Not only do animals share the spaces we live in, we depend on animals to provide us with a vast range of services and comforts which make our lives what they are. They provide food and fibre, companionship and care, draught power and diversion, transportation and sometimes even therapy They are an integral part of our lives and have a vast impact on our health. Just as medicines and treatments are continuously being developed to improve the health of people, so scientists and the animal health industry are working to improve the health of animals.
Animals require vaccination to protect them from infectious diseases, they need regular treatment to prevent parasite infestations and they need additional medicines when they get sick. This is no small challenge for those hard at work to develop these treatments; while all of human medicine is developed for one species, the animal health industry needs to develop products specific to a wide range of animal species from chickens, pigs and cattle to fish, horses, dogs, cats or parrots and so on. In spite of the challenges presented by the size of this undertaking, decades of development of veterinary medicines have enabled a safe and wholesome food supply and allow for many of the fruitful relationships we have with animals today.
A world in which veterinary medicines did not exist would be drastically different to the one in which we live today. Here, we will explore some of the innovations that the animal health industry has provided which enable us to live the way we do. We will also imagine how different our lives would be if these treatments had never been developed.