Training in animal handling for veterinary students at Charles Sturt University, Australia.J Vet Med Educ. 2007 Winter; 34(5):566-75.JV
Charles Sturt University in New South Wales, Australia, is responding to a national need for veterinarians with the skills and attributes to fulfill roles in rural practice and the large-animal industries. Rural practitioners must competently and confidently handle a range of large animals if they are to build a relationship of mutual trust with clients and deliver effective animal-health services. Training in animal handling begins in the first year of the course with highly structured small-group practical classes involving cattle, horses, sheep, dogs, cats, pigs, poultry, and laboratory animals (rats and mice). Other experiences with animals in the first three years build on basic animal-handling skills while performing other veterinary activities. Students who provide documented evidence of prior animal-handling experiences are admitted, and learning and teaching strategies aim to enhance skills and knowledge. Rigorous examinations use a competency-based approach prior to extramural placements on farms and in veterinary practices. A continuing process of evaluation, review, and refinement will ensure continual improvement and graduate veterinarians with strong skills in animal handling.