August 19, 2020 Diagnostic Imaging One Health

Animal Hospitals vs. Human Hospitals

A veterinary professional sits at an echocardiogram machine at the Animal Medical Center

Animal Hospitals vs. Human Hospitals

When pet families make their first visit to the Animal Medical Center, many express surprise at the size of the facility and the comprehensive care we offer. More than once, I have heard people remark “AMC is just like a human hospital.” I say yes and no to that comment and explain below why.

Yes, we use equipment found in human hospitals

I call them “the big machines” because each one is so big they are their own rooms. These big machines are our CT scanner, MRI and linear accelerator. The big machines are critical to our ability to diagnose problems inside your pet’s body and in your pet’s brain and spinal cord. Our linear accelerator is the big machine we use to administer radiation therapy treatments. None of these machines are veterinary-specific machines. Our CT scanner, MRI and linear accelerator are the same as you would find in a human hospital.

No, what works in people doesn’t work in animals

Medically speaking, diseases in pets and humans can be quite similar and treatments will be similar as well. It’s just that some techniques used in people don’t work well in dogs and cats. For example, if you need oxygen therapy in the hospital, you wear nasal prongs to deliver oxygen right into your nose. But there is no self-respecting cat that would wear nasal prongs. Veterinary hospitals use oxygen cages, which are temperature- and humidity-controlled, to provide supplemental oxygen to their patients.

Alternatively, some techniques used in animals, don’t work well in people. The obvious example here is the Elizabethan collar or cone used to protect bandages and incisions. Only in memes do people wear the cone of shame.

Big, small and in between

One unique feature of a veterinary hospital is the variety in the size of the equipment we stock. Veterinarians need pills, catheters, tubes and blood pressure cuffs in a wide variety of sizes to match the range of patients we treat. Last year at AMC, the smallest patient we treated was a baby snake that weighed ½ ounce, the weight of a slice of bread. The largest dog weighed nearly 200 pounds! Just to illustrate the point about size: AMC carries four sizes of amoxicillin tablets and a liquid formulation. Five sizes of cuffs can be found throughout the hospital to facilitate blood pressure measurement on any patient we see.

Even though not all aspects of AMC are like a human hospital, the most important similarity is that physicians and veterinarians have the same goals for their patients: to make them well and send them home to be with friends and family.

Tags: animal hospital, CT scan, MRI, one health, veterinary hospital,

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