Animal mannequins have heartbeat, give birth and even poo – all to aid vet training

They have a heartbeat, they give birth and they even poo - but they're not real.

A Waikato design business is forging a name for itself by creating animal mannequins for vet and artificial insemination training.

From birthing cows to camels - and even a dog to practise x-ray techniques.

Designer Mike Williams never thought he would end up making cows backsides and he can see the funny side.

He was initially approached by LIC, an agritech company, to create a cow they could use to teach artificial insemination.

He thought it would be easy, but says five years later he had the design about right.

Now that template is being used to make "Henrietta" cows for countries all around the world.

A container load are lined up in the Hamilton warehouse headed for Germany at the end of the month.

And Massey University is using the mannequins to train vets.

"We cant get enough of them," says Senior Lecturer  Stuart Gordon.

He says the students can practise a clinical skill without actually harming a live animal and by the time they do treat real animals, they've mastered the technique.

"We have increasing numbers of vets and fewer animals to train on."

The animal mannequins are getting more sophisticated. The workshop is using augmented reality computer programmes as teaching tools, and is keen to expand its repertoire.

Waikato designer Mike Williams says he never saw himself making lifelike artificial animals, but he’s now producing cows, dogs and even a camel. Source: Sunday