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To evaluate the role of simulation models and previous surgical experience on subjective and objective stress levels of students performing their 1st elective surgery within the veterinary curriculum.


141 third-year veterinary students


Using a pre–post experimental design, salivary alpha-amylase, and cortisol were evaluated as markers of physiologic stress response before students’ first elective surgery. Student self-reported State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) scores and quantitative measures of experience were correlated to biomarker results.


No association was found for change in salivary biomarkers of stress, alpha-amylase, and cortisol, between baseline and presurgical samples accounting for gender, age, type of elective surgery performed, previous surgical experience, or simulation model use. Salivary cortisol levels were markedly elevated falling between the 66th and 99th percentile compared to an age and gender-matched population. Salivary alpha-amylase levels were also 2 to 3 times higher than those recorded by other health professionals. Veterinary student STAI scores were high falling between the 65th and 73rd percentile compared to working adults in the general population.


Veterinary students’ salivary cortisol, alpha-amylase, and STAI scores fell into the upper 2/3rds of the general population, demonstrating a high level of stress. Simulation models and previous surgical experience were not associated with decreased stress. Further evaluation of the implementation of high-fidelity simulation models and the role of stress on performance is indicated.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research



To evaluate a novel 2-catheter technique for urethral catheterization in female cats and small dogs and compare the time required for and success rates achieved by use of the novel technique versus traditional methods (blind technique in cats and digital palpation in dogs) as performed by personnel (catheter placers [CPs]) with different levels of experience in urinary catheter placement.


39 healthy sexually intact female animals (24 cats and 15 dogs weighing < 10 kg).


2 CPs were board certified in veterinary surgery, 1 of whom had experience with the novel technique, and the other did not. The third CP was a veterinary surgical intern who was unfamiliar with the novel technique. For each animal enrolled in the study, 1 CP performed catheterization with the novel technique and traditional methods. Data recorded included the time required for successful catheterization and whether a successful catheterization was achieved within a 3-minute time limit.


The overall success rates were 79.5% (31/39 animals) with the novel technique and 43.6% (17/39 animals) with traditional methods. Median times for successful catheter placement were 48 seconds for the novel technique and 41 seconds for traditional methods. Among CPs, success rates or times to successful catheter placement did not differ significantly.


Study results suggested that the novel 2-catheter technique for urethral catheterization may be a more efficient option than traditional methods for gaining access to the urinary bladder in cats and small dogs, particularly when patient size limits use of instrumentation or digital palpation.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research