Letters to the Editor

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Using YouTube to share teaching resources

More than 90% of veterinary students and veterinarians in Germany use the Internet at least daily,1 and Internet use is widespread in the veterinary profession, particularly among its younger members.2 Therefore, the Internet provides an ideal platform for hosting learning resources, including videos. In the United States, YouTube videos are commonly used for teaching and learning,3 and YouTube has been used to publish clinical skills training videos for medical students.4

The University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover Foundation (TiHo) established the Clinical Skills Laboratory in 2013, with stations developed to cover a range of veterinary skills, such as suturing, bandaging, and performing injections. Videos were developed to demonstrate the techniques and enhance student learning, and a decision was subsequently made to post these videos online as an open educational resource. All of the videos were recorded in German at the Clinical Skills Laboratory in Hannover, but selected videos were translated into English, with voiceovers recorded at the University of Bristol School of Veterinary Sciences.

In total, 60 videos, including 16 videos in English, have been uploaded to the TiHoVideos YouTube channel. The videos are available to the public and licensed under a Creative Commons license allowing reuse for noncommercial purposes, providing the authors are attributed and the work is not altered.

Analysis of usage data provided by Google Analytics for the period from April 27, 2012, when the TiHoVideos YouTube channel was launched, through May 31, 2014, indicated that there were 111,610 views (with a view defined as an estimated time watched ≥ 1 minute) from 166 countries. The TiHoVideos channel had 351 subscribers from 58 countries.

The 4 most popular English-language videos were “Vertical mattress suture pattern” (9,290 views), “IV injection in a dog limb simulator” (5,124 views), “Foot bandaging in dogs and cats” (3,998 views), and “Simple interrupted suture” (3,015 views). From May 1 through May 31, 2014, 12,965 views were documented, with most views coming from Germany (6,211 [48%]), followed by the United States (1,289 [9.9%]), Austria (658 [5.1%]), Switzerland (465 [3.6%]), and the United Kingdom (434 [3.3%]).

Overall, the Google Analytics data indicated that the clinical skills videos have been extensively viewed, with an increasingly worldwide uptake. Unsurprisingly, the English-language videos attracted considerably more views and views from a larger range of countries than did the equivalent versions in German, even though they had been available for a shorter period.

Creation of these videos was expensive, and because the project was publicly funded, it was considered important to ensure that the videos were accessible to a wide range of people, including veterinary students and veterinary nursing students around the world. The project aims are in keeping with the European Commission's goal of supporting open learning content through its Opening Up Education initiative.5 To encourage more widespread use, particularly in English-speaking and other international veterinary schools, a number of presentations at conferences are scheduled.

Importantly, although there may seem to have been no tangible benefit to the TiHo associated with producing the English-language versions of these videos, their production has resulted in more widespread use of this learning resource and this should in turn enhance the public image of both participating veterinary schools and raise their international profile in veterinary medical education.

The videos are being viewed by many people worldwide in both languages, providing learners with accessible, free resources. The ongoing development of English-language videos will hopefully encourage further use for teaching in other veterinary medical institutions.

Elisabeth Schaper, dr med vet

Jan P. Ehlers, dr med vet

Competence Centre for e-Learning, Didactics and Education Research in Veterinary Medicine

University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover Foundation Hannover, Germany

Marc Dilly, phd

Clinical Skills Laboratory University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation Hannover, Germany

Emma Crowther, bvsc

Sarah Baillie, bvsc, phd

School of Veterinary Sciences University of Bristol Bristol, England

  • 1. Tenhaven C, Tipold A, Fischer MR, et al. Is there a Net generation in veterinary medicine? A comparative study on the use of the Internet and Web 2.0 by students and the veterinary profession. GMS Z Med Ausbild 2013;30(1): Doc7.

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  • 2. Dale VHM, Kinnison T, Short N, et al. Web 2.0 and the veterinary profession: current trends and future implications for lifelong learning. Vet Rec 2011; 169: 467.

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  • 3. Smith HM. Global connections via YouTube: Internet video as a teaching and learning tool. In: Biamonte N, ed. Pop-culture pedagogy in the music classroom: teaching tools from American Idol to YouTube. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press, 2011.

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  • 4. Topps D, Helmer J, Ellaway R. YouTube as a platform for publishing clinical skills training videos. Acad Med 2013; 88: 192197.

  • 5. European Commission. The Opening up Education initiative. Available at: openeducationeuropa.eu/en/initiative. Accessed Mar 26, 2014.

Emergency preparedness in Florida

Florida is quite active when it comes to emergency preparedness, and governmental and nongovernmental agencies conduct emergency preparedness workshops and exercises throughout the state several times each year. A recent workshop coordinated by the Florida State Agricultural Response Team examined issues related to decontamination and emergency sheltering of pets exposed to flood waters during a hurricane. A total of 103 individuals from 14 federal, state, and local agencies as well as several nongovernmental agencies participated.

Prior to the workshop, the planning team decided that prerequisites for participation would include having basic training in the National Incident Management and Incident Command systems, medical clearance from a doctor or occupational health office to perform duties assigned during the workshop, and, for individuals who would be handling animals, current tetanus and rabies vaccination status. Of the 103 workshop participants, 73 had a current tetanus vaccination status (ie, had been vaccinated within the past 10 years), 28 had an unknown tetanus vaccination status, and 2 had been vaccinated but > 10 years previously. Only 14 of the participants had a current rabies vaccination status (ie, had been vaccinated within the past 2 years or had an acceptable antirabies antibody titer), 53 had an unknown rabies vaccination status or had never been vaccinated, and 36 had been vaccinated at some time but had not had their antibody titers measured in the past 2 years.

Planners assumed prior to the workshop that participants who were routinely exposed to animals in their daily jobs would be the most likely to have a current rabies vaccination status, but this did not turn out to be true. Animal control officers and shelter staff were the least likely to be current, and federally employed individuals were the most likely. The high cost of preexposure rabies vaccination may have contributed to the low rabies vaccination rate, especially given that state and local budgets have been shrinking.

One of the most important issues in responding to emergencies is providing for the safety of responders. This includes ensuring not only that responders have the training to perform the duties required but also that they are physically and medically cleared to perform those duties. Over the past decade, an effort has been made by governmental and nongovernmental agencies to develop a credentialing process for animal emergency responders that would define minimum training, experience, and physical fitness standards. Establishing a nationally recognized credentialing process would help ensure that animal emergency responders have the requisite qualifications when responding to an incident and would help agencies work together when responding to large-scale and long-duration events. Working groups were formed and draft documents were created, but in the past year, the working groups were disbanded.

We encourage the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other agencies with statutory authority to continue the process of developing a credentialing process for animal emergency responders and to coordinate with the CDC and state departments of health. Collaboration with nongovernmental animal response coalitions such as the National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition and the Florida State Animal Response Coalition is also necessary because these groups provide the bulk of responders during animal emergency incidents. In addition, as we found during the recent Florida workshop, strategies for increasing compliance with immunization requirements for animal emergency responders are desperately needed.

Kendra E. Stauffer, dvm

Veterinary Services APHIS USDA Gainesville, Fla

John S. Haven

College of Veterinary Medicine University of Florida Gainesville, Fla

John E. Crews, dvm, ms

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Tallahassee, Fla

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