavers

I came across this article last year, but never got around to writing about it.  It's pretty cool!

A company, SynDaver, has created realistic dog models for veterinary schools.  The intent is to replace cadavers used in veterinary studies, as well as live animal surgeries.  Here is a quote from the article:

The synthetic cadaver is made of water, fiber and salt. Each cadaver is anatomically correct and features lifelike fat, fascia planes, bones, muscles, ligaments, joints and all body systems.
The skinless dog not only mimics the feeling of living tissue but breathes, has a heartbeat and can be programmed to simulate various diseases and medical complications. The skin even bleeds when surgical cuts are made, since the cadaver has a circulatory system.

I would be very curious to try one of these out myself!  I love the idea, and agree with the concept of trying to reduce procedures done on living animals.  However, a surgery on a model, no matter how sophisticated, can't duplicate the feel and circumstances of a living animal.  Is it close enough to be comparable for training purposes?  I don't know, and I'm hopeful that it would be.  

Similar models are used in human medicine, so this may be something that would be very useful for veterinary students.  If nothing else it's a great step in the right direction, and shows how far technology has come, as well as where it can help us in the future.


  1. It must be extremely expensive however. And depending on how you get those cadavers, it's often not really an issue.
    I'm not sure how it works in other schools. But in the school I went to, all the cadavers where animal that where euthanized in pounds and shelters due to pet overpopulation or sick animals that the owner chose to euthanize and decided to donate to the school for education.
    Our practice spay and neuters where also on shelter animals, which where then put up for adoption.

  2. The company making them is trying to raise money to donate one or two to each US vet school, as they are indeed expensive. To me there are two reasons why you would want to use this kind of model. First, is an ethical issue. Some people don't approve of surgeries and other procedures on live animals who will be euthanized afterwards. The second reason is that with this kind of model you can control factors, giving the patient a disorder as part of training that a live patient may not have.

  3. It is very nice blog thanks for sharing. I really appreciate it thank you so much.

  4. A very, very, interesting concept, but as you note, cutting a model or a cadaver not the same as the real thing. Years ago I was supervising two veterinary students in a shelter setting doing some of their first spays and neuters. One was from Georgia, one was from Tufts. The Georgia student was making me very nervous, I was focusing my attention on her pretty much. I looked over at the Tufts student across the surgery suite and to my horror she had made a window in the mesentery and was about to clamp a section of small intestine, as she thought it was the ovarian pedicle. I shouted now and literally jumped across the suite to stop her, I said...."What about that looks like a uterus to you?" She confessed she had done the alternative surgical track and only done a cadaver spay and had never seen a living uterus. I gloved in and helped her sew up the mesentery and finish the spay.The Georgia student finished her spay uneventfully as it turned out. I then went to the shelter's medical director and said I never wanted to supervise two students at once again. Students are dangerous.


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