As pets are becoming more and more a part of the family, veterinary medical advances are enabling the level of care to parallel and even in some cases surpass that of human medicine. This is driven by the human animal bond. Pet caregivers often have pictures of their cherished companions on their phones, are housing them indoors, and even welcoming them in their beds. It only makes sense that they would demand a higher level of care, and want their canines and felines to live as long as possible.
This shift has resulted in a transition towards preventative care. One veterinarian doctor practices are now very rare; most have at least one associate. Within an hour of Stockton veterinary specialists exist in a multitude of areas such as Cardiology, Orthopedics, Internal medicine, Neurology, Dermatology, etc. Many referral facilities also provide 24 hour care. Emergency care is still provided as needed at veterinary offices; but more clients are willing to do laboratory testing on well patients to screen for disease in hopes of identifying health issues at the earliest stage to promote better outcomes. Genetic testing is becoming more common, especially with dog breeders. A wide variety of prescription foods are now commonly used as an aid to treat diseases, and there is also a much wider variety of premium over the counter food products. Many pet owners have their canines and felines on heart worm and other parasite control in order to avoid problems. Microchips and GPS collars are more common, as people want to be reunited with their cherished companions if lost as soon as possible. Alternative medical care such as acupuncture or homeopathy is also more wide spread. Appointments take more time in order to do a full nose to tail examination and discuss medical concerns. At Sierra veterinary clinic we now see patients primarily on an appointment only basis to adjust for this.
The treatment room has also changed. Many of the assistants are now certified veterinary technicians, who annually advance their knowledge base with continuing education just as the veterinarians do. There is an in house laboratory that can provide results for a full screening including a CBC, Chemistry panel, and Electrolytes within 20 minutes. There are frequent improvements in house testing to provide for more results in house as opposed to sending things out to a lab, as well as advances in speed an accuracy. Treatment demands mean that many clinics may have an Oxygen cage, warming devises, fluid pumps, as well as the ability to provide nutrition by alternate routes such as via a nasogastric or stomach tube. Blood products are also more readily available so whole blood, plasma, and other items can be delivered or stored at a hospital. More of the medications utilized have been formulated specifically for dogs and cats. This is a major higher effort with regards to good pain control. Digital X-ray is also in place at many veterinary practices. Some also offer ultrasound, lasers, and electronic medical records. CT scans and MRI imaging is now more available at referral facilities. Specialist can perform skin grafts, total hip replacements, and chemotherapy treatment.
The negative aspect of these advances is that the costs have increased. In response, more clients are using pet insurance. Companies such as VPI provide several levels of care based on your needs and your budget. Outside financing companies such as Care Credit can also help by allowing you to make payments over time. At Sierra Veterinary clinic you are able to do this without interest for at least 6 months. Some clinics also provide special offers. Our facility offers a discount on annual senior wellness and chronic medication testing. Please keep in mind that preventative medicine allows for lower costs overall.