Bovine rectal palpation is a necessary skill for a veterinary student to learn. However, lack of resources and welfare issues currently restrict the amount of training available to students in this procedure. Here we present a virtual reality based teaching tool ‐ the Bovine Rectal Palpation Simulator ‐ that has been developed as a supplement to existing training methods. When using the simulator, the student palpates virtual objects representing the bovine reproductive tract, receiving feedback from a PHANToM haptic device (inside a fibreglass model of a cow), while the teacher follows the student's actions on the monitor and gives instruction. We present a validation experiment that compares the performance of a group of traditionally trained students with a group whose training was supplemented with a simulator training session. The subsequent performance in the real task, when examining cows for the first time, was assessed with the results showing a significantly better performance for the simulator group.
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