Just as the convergence of computing, data and diagnostic tools is changing the human doctor/patient relationship, the same is true of veterinary doctors and the animals that they treat.
Emerging fields such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science — and related engineering disciplines — have begun to reshape all forms of medicine and health.
That shift can be seen clearly at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine based at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, one of the country’s top public research universities. The Carle Illinois College of Medicine describes itself as the first college of medicine in the world with a curriculum that fuses engineering, medicine and the humanities.
While most of us know about “wearable medical technology” that helps us humans track exercise and sleep routines, the leading edge of wearable biomedical engineering includes soft robotic devices that assist weakened heart muscles, or that filter arteries.
Veterinary medicine, while not as advanced, has begun to push beyond simple pet tracking devices and behavior modification tools. A solid pre-vet program should open your professional aspirations to new advances in data-driven medical diagnosis and treatment approaches.
A recent article in Veterinary Practice News quotes Joe Young, chief operating officer of AGL, maker of Vetrax, a wearable device capable of monitoring treatment protocols for pets being treated for various conditions, including osteoarthritis, dermatitis, obesity, and other common conditions that afflict large numbers of geriatric dogs.
“Wearable technologies extend the veterinarian’s reach … by allowing them to see the impact of their treatment recommendations 24/7,” says Young. “Wearables provide a source of objective insights into the pet’s condition, which can augment what the healthcare team observes during brief office visits, and what the pet owners can provide.”
Future Pre-Vet Program Education
According to a report from Transparency Market Research, the global pet wearables market will grow from $1 billion in 2016 to $2.5 billion by 2024 — a clear sign for undergraduates enrolled in a pre-vet program that their pre-vet program education and future scope of practice might expand and change.
A report from IDTechEx titled Wearable Technology for Animals 2017-2027: Technologies, Markets, Forecasts predicts that “medical diagnostic tagging of livestock, pets and endangered species will become commonplace. Medical treatment using electronics and electrics will also be steadily adopted following today’s practice on humans with heating, cooling, iontophoretic drug delivery and so on, eventually even in response to the fitted diagnostics.”
IBM Watson Sofie
A Canada-based animal health start-up LifeLearn worked with IBM’s Watson team to develop Sofie, a powerful online library of textbooks, journals and conference proceedings that gives veterinarians quick, searchable, relevant and accurate results for making diagnosis and care decisions.
Biology-based Pre-Vet Program
William Woods bachelors in biology students who take the Biology Concentration in Pre-Veterinary have won a high acceptance rate for graduate and professional veterinary medicine education. The national average acceptance rate, according to the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, hovers around 50 percent of applicants.
Future veterinarians enrolled in the William Woods University pre-vet program can gain an advantage by adding computer science, data science, and math electives into their plan of study.
The program is beneficial for those interested in large animal medicine. In combination with the immersive and rigorous coursework in biology, students will gain hands-on experience in equestrian studies courses and have the opportunity to work in the recently built Center for Equine Medicine.