Winter 2019 Issue

by Marcia Hill Gossard ’99, ’04 Ph.D. | Photo by Henry Moore Jr.

A life-sized painted fiberglass horse will now help WSU undergraduate and veterinary students learn anatomy thanks to a generous donor.

“Understanding where organs are located relative to each other can be challenging for learners to grasp,” says Cynthia Faux, clinical assistant professor in the WSU Department of Integrated Physiology and Neuroscience. “Having a life-sized model to compare to a live horse can help them develop this necessary clinical skill and put organ relationships in perspective.”

The idea first came to Dr. Faux several years ago when she saw a fiberglass horse with the thorax anatomy painted on it. The horse was being used for large animal rescue training, but Dr. Faux knew it could also help veterinary students learn. “I thought it would be helpful for our students to visualize the placement of important internal anatomy,” she says.

By seeing in 3-D where the skeleton, lungs, heart, stomach, and intestines are, students have a better understanding about where the organs are placed in relationship to each other. And knowing anatomical locations is critical for accurate diagnostic procedures, says Faux.

“To make learning anatomy easier, subjects are broken down to individual organ systems,” says third year veterinary student Alyssa Marre (’20 DVM). “The painted horse helps remind us that all these systems are intricately connected.”

“As a visual learner myself, I think the painted horse will be an important tool,” says veterinary student Reanna Jarchow (’20 DVM) who painted the horse’s thorax and abdomen. “I hope the students can learn from this horse as much as I did when I painted it. Working on this project helped me solidify my knowledge and even correct a few misconceptions I had about equine anatomy.”

Besides being used in the classroom, the horse will be available for students to use in the WSU Clinical Simulation Center, for public outreach by the equine and pony clubs, and for anatomical review during fourth year clinical rotations.