In the field of human medicine today there are many tools and technologies that only 20 years ago belong in a Star Trek movie. One of the offshoots of these advances in modern technology has been the availability of such tools for the medicine and care of our furry friends.
Even today it is not unusual to request that a patient receives a CT examination (that’s a big fancy 3-D x-ray machine) or, we can now do cataract surgery for dogs that are on insulin injections for diabetes. So we’re seeing an increasing amount of these modern tools in an everyday veterinary practice setting. And this means that our pets as companions can receive the benefits of these tools – longer life, better quality of life, and better day to day living.
Along with the technology we’re also seeing advances in medications and therapies – we now have stem cell therapy for dogs available in everyday veterinary practice. Arthritis in dogs can be treated with hip replacements and elbow replacements. Dogs with a slipped disc routinely receive spinal surgery. Cancer can be treated with a choice of medications, surgery or radiation therapy. All of these tools are available for your pet. Of course, this comes with a cost. Sure, the costs can be financial, and in some cases they can be substantial relative to other events in our daily spending.
An often overlooked benefit of these technologies is the feedback that they provide to our human medicine counterparts in the development of new tools to for human medicine.
We can sometimes see stories in the social media, in the newspapers and on television of collaborative work between veterinary doctors and human doctors; working together on problems in animals that may require these advanced technologies.
But don’t think for a minute that these tools are limited to those special or unique creatures like gorillas and turtles that are in a zoo. No, coming soon to a clinic near you is the machine that goes ping!
So the next time you’re at the vets and they talk about stem cell therapy for your dog’s arthritis and if that doesn’t work we can always refer you to a surgeon, that’s a veterinary specialist, for a hip replacement, you’ll be ready for any possibility. This is the great field of veterinary medicine as it exists today and the great advances that are available to help our pets.