Not to be outdone by their human counterparts innovation and technology for pets is beginning to offer groundbreaking treatments and conveniences. Dr. Bryant recently attended The North American Veterinary Conference in Orlando, Florida and saw many of these exciting advances in person. While these innovations are in the early stages of use, we hope to see them move to the mainstream in the near future. 

One of the most amazing advances is the use of 3D printing. Life-changing and lifesaving prosthetics created by 3D printers are already in use. If you want to see the incredible results for yourself, see this video on YouTube: Derby the Dog: Running on 3D Printed Prosthetics. Derby, a husky born with no front paws and deformed front legs, is now able to run and play like a normal dog, thanks to the new “legs” made for her with a 3D printer!

Another success story is a toucan whose beak was broken in the course of illegal trafficking. She was given the ability to eat and function normally again after a custom prosthetic beak was created for her. This customizable process has a vast range of uses. Printable, netlike casts for broken bones are lightweight, strong, impervious to water, and can be created to fit individual animal's’ specific needs.

Wearable devices for your pet? You bet! Vetrax for dogs is a joint venture between Hill’s Pet Nutrition and AGL Technologies. It incorporates specially developed dog-behavior algorithms with state-of-the-art pet-wearable sensors and data-sharing capabilities, and is the first system sophisticated enough to distinguish the acts of scratching or shaking from running. It will provide veterinarians and their clients with a new level of understanding about how therapeutic nutrition can help improve a dog's health and behavior — specifically scratching and mobility. It can be used to monitor many conditions including dermatological, arthritis and obesity.

Other pet-wearable technology gives real-time information on your pet’s vital signs and can help determine if pain management is working properly. These non-invasive collars continuously monitor your pet’s temperature, pulse, respiration, activity, positions, calories and more, and lets you access all the data on an app and share this information with your veterinarian.

Nanotechnology applications are giving unprecedented access to information on our pets’ health. The Alicam is an outstanding example of this. Alicam is a tiny camera the size of a pill that an animal swallows. Four cameras mounted inside capture 360-degree high resolution images that are stored in an onboard memory system. The Alicam captures thousands of panoramic images as it works its way through the GI tract and even goes into a “sleep” mode when it is not moving. Once the unit gets through the pet’s system, specialists receive the information remotely and prepare a report for the consulting veterinarian, and together, they determine the issues and the most effective course of treatment.

As the veterinary field moves forward with new, innovative technology we are finding ways to improve quality-of-life, giving our pets the happiness, comfort, and safety they deserve.