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Veterinary medicine, past, present and future

Posted December 11, 2013 in Advice Column, Norwalk, West Des Moines

During the holidays, I am reminded of family. My family consists of four veterinarians in three generations, which makes for interesting dinner conversation. More and more I realize I’ve learned a lot from my father, but now he learns from me.

Testing, treatment, and preventative care have advanced the longevity and quality of life for our pets so we have more time to share with them. One recent discussion mentioned that a Labrador’s lifespan was 10 years  and now is 13-15. Pets with bone cancer that in the past had a three-month survival are now surviving up to 18 months and with less pain.

Dental care is crucial for our pets. Pets with bad breath live three years less than pets that get annual anesthesia for dentistry  Seventy percent of cats have constant mouth pain and 90 percent have X-ray visible arthritis by age 10. Acupuncture can stop pain. Anesthesia with blood work, fluids and advanced knowledge improves the health of our pets.

Just this week, I was asked why my response was different than other veterinarians, including my own father. As veterinarians we answer with the information we have. On certain topics my answers have changed due to new research. This is why I have become board certified; to have the letters to back up my desire to bring the best medicine to my patients even if my single voice is different from the crowd. For further information or questions, contact us or find us on the web at fampetvet.com.

Information provided by Dr. Jen Mathis, DVM, CVJ, cVMA, CVPP of Family Pet Veterinary Centers, 421-4VET, familypetvet@gmail.com.

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