Over 60 percent of all-American households have at least one dog or cat at home. Veterinarians provide crucial services to these families, bringing excellent medical care to their furry and feathered family members. In recent years, there have been many exciting medical advances in the veterinary field. Conditions which had been thought to be chronic or terminal can be successfully treated. More advances from the human medical field are being applied to pet care. Dr. Joel B Akin, a veterinarian from Texas, explores some of the newest advancements in veterinary medicine and explains how they can help pets live longer, healthier lives.
Advances in Heartworm Treatment
In the past, heartworm has been considered an incurable condition in dogs. Today, most dogs who are raised in a responsible household take monthly heartworm medication, but for pets who missed their preventative care due to living in a shelter or the family’s inability to pay for preventative medication still need treatment for this serious condition.
In this new treatment protocol, the antibiotic doxycycline is used in concert with a particular flea, tick, and heartworm preventative topical medication. When used early enough, this system is almost as effective as the traditional adulticide procedure. The traditional methods of treating this disease are difficult, especially in shelter dogs, because they can cause other side effects. Dogs should be kept quiet with little exercise during their recovery period.
With advanced heartworm treatment systems, dog owners can feel optimistic about the treatment of their heartworm-positive pets.
Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy
Over the years, many medical advances which began with physicians in the medical community have been adopted by veterinarians. One good example of this transfer is the use of platelet-rich plasma therapy or PRP. In PRP, plasma is distilled from a sample of the dog’s own blood. The blood is processed to contain higher than the usual number of platelets. This plasma is then injected directly into the injured area. These platelets help the body to heal faster.
This procedure can be useful in cases of arthritis, joint and tendon damage. It can also be useful for animals with open wounds which will not heal on their own.
Treatments for Cats with Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is uncommon in cats, but it can be especially difficult to treat. Cats are able to hide their discomfort better than dogs, meaning that they are less likely to present with symptoms at early stages of the disease. By the time a veterinarian sees the cat, cancer may be at a late stage.
New chemotherapy agents are in development for cats. Lung cancer tumors in cats frequently have extremely high levels of a protein called NQ01. The chemotherapy agent, a drug called IB-DNQ, works to target this protein specifically. Since the therapy is targeted, it produces few side effects in the treated animals. If this treatment is successful in pets, it may one day undergo human trials.
3-D printing has transformed many areas of medical science. For pets, prosthetics can be printed based on the animal’s specific requirements. 3-D printing also enables surgeons and veterinarians to print models of bones and internal structures so that they know exactly what they are looking for when they perform surgery on an animal. The models can also help teach pet owners about the medical procedure their animal will be undergoing.
Recombinant DNA has enabled many exciting advances in the medical field. It facilitates the production of such important drugs as prolactin, somatotropin, and insulin. The science of gene therapy in pets is in development each year, showing promise for the treatment of many inherited and disabling illnesses. Bioengineering animals is the natural outgrowth of this process, though there are many ethical considerations to take into account. It is likely that these advances will be used in animals long before they are approved for human use.
MRI and Ultrasound Imaging
As more veterinary offices obtain MRI and ultrasound imaging technology; these non-invasive tests will be able to provide more information to the veterinarian. At present, MRI machines are generally only located at emergency veterinary hospitals and larger establishments. Their increased adoption will give pet owners another option in treating their beloved animals.
Laser surgery enables veterinarians to perform procedures quickly, decrease bleeding, and may produce less pain after surgery. Laser surgery is used for the same purposes in the veterinary field as in the human medical field.
Protecting the Health of Animals
Veterinarians like Dr. Joel B Akin are dedicated to keeping our pets healthy. Using these new advances in the veterinary medical field, they can treat conditions which were previously thought to be terminal and produce quicker, pain-free results.