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King Giving Circle ponies up for students

Horse model simulators lessen use of live animals

emma brown

Professor Emma Brown, Co-ordinator of the Veterinary Technician program, shows one of the horse model simulators purchased for the School of Animal Health to Jacqueline Boddaert of The Meadows Equine.

Bob the horse got a bit fidgety at one point as Sasha Miasik prepared to take blood from him. It was only a matter of a few seconds, though, before Bob settled and his blood was drawn skillfully by Miasik, a graduating Veterinary Technician student.

The live demo, along with another one done on a horse model simulator, was the highlight of the inaugural “impact meeting” of the King Township Women of Influence Giving Circle at the King Campus barn this week.

Thanks to a $10,000 gift from the Giving Circle last year, the School of Animal Health has purchased two horse model simulators that allow students to practise skills and techniques prior to being required to draw blood from a live animal.

“Poking them around is not a fun thing, but it’s something we have to learn so that in the future, we can save their lives,” Miasik said. “The best thing about the simulator is that you can practise on it to build your muscle memory. It gives you confidence.”


Bob the horse is petted by Pari Ghazi, Student Services Co-ordinator at King Campus, after finishing a demo with Sasha Miasik.

Injecting a two-inch needle into the horse’s jugular vein can be an intimidating task. If the needle goes into the artery instead, the horse will hit the ground.

“It can be a very frightening thing for students especially if they’ve never done it before,” said Professor Emma Brown, Co-ordinator of the Veterinary Technician program. “It’s a living and breathing animal and students have huge empathy for them. It’s a big barrier for some of them and they can panic for the first time.”

The horse model simulators are made with the right feel, texture and weight of a real horse. They are also equipped with fluid and fake blood.

“It’s so life-like, it helps students get past that mental barrier,” Brown said. “It gives them the safety and confidence they need and it reduces the use of live animals.”

The gift to purchase the simulators is lauded as “a tremendous investment” by King Councillor Avia Eek, a member of the Giving Circle.

“I was a bit nervous just being around Bob, who is a large animal,” she said. “By having the horse head models to train on, this will reduce potential stress on the students, allowing their confidence to build up as they perfect the technique required for this procedure and enabling them to care for the animals with lots of compassion.”

Denise Yeomans, a fellow Giving Circle member, agrees.

“This is a phenomenal tool for Seneca’s School of Animal Health to attract future students,” said Yeomans, Manager of Scotiabank in King City. “Scotiabank is proud to help young people reach their infinite potential with an investment like this.”


giving circle

Members of the King Women of Influence Giving Circle (from left): Maria May, Dean, Applied Arts and Health Sciences, Seneca; Debbie Schaefer, Councillor Ward 5, Township of King; Paula Perri, Administrator, The Rainmaker Team; Ellen Hoffman, retired librarian, York University; Khalen Meredith, Broker, Engel and Volkers; Tan-Ling Yeung, Director, Advancement and Alumni, Seneca; Kim Nichols, Sales Representative, Engel and Volkers; Kelly Mathews, Manager, Community Recreation and Facilities, Seneca; Denise Yeomans, Manager, Scotiabank; Lisa Iafrate, Entrepreneur, TaLii Towels; Avia Eek, Councillor Ward 6, Township of King.