ST. KITTS, WEST INDIES — Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine has joined a growing list of veterinary colleges, including those at Tufts and Oklahoma State universities, that no longer perform terminal surgeries.
Ross officials attribute the change to two years of ongoing evolution within the surgical department.
Dr. Michael Lorenz, veterinary school dean at Oklahoma State, said doing away with terminal surgeries had been in the making for several years at OSU, but lack of funding kept it from becoming reality.
At Ross, faculty members combined large- and small- animal surgery laboratory courses into one continuous course spread over two semesters, teaching basic surgical techniques using models, cadaveric specimens and animal models.
"Following successful completion of a competency examination, students are allowed to perform anesthesia and basic surgical techniques on animals, including client-owned animals in the community practice, and on sheep and donkeys," according to a prepared statement from the veterinary school.
"No terminal procedures are performed and procedures on live animals are minimally invasive or non-invasive procedures, such as cast and bandage applications."
The six board-certified surgical faculty members, each with 20 or more years' experience, developed these and other changes to the surgery curriculum, such as a new clinical- skills laboratory, where students are involved in the laboratory as early as the first semester to learn basic instrument handling and suturing.
Supervised laboratory exercises are added every semester, aimed at building on previously learned skills.
In addition to those changes, the anatomy faculty decided on the combined large- and small- animal anatomy program as a two-semester, cross-species course.
These changes are meant to reduce the use of cadavers and devote student effort in learning practical anatomy applied to clinical medicine and surgery.
They also will reduce time spent dissecting and locating anatomic structures, according to the veterinary school's prepared statement.