Veterinary medicine is a medical field concerned about the diagnosis, control, prevention, and treatment of diseases that affect the health of animals, both domestic and wild, and also is concerned about the prevention of transmission of animal diseases. Hence, veterinary medicine is also called animal medicine. Various food products, such as milk, yogurt, honey, eggs, fish and meat, etc. are obtained from animal sources. The practitioners of vet medicine discipline also ensure the safety of food supply from the animal sources by maintaining the health of the animals and animal farms.
History of Animal Medicine
Veterinary Medicine has existed as a field in medical science as long as human physiological medicine has existed. Over centuries and centuries of history of human civilization humans and animals have co-existed which has prompted medical requirements tending to both their needs. Animal medicine and persons serving as doctors for animals have long existed since ancient times. Vet medicine practices and facilities like a veterinary medical center have been established as a specialty since 2000 BCE in Babylonia and Egypt. For example, the Greeks in the ancient times of recorded history used to have a class of physicians known as “horse-doctors” which in Latin is known as veterinarius (meaning: tending to the beast of burden) which has become the common name for animal medicine in modern times.
Even today, there are numerous veterinary medical center professionals such as veterinary medicine doctors, nurses, and technicians all over the globe. Also, there has been the worldwide establishment of the veterinary medical center by government agencies, private companies, employing private, corporate, and government clinical practitioners. The vet medicine specialists have been active in academics, private industries, public health, and military services throughout the planet. There are specialists tending to the needs of animals such as cows and buffalos which are highly responsible for the supply of milk and milk products. Similarly, there are specialists tending to the needs of household pets as well, which also has been a very common practice since the pre-recorded history as well.
Careers in Veterinary Medicine and Animal Drugs
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has employed vast employment of resources as well in the field of animal medicine. There are over 450 veterinary degree programs all over the world recognized by the WHO with varying degrees of specialization and training in different countries. Of these recognized veterinary treatment degree courses about one-thirds are the ones that award a doctorate/a doctor’s degree. In India, there are a number of programs available for students interested in the field of veterinary medicine. There were numerous pre-veterinary university entrance examinations conducted by several states that provide students to obtain a graduate degree in the field of veterinary science. These pre veterinary tests have now been replaced by an overall nationwide examination called NEET, in the country.
Professionals of veterinary medicine deal with activities that can be commonly divided into two phases. The first phase is the basic science phase where the candidates are involved in preclinical activities of classroom and laboratory work in the fields of animal anatomy and physiology, pathology, pharmacology, nutrition, toxicology, and public health. The second phase includes activities of clinical nature where one is required to perform classroom studies and laboratory work focusing on infectious and non-infectious diseases, diagnostic and clinical pathology, obstetrics, anesthesiology, surgery, radiology, animal management practice, and gain hands-on clinical experience in a veterinary teaching hospital or veterinary medical center.
These activities at the graduate level provide students with opportunities to treat sick animals, perform surgical procedures, and communicate with their owners thus gaining more experience regarding animal physiology and animal drugs. Once they graduate, the veterinarians can further pursue advanced degrees which are mostly medically oriented although some may be in the commercial fields. There are internship (1 year) programs and residency (two-to-five year) programs available after graduation that help veterinarians to achieve proficiency in one or two medical specialties. It also helps them to gain experience in the field and understand the field conditions that they will be required to deal with.
Most of the veterinarians that practice veterinary treatment, treat only the companion animals (i.e. animals that can be accompanied) within a clinic’s compound or the campus of a veterinary medical center. Some of them also treat animals involved in food production or horses by travelling to the location of the animals in vehicles that are equipped with required medical assistance. Some of the veterinarians are also involved in the veterinary treatment of small animals such as pet dogs and also large animals such as cattle or horses. There are also specialists that deal with specific species of animals such as ornamental fish, reptiles, etc. There are also practitioners that limit themselves to specific areas such as surgery, dentistry, dermatology, or ophthalmology. There has been an increase in the number of veterinary pharmaceutical companies with the rise of private veterinary hospitals or clinics that are often combined with outlets for pet food.
Many of the graduate veterinarians are also involved in academic research dealing with basic as well as advanced clinical research and instrumentation. Advanced instrumentation includes echocardiography, endoscopy, laser lithotripsy, ultrasound and ultrasonography, computed tomography scans, and magnetic resonance imaging that are available for veterinary use. Advancements in the fields of veterinary medicine such as veterinary allopathy medicine, veterinary homeopathy medicine, etc. have also developed scientifically over generations.
Impact of Vet Medicine
Vet medicine has been important for animal health as well as its impact on human health as well. There have been grave reductions in human exposure to animal sources of tuberculosis and brucellosis. Significant advances in effective veterinary treatment by vaccines have been made for the prevention of pet animal diseases like canine distemper, feline distemper, etc. Medical developments in the field of veterinary medicine have led to the control of Marek’s disease in chickens, which was also one of the first anti-cancer vaccines. Some of the several surgical techniques like hip-joint replacement and organ transplants used in animal science have been successfully applied to humans as well.
Private industry has been involved in the area of veterinary medicine as well. With the development of veterinary pharmaceutical companies and veterinary medicine company animal-health products, large commercial animal-production programs, and biomedical research has also taken off. An example of a market of veterinary medicine is also an increase in the number of products available online such as veterinary injection. Thus, veterinary medicine is as much part of human life as human medicine.