6 Innovative Veterinary Treatments and Tools for Your Practice in 2024

March 4, 2024
4 min

Veterinary medicine has come a long way. Fifty years ago, we couldn’t have imagined that technologies like ultrasound and MRI would be used routinely in dogs and cats—or that we’d have so many drugs at our disposal to treat our patients.  

We’re continually adding new technologies and therapeutics to our treatment arsenal, and it’s positively impacting the lives of our patients and their owners.  

In the past year alone, new veterinary treatments have been added to our pharmacy shelves, and technologies have been developed that will change the way we practice. 

Let’s take a look at 6 recent innovations that could impact practice in 2024.

1. Monoclonal Antibodies to Combat Disease in Dogs and Cats

The use of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) seems to be growing exponentially in veterinary medicine. In the last year, we gained several new mAbs and options for treating familiar diseases.   

Canine parvovirus monoclonal antibody was conditionally licensed by the USDA in 2023 and gave us a new weapon against one of the most frustrating diseases we face. It selectively binds to circulating canine parvovirus, neutralizes it, and prevents the virus from infiltrating host cells.

We also gained a mAb for treating melanomas and mast cell tumors in dogs. Gilvetmab blocks tumor-induced suppression of the T cell-mediated immune response, freeing the immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells. It’s conditionally licensed to treat dogs with stage I, II, or III mast cell tumors and stage II or III melanomas. 

Finally, bedinvetmab, a canine monoclonal antibody that targets nerve growth factor, was approved in 2023 to treat arthritis pain in dogs the same way frunevetmab does in cats. 

Get all the details on 2024’s new veterinary drugs and therapeutics in our free e-book.

2. More Options for Treating Cats with Diabetes Mellitus

In 2023, we obtained two potential alternatives to insulin for our feline patients with diabetes. 

Bexagliflozin was the first oral medication approved to treat diabetes in nonhuman animals. This once-a-day pill inhibits SGLT2 in the kidneys, decreasing renal glucose reabsorption and increasing urinary glucose excretion.

For cats (or their owners) who prefer liquids to pills, velagliflozin is a once-daily liquid solution with the same mechanism of action as bexagliflozin.

While it’s exciting to have new options for treating diabetic patients, both these drugs require careful patient selection and close monitoring to avoid some potential major adverse effects.

3. New Conditionally Approved Drugs for Familiar Diseases in Dogs and Cats

This last year, two new conditionally approved drugs entered the market. Conditional approval by the FDA means that the drug has been shown to be safe and has demonstrated a reasonable expectation of effectiveness in preapproval studies. However, continued demonstration of effectiveness is required for the drug to become fully approved. Drugs that are conditionally approved must be strictly prescribed according to the label, and no extra-label use is permitted by the FDA.

The first of these two new drugs is fuzapladib. Despite pancreatitis being one of the most common disorders we treat, we’ve historically been limited to treating it with supportive care alone. But fuzapladib is labeled to treat acute pancreatitis in dogs by limiting the neutrophil-mediated inflammatory response and potentially reducing pancreatic lesion size and extrapancreatic organ involvement.

We also had a treatment conditionally approved to help cats with nonregenerative anemia caused by chronic kidney disease. Molidustat reversibly inhibits hypoxia-inducible factor prolyl hydroxylase (HIF-PH). Through a complex mechanism of action, this inhibition results in the activation of proteins that increase erythropoietin production and, thus, increases erythrocyte production.

4. 3-D Printing Technology for Customization of Veterinary Patient Care  

It isn’t just new drugs that have the potential to change the future of veterinary medicine. New technologies are continuously being developed that may also improve the lives of our patients and their owners. 

The advent of 3-D printing—a method of producing a solid object from a digital image—means many exciting possibilities in veterinary medicine. From 3-D organ models for practicing and preparing for procedures to custom prosthetics, this technology has many potential uses, including simplifying and standardizing the compounding of medications. 

5. Real-Time Data Collection From Wearable Technology 

Many of us wear a smart device or fitness tracker on our wrists every day. But this technology has now made its way into veterinary medicine, allowing pet owners and veterinarians to gather real-time data on dogs and cats. 

There are many potential uses of wearable technology in veterinary medicine, ranging from devices designed to prevent overfeeding by tracking a dog’s daily energy output and suggesting food portions to smart collars that offer GPS tracking and information on health statistics like heart rate and sleeping respiratory rate.

6. Enhanced Versions of Traditional Diagnostic Tools     

The traditional diagnostic tools we rely on every day—like stethoscopes and ultrasound machines—may soon look totally different.  

New ultrasound technology is being developed using flexible ultrasound sensors and technology that’s scalable to its required use, which means it could potentially be especially helpful for the smallest of our patients, like exotics or pediatrics. 

Stethoscopes may get an upgrade, too, with new designs optimized for use on the haired skin of animals that utilize artificial intelligence to detect abnormalities and calculate a heart rate from an audio clip.

How to Stay Up-to-Date With Advancements in Veterinary Medicine

These are just a few of the innovations in tools and treatments we can look forward to in 2024 and beyond. 

While advancements like these are always exciting, it can be hard to keep up with all the details we need to know about new drugs, diagnostics, and treatments. 

Plumb’s Pro™ is a veterinary-specific clinical decision support tool designed to help veterinary professionals keep up with this rapid expansion of knowledge.

Plumb’s Pro™ includes all the trusted, continually updated details from Plumb’s Veterinary Drugs®, so you can stay up to date on the latest drug information. It also contains up-to-date, peer-reviewed diagnostic and treatment information, as well as pet owner handouts that cover medications, clinical conditions, preventive care, and procedures, so you can apply exciting advances to your practice—and explain them to pet owners.

Want to see Plumb’s in action? Watch a free demo.

Ready to make Plumb’s Pro™ your partner in practice? Go Pro now.