June 15, 2018
King Giving Circle ponies up for students
Horse model simulators lessen use of live animals
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.”
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.”