When pets are brought home, it is our responsibility to care properly for them. Part of caring for our pets is ensuring that they receive frequent veterinary examinations throughout their lives. In addition, our pets are prescribed medications from professionals, and we trust that they are being provided the best preventative measures to live a long, healthy, and happy life in our home. 


Technology is now pushing the boundaries of veterinary care and bringing in new opportunities for pet treatments. So next time you bring your pet to the vet, you can ask the veterinarian about some of the latest medical options offered. Vet medicine is growing and changing, and with the benefits of new technology and therapy, some surprising new advances in treatment can be significant for your pet.

What are these medical advances, exactly? Let’s break down some of the newer advances to feel more equipped with tools and understanding that you can take to your next vet visit and be a genuine advocate for your furry friend.


Vaccines

Vaccines are a crucial aspect of the health of our pets, and many of the vaccines that a veterinarian will recommend for your pet’s health have been tested and proven effective. Unfortunately, there has been somewhat of an “anti-vaccine” movement in veterinary medicine, but the essential vaccines that our pets should receive include Rabies, DHPP, Lyme, Bordetella (for dogs), and Lepto. 


Outside of the standard vaccine treatments, new vaccines are available for our pets with more protection from other diseases, such as the rattlesnake vaccine. This more recent vaccine that became available in the early 2000s doesn’t necessarily make your pet immune to a rattlesnake bite. However, it buys you time so that your pet can receive prompt treatment and survive it, unlike the prior effect in which a snake bite met instant fatality for your companion. 


Unfortunately, the vaccine does not protect against any rattlesnake bite at this point in the phase. There are some types of rattlesnakes that the vaccine would not affect, but if you live in an area where rattlesnakes are prominent, there is a greater chance of rattlesnake-related deaths in your location. In that case, it is worth a discussion with your veterinarian.


Fiber Optics

Fiber optic technology has become one of the more prominent and exciting new developments in many ways, from carrying light, internet, and more through tiny plastic fibers. Speaking on the technology,  Bond Vet animal hospital explains that fiber optics is a beneficial tool in procedures for pets. For example, if your pet is suffering from an internal health problem such as diarrhea or vomiting, the endoscope (made possible with fiber optics) allows the veterinarian to get a much closer look at the gastrointestinal tract, so a more accurate diagnosis can be made.


Endoscopes can be used when a pet has swallowed something to help identify if surgery is necessary. In addition, vets use even smaller fiber optics tools to look into the urethra or bladder when pets are suffering from severe disorders, and they can also give a view into a pet’s airway.


Before fiber optics were available, the only method for getting an accurate diagnosis for pets was surgery. Having endoscopes and bronchoscopes has made it so much easier (not to mention less expensive) for pet owners to get a diagnosis when their pet is experiencing problems. There are also fewer complications than surgery can cause.

Humans could undergo laser surgery for a while now, but it is becoming more widely available for pets in veterinary medicine. As a result, vets can perform surgeries without cutting deeply into the pet’s skin and save on the time it takes to do surgeries. Using laser surgery also gives your pet reduced bleeding and pain.


Even though this is an excellent advancement for treatment in pets, laser surgery is still a much more expensive procedure than your average surgery. However, many benefits come from laser surgery, such as more precision with cuts since it’s not being done by a human hand and post-op pain management. Ultimately it will be up to you as the pet owner to determine the best course of action when your pet requires surgery.


Stem Cell Therapy

A hot topic for discussion in veterinary practice, stem cell therapy has primarily focused on humans, specifically embryos. But unfortunately, there have been no safe practices that involve embryonic stem cells. Still, there are many proven advancements with adult stem cells, and now it has become available for dogs and cats.


This procedure would involve a vet taking a small amount of your pet’s fat, bone marrow, or umbilical cord blood removed for stem cell isolation in a laboratory. The stem cells are later sent back to your vet, who can inject them within your pet where there is an issue or disease, and the results have been increasingly encouraging. Diseased or otherwise damaged tissues help relieve the pain and create healthier, less inflamed tissue.


However, like laser surgery, this type of advanced treatment is costly. You should consult with your veterinarian, who has experience in stem cell therapy and find out all the facts to help you decide for your pet.


Anesthesia

Since surgery has been discussed, it is important to note that there have also been medical advancements in anesthetics practices. When a pet needs to undergo a procedure, it is very common that anesthesia will be used to help sedate your pet.


There are newer gasses that have come into play in these procedures, such as isoflurane and sevoflurane, which, when administered, have almost no adverse effects on an animal, making them safer and helping your pet to recover more quickly. However, it is important to note that you should ensure when your pet undergoes any anesthesia, it is closely monitored during its procedure.


There is a machine called a pulse oximeter to measure oxygen within your pet and ensure that the anesthesia is working correctly. It can also measure other vitals, including heart rate, respiratory rate, body temperature, blood pressure, and EKG.  


Medical Advancements in the Future

While these are some of the more recent advances in medicine for our pets, there are bound to be many new methods and therapies that come to fruition. Technology is ever-changing and evolving, and it is helpful to stay on top of what tools, equipment, and new treatments can be beneficial to ensure that our pets are given the best care.


Written by:Nicole McCray