Virtual Reality Anesthesia Training Platform

Veterinary Medicine Anesthesia Training Interactive Platform

At a Glance

Researchers at Colorado State University have developed a Virtual Reality Anesthesia training platform – currently in use with a pilot group here at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Virtual Reality (VR) is ideal for teaching and training in veterinary medicine.  Submerged in the realistic images and sounds of medical and surgical environments, simulated stressors allow students and professionals to practice and learn from their mistakes until diagnoses and treatments are mastered.

Traditional clinical-education models do not provide students the opportunity to practice all complications with supervised training – resulting in a number of preventable mortalities.  Participants of VR training can repeatedly (under safe but stressful circumstances) learn to make rational decisions and treatment plans applicable during real life emergencies.

Implementation of VR will not only decrease training costs and supplement continuing education opportunities, but also alleviate ethical concerns regarding the reduction of animals necessary for teaching.


Canine mortality generally ranges from 0.12 – 1.33% but can reach 17.33% depending on location, participants, and complications.  With veterinarian anesthesia training between 2-3 weeks, supplemented with on-the-job practice, a reduction in anesthesia related mortality is achievable with greater and more complex training situations. But the financial burden to expand training is heavy, with increasing demands of animals and instructors.  In the US alone, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accredits more than 250 programs to train DVMs and technicians alike – not to mention the 200,000 required to participate in continuing education to maintain licensure (and predicted to rise 2-3% annually).

Similarly, the Department of Defense has education and training gaps specifically in veterinary anesthesia for forward-deployed military working dogs as officers and animal care specialists have limited opportunities to train.  In combat or austere areas of operations injured working dogs receive the highest level of resuscitative care, often in the absence of military veterinary personnel.

The commonality across varying fields remains the inability to capture life-threatening patient scenarios.


Using both state-of-the-art computer engineering and veterinary expertise, this cross-disciplinary project creates technology benefiting veterinarians, students, military personnel, continuing education trainees, and countless animal patients.  VR offers cheaper, direct and interactive training opportunities unobtainable through traditional educational methods – consequently improving learning outcomes, standardizing anesthetic training, and creating more confident and adept medical professionals.  Mistakes made through VR simulations do not have real-life consequences, making this technology ideal for medical training.  Statistically, with learning failures leading to a higher degree of transferable skills and deeper knowledge, the VR platform has a global market with countless opportunities in neighboring fields.


  • Decrease training costs
  • Reduce purpose-bred or colony animals used in training
  • Reduce anesthesia-related mortality
  • Alleviate curriculum and cost limitations
  • Review knowledge, maximize retention and improve performance
  • Ability to practice complications
  • Improve learning outcomes
  • Standardize anesthetic training
  • Up to date with educational technology
  • Direct and interactive continuing education opportunity


  • Veterinary Anesthesia Training
  • Can be expanded for other uses in vet and clinical settings
Last Updated: February 2020


IP Status

US Provisional Patent
Copyright / Software


Pedro Boscan

Reference Number