I decided to create this series of articles to address the top questions I’ve been asked as a veterinary technician. I’m a CVDT (Certified Veterinary Dental Technician), have been in the field for over ten years and have noticed a trend in the most commonly asked questions by pet owners. The answers found in these articles will reflect how things have been done in my experience only; keep in mind that all veterinarians and veterinary hospitals have varying policies and techniques.
We’ll take a look at the advancements in technology in a typical small animal hospital. You may be wondering why this is important to know and actually the answer is quite simple. Too often people complain, or voice their concern, rather about how expensive veterinary care is for their pets. Wouldn’t you like to know where your money is going? By understanding some of the tools used within the pet hospital, you may be able to better grasp how important these are in keeping your pet as healthy as possible and why costs are what they are.
For the purpose of this article, we’ll quickly run through some of the tools used at the pet hospital, rather than techniques, expertise or procedures. These are the physical staples that can be found in many small animal clinics across the county.
1. Digital X-Ray Machines – The digital x-ray units have really made a break through in veterinary medicine. Images are clearer, results are produced more quickly and films are able to be sent to referral doctors in virtually seconds! There are, of course, various types of digital x-rays machines but all have made x-rays an even more usable diagnostic tool. Many clinics also have the capability to print out copies of the x-rays for owners to take home.
2. High Speed Dental Units – It’s hard to believe how we used to do tooth extractions prior to having this type of equipment. Using a high speed dental unit makes tooth extractions so much easier, quicker and much less painful for the pet. Recovery and healing had increased dramatically since this machine came around. With a little training and practice, the veterinarian is able to quickly and efficiently remove problem teeth with minimal pain for the pet. The unit also provides a dental polisher and an air syringe with rinsing tool which helps aide in a more effect dental cleaning.
3. Ultrasound Machines – Ultrasound machines have become more and more widely used over these recent years. They can be used for the most basic procedures such as cystocentesis, or the collection of urine from the bladder. Most veterinarians and technicians are skilled for this procedure. They can also be a great diagnostic tool for the examination of internal organs such as heart, liver, kidneys and more. However, it is important to find a veterinarian that is fully trained for doing ultrasound on these organs for a definitive diagnosis for these organ systems.
4. Laboratory Equipment – There are a number of different models of laboratory equipment used for testing blood and urine samples in house. Generally, most pet hospitals will at least have the equipment to run basic chemistry panels, complete blood cell counts and generally a urinalysis. There are additional tests and machines that can do more specialized panels as well. The purpose of having this equipment is to be able to get results as quickly as possible. This may be for a pet that is in dire need of a treatment plan but it can also be for pre-surgery labs that are run the day of surgery.
5. Up To Date Computer Software – You may not originally consider software a necessity in a pet hospital; most clinics were at one time run on 100% paper, with no computers at all. What computers have done for us is made us more organized, helped us track patient progress and test results and allow us to provide quicker service to clients and the pets. Many clinics have their office computers hooked up to the Internet, giving them real time access to test results that have been sent to an off-site laboratory. This also allows them send the pet owner real time updates, reminders and appointment confirmations via email. Software has greatly improved the service and productivity of veterinary hospitals everywhere!
These are just five of the things used in the pet hospital that help ensure that your pet receives the best care possible. Pet care may seem expensive but when you take into consideration the things it pays for, equipment, expertise, etc. it helps one to more fully understand where the prices come from. Everything has to be paid for and if it wasn’t something that was going to benefit the pet or important enough to implement into the clinic, then it wouldn’t be there.