Intubation Tubes Used On Cats For Pediatric Medicine Training

Intubation tubes are being inserted into cats at the University of Virginia for the purpose of pediatric medicine training. I couldn’t believe this story when I came across it on the internet. THIS should fall under animal cruelty!

For those of you who don’t know, endotracheal intubation is a procedure used to secure an air path for someone unable to breath on their own.

The cats are part of the education process for students of pediatric medicine at the University of Virginia. These cats have intubation tubes stuck down their throats, sometimes 15-20 times a day. These cats are fully conscious and the same cat may be used for educational purposes for many years.

University spokesperson Carol Wood said in a letter to The Daily Progress that the University of Virginia does have these computer models and supposedly only uses the cats for training when a simulator wouldn’t be effective. One such instance in on an infant weighing under four pounds.

Dr. Alix Paget-Brown, principal investigator on the university procedure, notes that the computerized simulators don’t have working tongues to give a realistic indication on how a live subject would react during an intubation procedure. Thus, cat subjects are needed to show realistic gagging while being trained.

I really don’t want to picture this in my head. Sorry Doc. I’d also have my doubts the training using cats is only being done when absolutely necessary. I’m not there in there residency program so I can’t verify this one way or the other.

I’m sorry, University of Virginia. I just don’t understand why your residency program chooses to use live cats and kittens. Cats and kittens are NOT human infants and are not going to react as human infants would when this procedure is “practiced” on them. I wonder if any of the residency students have voiced any concerns over this issue. Like “how is tormenting a cat going to teach me to save babies?” Does the student fail the course if he/she refuses to intubate the cat?

I feel this should be classified as animal cruelty. Anyone who has had a breathing tube inserted before a test or surgical procedure can tell you of the deep sore throat pain and irritation the tubes leaves. These tubes can leave scarring, bruising, bleeding, permanent injury and long-term pain in the throat.

Roughly 95% of pediatric residency programs in the U.S. as well as Canada now use human based medical simulation. These simulators are realistic, more accurate, and most importantly, no cats or humans are injured in the name of education. Universities which include Johns Hopkins and Yale have moved on and use these computer simulators of babies. These computerized babies cry, breathe and turn blue until an intubation tube is correctly inserted. I feel confident the residents can learn how to move around a premature baby’s tongue to insert the breathing tube without having to practice on cats.

CPR classes now all use computerized dummies. To me, the idea of practicing the insertion of intubation tubes should be as realistic as possible. I can’t believe any college would think a cat makes a good test subject. What’s a resident going to do when faced with a REAL child needing the procedure? As a residency student, I’d hate to admit to anyone that I learned on a CAT. A cat is NOT a baby! The word “idiot” comes to mind. I’d hate to put the life of my child in the hands of someone who was trained using this method.

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn of a decline in admission applications submitted to the pediatric residency program at University of Virginia. It stands to reason a computerized baby that simulates real baby reactions would be better than “practicing” on a poor helpless cat or kitten. Just saying….

On November 17, 2011, a group filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

As recently as April 12, 2012, Charlottsville City Councilor Dave Norris joined 25 protestors on University Grounds to call for an end to this barbaric training method, calling the process “cruel and unnecessary.”

This subject is upsetting. Intubation tubes being used on cats for pediatric programs should be outlawed. Especially since a better method has shown to be superior. What do the readers here think? Am I wrong in feeling this way? I get so tired of animals being tormented in the name of science. It makes me wonder whether animal abusers think up these teaching methods.

Associated: The Professional Cat Abusers.

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Intubation Tubes Used On Cats For Pediatric Medicine Training

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May 21, 2012
We have to stop this!
by: Ruth I was shocked to hear about this too, as a retired vet nurse I know cats have a completely different anatomy to humans and how much they must suffer during and after this procedure is practised on them.
To do it countless times is downright animal abuse.
I joined the group the other day and sent the link to all my cat loving contacts to help protest about this cruelty.
Together we must go on protesting until it is stopped!
Kattaddorra signature Ruth

May 21, 2012
Together we will put an end to this!
by: Robyn Gianotti For decades, an untold number of cats have suffered, enduring years of daily, repeated (up to 20 times a day), practice intubation at the hands of pediatric residents at the medical school of the University of Virginia. These cats are used to teach pediatric intubation in spite of the fact that superior, non-animal alternatives: the purpose-built, anatomically correct neonatal simulators, already in use by 95% of US med schools, are readily available. James P Natarro, MD, PhD, Pediatrics Chair, UVA, refuses to accept and embrace modern scientific advancement. Our goal, by whatever means neccessary, is to stop this before the beginning of Spring term, 2013, when UV will purchase more cats from their current disreputable Class A dealer, Liberty Research, a company that the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited
for more than 20 Animal Welfare Act violations between July 2009 and April 2011. UVA has a new medical simulation center, and they already have an infant simulator. They easily replaced the dog lab with a suitable simulation course in 2004, and could obviously do the same with the intubation lab. We believe continued pressure on the medical school dean and the head of the pediatrics department will eventually lead to change. We are a rapidly expanding group of serious, dedicated, compassionate animal advocates organizing on facebook at: and we welcome and urge all like minded animal advocates to join us. We are wholeheartedly committed to “being the change we want to see in the world” and our goals are realistic and within reach! We have joined in unity
for this purpose: To rescue the cats currently suffering and imprisoned at the University of Virginia medical school intubation lab and see to it that they are forever replaced with neonatal simulators.

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