What lies beneath white surgical sheets, on perfectly typical stainless steel operating tables at the University of Florida Veterinary School, is something quite different. Something revolutionary.
"It's entirely synthetic. It's made from water, fiber, salts. But there's no live tissue in here whatsoever," said UF small animal surgery professor Dr. Stanley Kim.
The bodies of what appear to be deceased dogs are actually synthetic cadaver dogs, produced by Tampa-based Syndaver Labs. They're proportionate and perfectly recreated down to the tissue, muscles and bone.
The lab is known for producing artificial human bodies for teaching and medical purposes. But after seeing how much the bodies helped advance modern medicine, Syndaver founder Dr. Chris Sakezles realized the need for an animal application.
“[This is] the best thing I’ve ever done," he said. "I’m very proud of this one.”
UF will no longer need to use cadavers to practice surgery, or sometimes even live animals.
“Obviously, a lot of ethical issues with that. A lot of issues with using cadavers," said small animal surgery professor Dr. Brad Case.
The synthetic canines also allow instructors to recreate almost any medical situation for students to tackle.
"I want them to make a mistake, and in some cases we'll go in and make a mistake for them, to get a big bleeder. So that they have to see that. hear the heart rate go up, and then be able to adapt with that," said Dr. Case.
While UF has purchased 25 synthetic dogs, this is just the beginning for Syndaver. The 'animals' will soon be rolled out to schools across the country. A fake cat and horse are also in the works.