veterinary medicine

veterinary medicine

veterinary medicine, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of animals. An early interest in animal diseases is found in ancient Greek writings on medicine. Veterinary medicine began to achieve the stature of a science with the organization of the first school in the field in Lyons, France, in 1761, followed soon by similar schools in other parts of Europe. In the United States, veterinary schools came into existence about the time of the Civil War, and there are now a number of accredited schools of veterinary medicine affiliated with colleges and universities. In 1884 the Bureau of Animal Industry was established in the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture to deal with animal disease problems in the fast-growing livestock industry. Veterinary research has made important contributions to medical science in general. Vaccination methods devised by Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch for animals were found effective for humans also. Veterinarians inaugurated the inspection of meat and milk to prevent the spread of tuberculosis. The development since World War II of live-virus and modified live-virus vaccines and of antibiotics, sulfonamides, and other biological products has brought about a marked change in veterinary medicine. An important innovation was the mass immunization of poultry through sprays, dusts, and agents added to drinking water. Many animal diseases hitherto considered incurable can now be prevented or controlled by these new therapeutic agents, and this in turn has greatly increased the output of livestock and poultry products.

See The Merck Veterinary Manual (7th ed. 1991).

Medical field dealing with animals and with diseases that are transmissible between animals and humans. It was practiced as a specialty in ancient Egypt and Babylonia; the first veterinary schools in Europe were founded in the mid-18th century. Veterinarians practice internal medicine, surgery, and preventive medicine, using the same techniques used on humans. They serve worldwide in private and corporate clinical practice, academic programs, private industry, government service, public health, and military services. Many specialize in either small animals (pets) or large ones (livestock); a few specialize in wild animals.

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Veterinary medicine the application of medical, diagnostic, and therapeutic principles to companion, domestic, exotic, wildlife, and production animals. Veterinary science is vital to the study and protection of animal production practices, herd health and monitoring the spread of disease. It requires the acquisition and application of scientific knowledge in multiple disciplines and uses technical skills directed at disease prevention in both domestic and wild animals. The Egyptian Papyrus of Kahun (1900 BCE) and literature of the Vedic period in India offer the first written records of veterinary medicine. One of the edicts of Ashoka reads: "Everywhere King Piyadasi (Asoka) erected two kinds of hospitals, hospitals for people and hospitals for animals. Where there were no healing herbs for people and animals, he ordered that they be bought and planted."

Veterinary science helps safeguard human health through the careful monitoring of livestock, companion animal and wildlife health. Emerging zoonotic diseases around the globe require capabilities in epidemiology and infectious disease surveillance and control that are particularly well-suited to veterinary science's "herd health" approach.

Veterinary medicine is informally as old as the human/animal bond but in recent years has expanded exponentially because of the availability of advanced diagnostic and therapeutic techniques for most species. Animals nowadays often receive advanced medical, dental, and surgical care including insulin injections, root canals, hip replacements, cataract extractions, and pacemakers.

Veterinary specialization has become more common in recent years. Currently 20 veterinary specialties are recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), including anesthesiology, behavior, dermatology, emergency and critical care, internal medicine, cardiology, oncology, ophthalmology, neurology, radiology and surgery. In order to become a specialist, a veterinarian must complete additional training after graduation from veterinary school in the form of an internship and residency and then pass a rigorous examination.

Veterinarians assist in ensuring the quality, quantity, and security of food supplies by working to maintain the health of livestock and inspecting the meat itself. Veterinary scientists occupy important positions in biological, chemical, agricultural and pharmaceutical research.

In many countries, equine veterinary medicine is also a specialized field. Clinical work with horses involves mainly locomotor and orthopedic problems, digestive tract disorders (including equine colic, which is a major cause of death among domesticated horses), and respiratory tract infections and disease.

Zoologic medicine, which encompasses the healthcare of zoo and wild animal populations, is another veterinary specialty that has grown in importance and sophistication in recent years as wildlife conservation has become more urgent.

As in the human health field, veterinary medicine (in practice) requires a diverse group of individuals to meet the needs of patients. Veterinarians must complete four years of study in a veterinary school following 3–4 years of undergraduate pre-veterinary work. They then must sit for a national examination as well as examinations in those states in which they wish to become licensed practitioners. Veterinarians are expected to diagnose and treat disease in a variety of different species without benefit of verbal communication with their patients. In addition to veterinarians, many veterinary hospitals utilize a team of veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants to provide care for sick as well as healthy animals. Veterinary technicians are, essentially, veterinary nurses and are graduates of two or four year college-level programs and are legally qualified to assist veterinarians in many medical procedures. Veterinary assistants are not licensed by most states, but can be well-trained through programs offered in a variety of technical schools.

Notes

References

  • Thrusfield, Michael (2007). Veterinary Epidemiology. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 1405156279.
  • Finger, Stanley (2001). Origins of Neuroscience: A History of Explorations Into Brain Function. US: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195146948.

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