AVMA Animal Hospital Opens its (Virtual) Doors

As the AVMA continues to educate and inspire aspiring, young veterinarians, we’ve added a video game to our assortment of fun, educational resources.

“AVMA Animal Hospital” allows animal lovers to test their skills diagnosing and treating animals in a virtual veterinary clinic setting. The game is available for free through Apple’s AppStore, Google Play and the AVMA’s website. Players compete with the clock as they learn about each animal’s condition, diagnose its ailments and provide treatment. By successfully diagnosing and treating each animal, players earn points and progress from “new veterinarian” to “chief veterinarian” of the hospital.

While the primary audience for the game is children in grades 4-8, AVMA Animal Hospital was developed to provide a fun experience for animal lovers of all ages. Games are a great way to learn, and we hope AVMA Animal Hospital helps educate and inspire the next generation of veterinarians.

We want to thank the many veterinarians who provided their expertise to create the animal diagnoses and treatments identified within the game, and we also want to extend our appreciation to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, which provided generous financial support.

17 thoughts on “AVMA Animal Hospital Opens its (Virtual) Doors

  1. I would like the specific names and credentials of the people responsible for the creation of this and the areas in which they work. I am not going to debate details of this “game”. I feel sure all mature, responsible, professional veterinarians see the immaturity, irresponsibility, and unprofessionalism of this. We do not “play” veterinary medicine.

    • The AVMA continues to dismiss the concerns of its members over their new children`s game website .They have not even polled their members to gauge their approval or disapproval . Their response to member`s concerns have been well below standards..for a professional organization,and the longer the website is out there veterinarians will have to defend their image as a profession to be taken seriously .Please reconsider the new website,get feedback,talk to a real PR person,or some like person..be responsible to your members.

      • I agree Allan. If you are not sure what your members want, just ask. The only problem with that is that you must actually act on what your members say, not what it is you want to hear.

  2. Thank you for sharing your concerns about the new AVMA video game. Allow us to clarify a few things.

    First and foremost, it was never our intention to belittle or mock the veterinary profession. With very few veterinary-related toys or games available beyond “Pet Doctor Barbie®” and animal hospital games that we believe provide little to no value to players, we felt that producing a video game would provide an effective way to reach 4th-8th graders through an interactive process that appeals to them. The game’s release was timed to coincide with the launch of the Animal Connections: Our Journey Together exhibit, in which the most popular component by far has been the “Veterinary Clinic” portion that allows visitors to pretend to be a veterinarian and diagnose a simple ailment in a dog, wild cat or pig.

    The Animal Hospital game is intended to present a very simple, yet engaging and fun, view into the profession for a 4th-8th grade audience, especially for those children who have never encountered a veterinarian. So far, the feedback from players has been that the game is fun and engaging, and that it opened their eyes to the importance of veterinary medicine.

    The gaming platform introduced many challenges that necessitated the format and function you see in the final version. Within the game format, we were allowed one environment, two veterinarians (one male, one female), five animal species and a maximum of five ailments for each species. Each ailment could have one correct diagnostic and one correct treatment.

    We began with a 15-20 page document provided by some of our member veterinarians who have species-specific expertise with dogs, cats, turtles, guinea pigs and birds. We then had to simplify that document into language that was easily understood by a 4th grader, as well as express the content in simple, short phrases that fit within the game design. Based on feedback from the game developers and a number of beta players in the intended age range, we were forced to further reduce the text volume and simplify the ailments, diagnostics and treatments to the point of oversimplification on some. We felt that oversimplification was a more desirable situation because it would be less likely to cause anyone to think they were learning enough medicine from a game to be qualified to diagnose and treat animals.

    If we’d pursued a more advanced game, we would have had the opportunity to incorporate more complex situations and information, but this would have involved significantly higher costs for an unpredictable return on the investment. This game was largely funded by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation as part of it public outreach efforts.

    We have heard your concerns and hope that this explains the reasoning behind the game’s design. If we choose to pursue development of another game in the future, we will keep your comments in mind.

    • Vetlandia has spoken and the Central Committee has decided this is what is best for the profession. If we decide to form a Young Veterinarians group to bring youth into the profession, we will let you know after we have made that decision on your behalf..

  3. Couldn’t you have made a “WHEN to TAKE your pet to the Veterinarian” APP? I think that would help clients, pets and vets. Not something to give them confidence that THEY are chief veterinarians. Poor choice of budget, but I guess most of the money they are looking for is from students and tuition fees.

  4. Sometimes I think the world would be better off without the internet. Whoever took credit fr this idea should be fired. Spend our money we pay for dus on things tha help our profiession. In my opininon this does not.

  5. I agree with the above comments…you would never see such a ridiculous idea in other professions..How about brain surgery self taught next !! Take it down before the AVMA looses all credibility with its members.

    • Hello?! This new ‘hospital app’ is a sad joke…on the veterinary medical profession, foisted upon us by our ‘professional association’, the AVMA, that is supposed to represent us. From other posts it is evident that you have no conception of the thoughts of the veterinary medical mainstream dues paying members who pay your salaries. When are you people going to get it? You take a serious profession and make a joke out of it. You encourage young people to go incredibly deep into debt with at best a poor paying job as a financial ROI, and at worst, no job at all or one where they will be under challenged mentally due to low practice volume due to a gross oversupply of veterinarians. You encourage the production of lemmings as we drown in our own numbers. If I weren’t a life member paying no dues, I’d stop paying them and quit until you listen to your membership.

  6. I also agree that an app that makes a “game” out of being a veterinarian may sound appealing, but in the end devalues the services that we provide. If anyone can play a game to diagnose and treat an animal, then why do they need to go to the veterinarian? I hope this idea was screened by a panel of practicing veterinarians before it was launched. If not, and even if it was, I am very disappointed that it this made it through to the general public. I try to support the AVMA, but I don’t see this as a good way for the AVMA to educate clients on the value of services that a veterinarian provides.

  7. I understand the need to engage people and uplift the veterinary image in the public eye but this is App is not the way to do it. The information provided in diagnosing and treating exotics is not correct and ridiculous. It may be targeted towards children in grades 4-8 but it is not giving basic, proper information. The diagnostic options are ambiguous and misleading. The options for treating a dog with mange is either an anti-parasitic or a medicated bath. Really? How does this help a fourth grader or educate an adult? A client could come to expect a different approach than the appropriate diagnostics or question a treatment choice. AVMA has provided good materials for us to use in social media in the past but this is not a hit.

  8. PLEASE correct the terminolgy!!! Animals do NOT have symptoms–they are all presented with clinical signs. I agree with previous comments as well. I understand the educational need, but not quite sure this is the approach to take.

    • Terry, we do struggle with that a lot, and you’re absolutely correct about symptoms vs. signs. But we’ve found that the general public, and particularly 4th-8th graders, readily understands the word ‘symptoms’ but the words ‘signs’ or ‘clinical signs’ do not mean anything to them or resonate with them. We chose to use a word that would be recognizable to the intended audience instead of creating a possible barrier to their understanding of the game. We realize that it sacrifices some accuracy in favor of reaching them in terms they can more readily understand, but we discussed it and decided it was a sacrifice that we felt was necessary.

  9. I thinks this app makes a mockery of the profession. We as Vets go through 3-4 years of college, and 4 years of Vet School to become a pet health expert and some preschooler can play the app, diagnose heart disease and recommend a What we do is not a game. Its very real.

  10. is this really what we need?
    Another online site for lay persons to play veterinarian and hone their diagnostic skills?
    Cudos for the effort, but is it really going to provide any positive impact on the profession?
    Making our profession a game to be played by children does not elevate the profession.