Our veterinary practice is celebrating 30 years in business! In celebration of this, I thought I would take a walk down memory lane and look back at the early 80’s. We all recall the Rubik’s Cube and Michael Jackson’s Thriller but what was the status in the world of veterinary medicine? It was much different than today.
The early 80’s found the veterinary world faced with a new disease called Parvovirus. The disease first appeared in 1978 and by the early 80’s was widespread throughout the dog population. The disease was poorly understood and there was no natural immunity to the condition. Veterinarians feared this disease like no other as its aggressive progression typically resulted in the patient not surviving. If this wasn’t bad enough, the highly contagious nature of the disease typically resulted in large outbreaks both inside and outside the clinic. Currently through advances in medicine and understanding of the disease, we are now able to prevent and, in most cases, effectively treat the disease.
Likewise, the prevention of heart worm disease in dogs was in its infancy back in the 80’s. Monthly preventatives had not yet been developed and we needed daily medications to prevent the infection by this parasite. Many of you may recall giving your dog Filarabits on a daily basis. Despite heart worms being described in the early 1900’s, it was not a primary disease until the late 1970 and early 1980’s. And even then, it was considered a regional condition that was confined primarily to the Gulf Coast region. Today, it’s one of the most commonly encountered diseases in both dogs and cats and one of the easiest to prevent. The new generation of monthly preventatives is highly effective in both species. These disease changes were not confined to the dog population. The Feline Aids disease was non-existent and made its appearance in 1986 when veterinarians in California isolated the virus in cats. Today, researchers are still working to develop effective vaccines to remedy this condition.
Fleas have been around for centuries. However, in the last thirty years we have made huge technological advances in the control of this parasite. Back in the “olden days” we relied on applying toxins to our pets as well as to the environment in which they (and we) lived. It was a delicate balance attempting to apply enough toxins to control the fleas without making the patient sick. With the advent of new non-toxic, monthly application, flea controls, there is no reason for you or your pet to be annoyed by the parasites.
During our time in practice, the advent of veterinary “specialists” has emerged. Previously, these highly trained veterinarians were typically employed by universities and often unavailable to the general public. Today, even a relatively small town like Stuart can successfully support a wide range of specialists which, in turn, allows for better care for our pets. We, ourselves, continue to keep current with technological advances. We embraced the advent of laser surgery and digital radiography as well as the latest technology in patient monitoring systems – all of which have helped provide “state of the art’ care.
Here’s a peek at how “Animal Care Extraordinaire” has evolved over the last thirty years. First off, Dr. Diamond had more hair and the practice was a one man show. Nineteen years ago, I joined the practice. And yes –at one time, we even had a mobile animal hospital. Throughout these years, we have developed close associations with community agencies allowing us to provide much needed services to the public. We set up shop in Indiantown once a month for over twenty years. We support and utilize the services of Animal Birth Control. We provided one of our canine deputies with a bulletproof vest. Our commitment to community continues. Recently, we have begun a relationship with “Help Us Help Them,” a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping pets and pet owners in financial need.
But most important, over the last 30 years we have had the pleasure of caring for some very special pets, owned by some very special people. We hope that never changes.