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2020 Winning Essay – Pedro L


Pedro L, 100% Scholarship Winner

Humanization of Pets and the Humanization of Veterinary Medicine

Pedro went on to study Medicine Career Insights with Immerse Education. Read his story here

“A dog is a man’s best friend” is a timeless phrase which reflects on humans’ close relationship with animals. This close dependence on animals gave rise to the veterinary profession, which has evolved immensely over the course of time. In the future, veterinary medicine will become more similar to human medicine as the newer generations further humanize animals.

Throughout time, there has been a shift in the way humans view animals. First, animals had a practical use, later, they began to be seen as a friend. Now, they are seen as part of the family and as an equivalent being (Bekoff, 2007), they are viewed as another child. This shift began at the beginning of the twenty-first century (Fox et Gee, 2016) and greatly impacted the pet industry. In 2018 it was a $225 Billion business, expected to grow to $281 billion until 2023 (Edge by Ascental through Business Insider). This represents an increased willingness to spend money on pets which translates into more expensive procedures such as the ones available to humans.

This permits veterinary medicine to approximate human medicine by allowing more expensive procedures to be performed on animals. Previously, instead of performing expensive procedures, an animal would be put down (Fox et Gee, 2016) because it was not the norm to spend a large amount of money on a pet because there was less of an emotional connection. According to research conducted by Fox et Gee (2016), pet medical insurances have begun to pay increasingly more expensive procedures which mirror human medicine which spares no cost to save a life. 

Additionally, veterinary medicine will begin to imitate human medicine in the treatment methods in use. Seeing as owners increasingly humanize and become attached to pets, they are compelled to safeguard their pet’s health. Thus, instead of the responsive treatment previously employed, veterinarians are increasingly utilizing preventative medicine, like in human medicine

Finally, as a result of the humanization of animals and their coexistence with humans, they have adopted several human habits. More than habits, pets have adopted human diseases. According to the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (2014a), obese and overweight pets accounted for 45% of the population, reflecting the current trend in humans. Therefore, a major portion of veterinary medicine in the future will be nutrition counseling much like in humans.

Also, as nutrition and care improve, animals live longer, leading to diseases associated with aging; i.e. arthritis, cancer, diabetes, and chronic renal disease (Rock et Babinec, 2008). These diseases are also increasingly present in human society, thus, the treatment of these veterinary medicines will become more similar to human medicine.

In the future veterinary medicine will become extremely similar to human medicine due to the humanization of pets that has become a trend in the twenty-first century. The evolution of human-pet relationship throughout time has resulted in humans viewing pets as an equal, thus, they are more inclined to invest in costly procedures like they would for another human. Additionally, through human interaction and increase in longevity, companion animals are increasingly affected by end-of-life disease and obesity, much like human society.


Fox, Michael W. “https://www.hsvma.org/future_veterinary_profession_050812#.XiY65cj7Q2y.” HSVMA, www.hsvma.org/future_veterinary_profession_050812#.XiY65cj7Q2y. Accessed 20 Jan. 2020.

Fox, Rebekah, and Nancy R. Gee. “Changing conceptions of care: The Humanization of the Aompanion Animal-human Relationship.” Society and Animals, 2016.

“The Future of Veterinary Medicine.” PennVet, www.vet.upenn.edu/about/what-we-do/future-of-veterinary-medicine. Accessed 20 Jan. 2020.

Nielsen, N. Ole, and Peter Eyre. “Tailoring Veterinary Medicine for the Future by Emphasizing One Health.” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2017.

Prasse, Keith W., DVM, Phd, et al. “Envisioning the Future of Veterinary Medicine: the Imperative for Change in the vetrinary Medicine Education.” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2007, avmajournals.avma.org/doi/full/10.2460/javma.231.9.1340. Accessed 20 Jan. 2020.

“The $225 billion pet care industry is exploding, as millennials delay marriage and babies while turning to pets to ‘fill that void.'” The Buisness Insider, www.businessinsider.com/pet-care-industry-grows-as-millennials-elevate-pets-2019-5. Accessed 20 Jan. 2020.

Veevers, Jean E. “The social meanings of pets: Alternative roles for companion animals.” Marriage and Family Review, psycnet.apa.org/record/1986-09101-001.

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