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Objectives—To determine perceptions of veterinary technical and professional skills among veterinary students and recent graduates.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Sample Population—281 students and 142 recent graduates from the Ontario Veterinary College.

Procedure—A survey was designed and administered to first- through fourth-year students and veterinarians who had graduated either 1 or 6 years before survey administration.

Results—Overall response rate was 70%. Learning about technical and professional skills was highly valued. Most participants felt they had not received instruction about professional skills, but those who had felt more competent about them. Perceptions of competence increased slightly with increased comfort discussing emotional veterinary issues with instructors. Neither gender nor increased age was related to increased feelings of competence. Almost all fourth-year students felt competent and comfortable about examining an animal with the client present, assessing suffering, diagnosing parvovirus infection, performing surgery, and working as group members. However, many did not feel competent or comfortable about delivering bad news, setting time limits yet providing quality service, helping clients with limited funds make treatment decisions, dealing with demanding people, and euthanasia. Feelings of competence and comfort were closely related but were not identical.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In the interests of best preparing entry-level veterinarians, technical and professional skills need to be emphasized in a learning environment where students feel comfortable discussing emotional veterinary issues. A professional skills curriculum addressing underlying selfawareness, communication, and interpersonal issues, as well as procedural matters, would likely increase the proportion of fourth-year students who feel competent and comfortable about professional skills by the end of their undergraduate training. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;219:924–931)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Experimental and field trials were conducted to evaluate an elisa for its ability to detect Trichinella-infected domestic swine and to compare elisa results with muscle-digestion test results. The elisa used was a commercial double-antibody kit, containing an excretory-secretory antigen, and was evaluated principally for epidemiologic use. Experimentally induced infection in swine (4 groups of 3 pigs each; inoculated with 0, 50, 500 or 5,000 larvae) was detected as early as postinoculation week 4, with seroconversion of all inoculated swine by postinoculation week 8. The rate of seroconversion appeared to be affected by initial larval dose, time after inoculation, and immunocompetence of the individual host. Determination of antibody kinetics generally revealed rapidly increasing antibody titer, followed by its steady decrease in most pigs. Once seropositive, however, all pigs remained seropositive for the duration of the 10-week study. Presence of muscle larvae was confirmed in all infected pigs at termination of the study. We recognize that the experimental conditions may not be truly representative of those under which natural infection develops in pigs; however, the elisa detected an infected pig with muscle larval density of 0.87 larvae/g of tissue. Results of a field trial (n = 310) indicated no muscle digestion test-positive pigs (35 g of diaphragm muscle digested/pig), but 3 samples tested positive by elisa for specificity of 99.0%.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research