Design and Validation of a Three-Dimensional Printed Flexible Canine Otoscopy Teaching Model

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A teaching model was sought to improve canine otoscopy skill and reduce use of teaching dogs.


An otoscopy teaching model was printed in a flexible medium on a desktop three-dimensional printer from a magnetic resonance image of a canine external ear canal. The model was mounted in a polyvinyl dog mannequin. Validation of the teaching model was sought from student, faculty, and dog perspective. Student perception of prelaboratory training was assessed using a survey regarding their experience. Otoscopy skill was assessed by faculty grading the ear anatomy visualized as well as the time required to prepare for and perform otoscopy and the time to the dog's first sign of aversion. The time data were used to assess whether there was a reduction in use of teaching dogs. Data from students exposed to the otoscopy model as part of their prelaboratory training (n = 20) were compared with those that were not exposed to the model (n = 19).


The students found prelaboratory training with the model significantly more helpful than prelaboratory training without the model in all aspects of otoscopy (P < 0.05). Use of the model did not alter otoscopy skill (structures seen or time taken) or decrease dog use.


The students found the model helpful, but the best that can be said is the model did not negatively impact their otoscopy skill acquisition. Although the outcome of the study did not indicate a reduction in teaching dog use, the model has replaced live dog otoscopy in the institute's teaching program for initial canine otoscopy exposure.

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