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This horrifying synthetic dog could revolutionise vet training

A realistic patient simulator in development aims to reduce the number of animals destroyed in veterinary schools.


For fairly obvious reasons, human medical practitioners aren't allowed to train on real patients. This is what the patient simulator is for: A training dummy that mimics real responses and can be programmed to replicate genuine scenarios.

For vets in training, the regulations aren't so rigid. While the practise has been declining in recent years, some training facilities make use of terminal labs, in which live animals are used for surgical training and dissection.

With its Synthetic Canine, SynDaver hopes to reduce this practise. After creating a synthetic human anatomy model with realistic organs, muscles, fat, veins and bones, it's turning to crowdfunding to do the same with a dog. SynDaver's hope is that, through crowdfunding, it will be able to give the dog models to veterinary schools that baulk at the price tag. So, while it looks like something out of John Carpenter's "The Thing," the Synthetic Canine is on track to save many animals from unnecessary deaths.

The company is seeking $24 million to build 1,000 models (20 each for the 49 accredited veterinary colleges around the world), putting the price at around $24,000 per dog. It seems a lot, but the models take several hundred man-hours each to build.

"Similar to living organisms, the synthetic model is made from water, fibres, and salts, which mimic the properties of living organisms. Our synthetic canine model includes nearly every bodily structure and anatomical component that is found in a living dog. This includes realistic skin, fat, bones, muscles, ligaments, fully articulating joints, and each of the bodily systems," the campaign page reads.

The model is compatible with all known imaging systems, as well as all known surgical techniques, and will allow veterinary students to practise a wide range of interventions without requiring a living animal.

You can find out more on the SynDaver website, and the Indiegogo campaign page, where you can also pledge your support.