Duijvestijn MBHM, Van der Wiel BMWK, Vinke CM, Diaz Espineira MM, Bok HGJ, C M Vernooij J . Implementation of a Blended Learning Module to Teach Handling, Restraint, and Physical Examination of Cats in Undergraduate Veterinary Training . J Vet Med Educ. 2022 Oct;49(5):537-546

PMID: 34010113


Cats can be easily stressed in a clinical (training) setting and may show unpredictable reactions and patterns of defensive aggression. This can be a complicating factor in undergraduate veterinary training. Inexperienced veterinary students can evoke defensive feline behavior that negatively affects learning outcomes and animal welfare. As a result, restraint techniques and physical examination of cats was hardly practiced in pre-clinical training at Utrecht University. To overcome this, a new blended learning module was developed using a lecture on feline behavior; e-learning modules about feline behavior, handling, restraint, and physical examination skills; and redesigned practical sessions in which live animals and manikins were used. The aim of this study was to investigate how students' perceptions of competence and confidence changed regarding feline behavior, handling, restraint, and physical examination skills after the new module was implemented. Questionnaires were used for quantitative analysis, and focus groups were used for qualitative analysis. The results show that compared with students who followed the standard module, students who participated in the blended learning module scored higher in feeling confident with handling animals, feeling competent to perform physical examination on cats, and ability to assess whether a cat is stressed. Students with less experience with cats were more likely to show improvement in assessing a cat's stress level than students who had much experience with cats. The results demonstrate that the blended learning module improves students' learning outcomes regarding feline skills training and adds to reduction, refinement, and replacement of the use of live cats.