Over thousands of years humans have formed tight bonds with a number of animal species in a process known as domestication. Dogs, cats, horses, cattle, and a number of other animals have co-evolved alongside of humans; just as human lives have been changed by this partnership, so too have the lives of the animals we have domesticated as many resemble their wild ancestors only subtly. Many people acknowledge these domesticated animals as pets and friends who are entitled to a healthy and happy life — this is where veterinary medicine comes into play.
There are thousands of veterinarians across the nation that specialize in the treatment of animals of all sizes. Scheduling regular vet appointments for dogs and cats every year is one of the best ways to ensure that their dietary, recreational, and healthcare needs are met. Aiding veterinarians are veterinary diagnostics companies that specialize in blood, urine, and skin testing according to specific veterinary laboratory procedures. A growing number of veterinarians are offering in-house veterinary diagnostics to treat pet patients faster; many in-house veterinary diagnostics are able to provide testing and a complete diagnosis within 24 hours.
Our Furry Friends
With around 70 million to 80 million dogs and 74 million to 96 million cats across the nation, there are no shortage of patients for vets. Cats and dogs younger than 10 years old ought to have at least one appointment with a vet per year, those older than 10 years should have an appointment scheduled every six months to ensure that all is well. One of the most significant risks for dog owners is heartworm; unfortunately, cats are susceptible to the disease via transfer from a mosquito that bit an infected dog. There are an estimated one million dogs in the United States that is positive for the parasitic heartworm infection; infected dogs may have 30 or more worms in their heart and lungs, infected cats usually have six or fewer but are still significantly affected by the parasites. Since heartworm treatment can cost up to $1,000, many pet owners agree that taking monthly preventative measures is significantly cheaper and ultimately contributes to a higher quality of life for dogs and cats alike.
Our Loyal Partners
Although most people picture dogs and cats as ideal pets, there are around 2 million people in the U.S. who own horses. One of the biggest risks for horses is the development of the equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) which is similar to cases of HIV in humans and may result in death within two to three weeks. So potent is EIAV that just one-fifth of a teaspoon of blood from a chronic case of EIAV contains enough virus to infect 10,000 horses. Most horses are inapparent carriers that show no clinical abnormalities or symptoms; just one out of 6 million horseflies are likely to pick up and transmit EIAV from such horses. Although there is no preventative vaccine or treatment for EIAV, with modern veterinary diagnostics horse-owners are able to determine which of their horses has a chronic case of the virus, potentially saving the entire team of horses from getting infected.