Evaluation of a Human Virtual-Reality Endoscopy Trainer for Teaching Early Endoscopy Skills to Veterinarians. Academic Article uri icon


  • 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. The VRET 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.

published proceedings

  • J Vet Med Educ

altmetric score

  • 2.85

author list (cited authors)

  • McCool, K. E., Bissett, S. A., Hill, T. L., Degernes, L. A., & Hawkins, E. C

citation count

  • 7

complete list of authors

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

publication date

  • January 2020