Advances in human medicine are due to years of research in laboratories around the world. Every medication and every surgical technique is first applied to experimental animals. In theory, therefore, veterinary medicine is at the forefront of all medical knowledge. In practice, unfortunately, the potential of veterinary medicine is impeded.
Most pet owners, regardless of their desire, are simply unable to pay for the treatments that may be available to their sick or injured animals. The average veterinarian in a local clinic, regardless of professional training, often cannot afford to offer the expensive apparatus or diagnostic equipment available in most human hospitals. Referral to veterinary teaching hospitals and specialty practices where these options are offered may he financially or logistically unrealistic for most pet owners.
Many veterinarians complete an internship or residence, although this is generally not a requirement for private practice. More and more, graduating veterinarians pursue postgraduate specialty training. There are veterinary neurologists, pathologists, radiologists and orthopedic surgeons (with subspecialties in companion animal practice or large animal practice). Veterinary ophthalmologists, dermatologists and cardiologists offer advanced care, too. The field of veterinary behavior is parallel to human psychiatry and veterinary oncologists supervise chemotherapy to treat cancer in animals.
Some have observed, with humor based in wisdom, that physicians are “ordinary” doctors while veterinarians are “extraordinary” doctors!