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Changing Times, Changing Technology: Veterinarian Breakthroughs of the last decade

posted by Hannah on Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Increasingly we have been asked for more and more “Animal” based courses and in doing my research I found out some really interesting facts, not just about the pets themselves but about the science, technology and medical world of pets and the role technology has played in us humans being able to enjoy our pets for longer.

“furry, feline, equine or canine we aren’t fussy”

Technology is changing the way we live and work, including the way Vets do business. In the last few years, advances in medicine and science have greatly improved the quality of pet health. Many of these advances have been adapted from new techniques and technologies designed for use in human medicine. Veterinary specialty practices normally have many of these new and exciting procedures available in their hospitals.

Many of the new tools and procedures have been adopted from human medical practice. The advances have not only led to better treatments, but also faster and more accurate diagnosis.

Recent advances include stem cell treatments for arthritis, complicated orthopedic repairs that would have been inconceivable a decade ago, limb prosthetics, and medical protocols so sophisticated that they take a team of doctors and at least a significant bank balance to administer

Personally I am intrigued about how far we have come in our care for our extended members of the family, Here are some of the most impressive Veterinarian Breakthroughs:


MRI technology has been extremely influential in the progression of human neuroscience. Vets are now using the imaging technology to look into the brains of pets and other animals.1 However, the powerful technology is not limited to brain scans. MRI’s are also very effective for getting scans of orthopedic and soft tissue structures prior to surgery. By being able to see what is going on inside the animal before going in for surgery, a vet is able to reduce the chance that anything will go wrong during the procedure.


Laparoscopic procedures use a small camera and light source that can be inserted into the abdominal or thoracic cavity to see inside the body. This is yet another example of a human medicine technology being adapted to the animal kingdom. These procedures are less invasive than most surgical operations and produce a clear image. The first widely reported laparoscopic procedure was in 2011 when the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland used it to remove diseased gallbladders from moon bears.

3-d printing

The ability to print three-dimensional objects is one of the most often-discussed topics in technology today. This rapid-prototyping process has been applied to veterinary practice to create animal bone models from the information gathered from computed tomography scans.3 Doing so enables vets and surgeons to have a solid grasp of a patient’s internal bone or muscle structure before going in to operate. In addition, the models help educate pet owners about the anatomy and physiology of their pets.

Cancer Vaccine

In this aspect, veterinary medicine seems leaps ahead of human. This vaccine is intended for melanoma, or a type of skin cancer. Since dogs spend most of their time exposed to the sun without any kind of sunscreen, they can be susceptible to melanoma.

acupunctureAnimal Acupuncture

I know!!! Because Chinese medicine isn’t just for people. It can be used to treat ailments ranging from hip dysplasia to chronic degenerative joint disease. It has become ever increasing in the vet world and many are learning how to practice it themselves.


We’ve all seen the yogurt ads where probiotics were shown to naturally help the digestive process. However, the average pet owner just can’t crack open a carton of yogurt and feed it to their pets. No worries, the probiotic industry has many options for pets.

Who’s the Baby Daddy?

Not just the stuff of daytime talk shows, paternity testing has now come to pets. The University of Portsmouth is on the verge of launching a service that offers just that, a paternity test for dogs. Along with other DNA testing, dog owners can now test their dogs DNA to complete a paternity test as well as genetic tests that look for recessive genes that can lead to canine illnesses in certain breeds.

dogFun Facts About Dogs

  • Dogs only sweat from the bottoms of their feet, the only way they can discharge heat is by panting.
  • Dogs have about 100 different facial expressions, most of them made with the ears.
  • Dogs have about 10 vocal sounds.
  • Dogs do not have an appendix.
  • There are more than 350 different breeds of dogs worldwide.
  • Dalmatians are born spotless: at first pure white, their spots develop as they age.
  • Contrary to popular belief, dogs aren’t color blind; they can see shades of blue, yellow, green and gray. The color red registers on a gray-scale in a dog’s vision.
  • Most domestic dogs are capable of reaching speeds up to about nineteen miles per hour when running at full speed.
  • Using their swiveling ears like radar dishes, experiments have shown that dogs can locate the source of a sound in 6/100ths of a second.
  • Domesticated for more than 10,000 years, the dog was one of the first animals domesticated by humans.

kittenFun Feline Facts

  • Cats do not have sweat glands.
  • A cat can jump as much as seven times its height.
  • Cats have five toes on each front paw, but only four toes on each back paw.
  • Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds, while dogs only have about ten.
  • A pack of kittens is called a kindle, while a pack of adult cats is called a clowder.
  • An adult cat can run about 12 miles per hour, and can sprint at nearly thirty miles per hour.
  • A cat’s tongue is scratchy because it’s lined with papillae tiny elevated backwards hooks that help to hold prey in place.
  • The nose pad of each cat has ridges in a unique pattern not unlike a person’s fingerprints.
  • Cats’ bodies are extremely flexible; the cat skeleton contains more than 230 bones (a human has about 206), and the pelvis and shoulders loosely attach to the spine. This adds to their flexibility and allows them to fit through very small spaces.
  • Cats have better memories than dogs. Tests conducted by the University of Michigan concluded that while a dog’s memory lasts no more than 5 minutes, a cat’s can last as long as 16 hours exceeding even that of monkeys and orangutans.

Fun Facts About Avians and Exotic Pets

  • To survive, every bird must eat at least half its own weight in food each day.
  • A bird’s heart beats 400 times per minute while they are resting.
  • Americans own more than 60 million pet birds.
  • Larger parrots such as the macaws and cockatoos live more than 75 years.
  • Many hamsters only blink one eye at a time.
  • Armadillos have four babies at a time and they are always all the same sex. They are also the only animal besides humans that can get leprosy.
  • Iguanas are able to hold their breath for up to 30 minutes.
  • A garter snake can give birth to 85 babies.
  • Ferrets are currently the third most popular pet in the US. There are an estimated eight to ten million ferrets in the United States being kept as pets.
  • A goldfish can live up to 40 years.

Statistics about pets in the UK

Oxbridge Home Learning Graph

The Top 10 Pets in the UK for 2010*, starting with the most popular, are:

(the total number of species, rounded in millions)


  1. Fish (over 40M) Indoor and Outdoor)
  2. Dogs (around 8M)
  3. Cats (around 8M)
  4. Rabbits (around 1M)
  5. Birds (around 1M Indoor)
  6. Domestic Fowl (around 1M)
  7. Guinea Pigs (around 0.7M)
  8. Hamsters (around 0.4M)
  9. Horses/Ponies (around 0.3M)
  10. Frogs/Toads (around 0.3M)
*Source: PFMA.

39% of London’s pet owners purchased their pet for companionship, despite having 7.5 million neighbours across the city. Says it all really!

PFMA, 2008