Veterinary science often divides itself up into three main categories: the care of small animals like rodents and cats, large animals such as cattle and bovine creatures and equine care. Research in veterinary science is always ongoing and universities will cover a wide range of sub-topics of the science of animal care.
Topics can cover animal health concerns like parasitology, where many species might be subject to parasitical infection or invasion. Immunology is also covered extensively in veterinary science and hot topics such as the overuse of antibiotics on animals are of key importance in this field.
There are constantly new frontiers being found in the search to improve animal health and welfare. Recent findings have studied and characterized the tiny microbiota in the vaginas of ewes and cows, a study which showed some sparkling revelations that could prevent disorders in birth simply by noticing a unique microbiota with tiny levels of lactobacilli within them.
Small studies like these also help to identify better ways of improving animal health. But there have been several studies and research performed on zoonotic diseases which have a high impact on human beings. The outbreak of viral infections like Ebola, the foot and mouth disease in cattle, rabies in dogs and the worldwide spread of so-called “bird flu” have all been household names and much heard of in news articles. And veterinary science has studied rabies for decades at length.
Rabies – the zoonotic virus-carrying disease – has a devastating effect on both animals and humans. There is a 96 per cent fatality rate once the clinical symptoms manifest in humans. Veterinary science has sought to combat the worldwide spread of the virus by targeting the infected dogs with vaccination programs and public educational tours in those countries most affected.
Another field of the science is anatomy: learning how each animal is structured and how muscular, nervous and skeletal make-up can cause some creatures to be vulnerable to a variety of diseases, parasite infection and biochemistry conditions is what scientists and vets are striving to learn more of.
We have even bred genetically cloned sheep and dogs and science has witnessed whether memory, learning skills and immune systems are improved or flawed in these hybrid creatures. Could this be a marker for the future in genetic engineering of the human science? But it is worth noting that as we get further down the line in the field of animal health sciences, the less we tend to experiment on live animals for human disease research – and that can only be a good thing for us and the animals we share this planet with.