The valuable contribution of surveillance activity to veterinary undergraduate teaching
In the summer of 2018 a Blonde d’Aquitaine bull was sent for surveillance post-mortem examination (PME) at the University of Surrey Veterinary Pathology Centre.
Our final year Veterinary Medicine students were in the Centre for their pathology rotation, at this time, and were invited to attend this post-mortem investigation carried out by our Veterinary Investigation Officer, Dr. Pernille Jorgensen.
The students had the chance to follow the case through each of its phases including:
- History investigation
- Post-mortem examination
- Sample collections
- Further laboratory investigations.
Dr Jorgensen also highlighted the role of the Veterinary Investigation Officer in surveillance and their impact and importance in animal health and welfare.
We would really like a session dedicated to surveillance PMEs, why they are done, on which animals they are performed and their cost, conditions, requirements, etc
The experience was very well received by the students with multiple requests for additional surveillance cases during their respective rotations. Surveillance cases are turning out to be a popular choice among undergraduate vet students for their final post-mortem case report – a requirement for the final assessment of this rotation.
The students’ increased appreciation of surveillance was expressed in the feedback we received on the rotation. For example:
“We would really like a session dedicated to surveillance PMEs, why they are done, on which animals they are performed and their cost, conditions, requirements, etc.”
“We would really appreciate it if we could include in future rotations a section on surveillance case review with a few cases.”
“A couple of surveillance cases rather than just one and more time spent on it would be appreciated.”
In response to this, we prepared and delivered a session on surveillance including case reviews and diagnostic microbiology tests. This will be rolled out for all future pathology rotations. In addition, the students were encouraged to assist the Veterinary Investigation Officer with additional surveillance cases referred to the University of Surrey's Veterinary Pathology Centre during their rotation period.
The surveillance activity carried out at the Veterinary Pathology Centre offers a great teaching and learning opportunity for all veterinary students. During these sessions, they not only experience the Veterinary Investigation Officer work, but get to use and test their PME skills, as well as their knowledge, decision making and problem-solving skills. As a result of this experience, they also better understand the role of the vet, both as a referral vet and Veterinary Investigation Officer, and the importance of farm animal disease investigation. Practical involvement seems to be one of the most engaging and effective ways to teach the importance and the impact of conducting surveillance to monitor and protect the health and welfare of national livestock.