Medical Costs. Veterinary specialists provide services previously unavailable to pets! For most people in the US and Canada, high tech medicine is routine. Now, thanks to an increase in veterinary specialists, more pets will have access to the same level of care as their owners. Organ transplants, pacemakers, and even CAT scans have become more and more common for our pets.
Veterinary specialists have grown in numbers in the last decade according to statistics from the AVMA. Pet owners and their veterinarians now have the option to seek the help of oncologists, cardiologists, and even orthopedic surgeons. These are just a few of the more than 25 types of specialists now available.
These specialists bring unique and rare treatment and diagnostic capabilities to owners. And with specialty centers now being found in most major metropolitan areas, pet owners will not have to travel as far to have a hip replacement surgery for their pets or potentially find the right doctor for cancer treatment. Even CAT scans for dogs are now happening on a daily basis!
But it is not just any veterinarian who finds themselves called to a specialty type of practice. These specialists spend many years honing their knowledge and skills in their areas of expertise. From undergraduate work, through veterinary school, internships and residencies, most of these experts will spend more than 12 years learning before they can be called a specialist.
All of this is fantastic news to pet owners who desire a higher level of care for their pets. With more than 70% of pet owners considering their pets to be part of the family, the role of a veterinary specialist will continue to grow. Along with the family veterinarian, the specialist will be there to keep your pet safe and add years to their life.
People are becoming more aware of specialist veterinarians through articles like Dr. Osborne’s, and from their own veterinarians. As a veterinary specialist in radiology, I work with other specialists in a referral hospital to help diagnose pets’ medical conditions and monitor their response to treatment. Animals can have complicated health problems just like people, and a network of specialists can each contribute critical knowledge and skills to an animal’s care.
Radiology is just one of the veterinary specialties, but it plays an important role in the diagnostic workup. Most animals that come to our hospital undergo an imaging procedure, from chest x-rays to ultrasound or CT and MR scans. We do our best to “see” what’s going on inside the patient. An ultrasound can diagnose an intestinal foreign body in a dog that swallowed a toy, or an MR scan can locate a “slipped disc” in a dog with back pain. I enjoy being a vital part of the team of doctors that treats every pet that comes to our hospital.