How Medical Treatments for Pets Changed Throughout the Years

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A Brief History

Our relationship with our pets has changed significantly over the years. There was a time when pet owners would accept that their pet’s symptoms have become too severe beyond the point of treatment. When the time came, they would accept the stop treatment point and choose to euthanize their pets. Today, many people think of their pets as their own children, and they’d go to extreme measures to treat them. On the other hand, veterinary medicine has also evolved significantly during the years. These changes have played a main role in the improved quality of life our pets live, postponing the need for euthanasia as much as possible. 

Here are 6 ways in which medical treatments for pets have changed throughout the years.

Digging Deeper

Treatment approach

For starters, the whole treatment approach has changed. Thanks to technology and the advancement of veterinary medicine, our understanding of our pets’ physiology and health has improved a lot. Suffice it to say that there was a time when the best approach for treating a cat for its dental ache was to let the tooth rot and fall down on its own. Veterans honestly thought that was the best treatment. Today, veterans are able to use different tests and procedures to diagnose our pets, treat them, and even prevent the onset of several diseases


To put dogs or cats under anesthesia, the old methods entailed the use of phenobarbital, a very strong but dangerous anesthetic. Today, our pets are anesthetized in a similar way that we humans get our anesthesia. The process starts by calming the pets down with tranquilizers, removing their fear and anxiety. Following the injection, catheters are injected intravenously to maintain proper blood pressure during the procedure, after which the anesthetic agent is administered. The pet will be connected to life monitoring devices throughout the whole operation, and they’ll even have a designated nurse by their side. 

Diagnostic imaging

The technology used for treating pets has significantly been advanced as well. X-rays have been around for decades, but they were mainly used in dark rooms and demanded development using chemicals in stainless steel tanks. The X-ray technology has since far developed, and today we only depend on getting the x-ray results on our computers. Other diagnostic imaging tools are also used to reach the correct diagnosis, such as ultrasound, MRI, and CAT scans. All of these tools are used quite easily, efficiently, and effectively to provide better care for our pets. 

Use of CBD oil

Medical procedures aren’t the only thing that’s changed. Today, there’s been a significant increase in using CBD oil as an alternative form of medication instead of traditional drugs. This comes as a result of the fact that using CBD oil for dogs or other pets, provides a plethora of curative, palliative, and preventive care benefits. For instance, CBD oil is very effective when it comes to relieving the pet from chronic pain, easing their anxiety and stress in the process. It’s also been found to treat epilepsy and seizures in dogs, by both reducing the severity of the episode and preventing its onset. CBD oil is also used to treat arthritis, protect against cancer, and stimulate appetite in sick pets. 

Preventive care

Medical treatments have expanded to include preventive care as well as treatment of diseases and conditions. We’ve reached a point where we’re guided by the experts’ advice in maintaining our pets’ veterinary appointments. We know when to give them the vaccinations they need, when to follow up for regular medical checkups, and even how to maintain their dental health. We’ve grown to understand how to give them the nutritional supplements they need during each stage of their growth to keep them healthy and full of life. 


In parallel with the advancement in veterinary medicine, we have also witnessed an overwhelming increase in treatment costs. The costs have increased for both the veterans, as the equipment they operate with is quite expensive, and the pet owners who seek treatment for their sick pets. A vet would spend $10,000 only to get dental equipment, and the pet owner can spend worth of $5,000 on one procedure. Some go to extreme measures to provide care for their pets, but the rate of euthanization is rapidly increasing. 

The scene of veterinary medicine has witnessed great changes over the years. As medical technology keeps on advancing in every area, the quality of care provided for our pets has also benefited. The changes can be seen starting from the treatment approach to the procedures, diagnostic tools, the rise of alternative medications, the integration of preventive care, and the significant increase in costs.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Grier, Katherine C.  Pets in America: A History.  The University of North Carolina Press, 2006.

The featured image in this article, a photograph by Burst, is licensed under the Pexels License.


About Author

Abdul Alhazred

“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked. "Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad." "How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland