Written by Michael W. Miller, DVM
I want to discuss the new Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald movie so, so, so badly after seeing it, but no spoilers will be given here since I vowed to #ProtectTheSecrets.
You may safely read on even if you haven’t seen the movie yet!
What I will instead focus on is how J.K. Rowling has altered the understanding of her entire Wizarding World by revealing new intricacies to her fans in this film. By all measures, the Harry Potter story was exceedingly successful and created passionate fan responses. Despite that Potter mania, the creative author wants to reveal a further understanding of her story with details that she hadn’t shared initially.
These new revelations both enhance and change the perception of the previous works. (I’m telling you, this new movie was mind blowing for myself as a Potter fan – in the best possible way.) So, this whole concept made me wonder, what key parts of the story of veterinary medicine are left to be discovered that could make a big impact?
In vet med, sometimes we forget that medical science is constantly advancing. I was warned in vet school that much of what I learned may be outdated in 5 years. Well, after only two years I discovered that a technique I was taught in ophthalmology was no longer recommended by the specialist. Now the procedure is performed using a new tool that I had never even heard of during school. Two years and I was suddenly “old school” in my methods! Veterinary medical science had advanced that quickly.
New prescription drugs are constantly in production, and some recent medications have completely changed our approach to certain conditions. None of these drugs were taught to me in vet school because they didn’t even exist then. However, these medications still build on the base of knowledge established while I was in school even if there’s more to the original story.
The details change. The science evolves. The medicine improves. But, the foundation I learned continues to guide my understanding of veterinary medicine just like the initial Harry Potter books don’t change even when new movies alter our understanding of the old knowledge. That’s right, I just compared Crimes of Grindelwald to a medication like Apoquel. Both spark strong feelings from supporters and critics. Neither is exactly what was expected, but both have changed the way we discuss what came before.
Another example is the societal changes that have affected the business of veterinary medicine. At the end of the day, we are still providing a service to a client to manage the health of an animal. However, technological advances do affect how this service is provided. Routine vaccine reminders have evolved from postcards and phone calls to now include emails, text messages, and app notifications. Advertising has moved from phonebook and newspaper ads to internet search engine optimizations and social media posts. Paper records have become digital computerized records. Herd checks can involve a drone fly-over. Telemedicine is on the horizon.
Did you notice none of that changes the fact that a client is asking a veterinary team for medical care of their beloved animal? The framework of the story remains, but new nuances change the experience of that story. And, like the Fantastic Beasts movies, the newest adjustments can receive mixed reactions.
So, just like the story of the Wizarding World, our veterinary medical profession will continue to evolve as new information is made available to us. No matter how much we like our current situation, we will be given new advancements that may cause disruption. I have witnessed the transfiguration of veterinary medicine already in my short career.
We have a choice: stubbornly avoid change to cling to what is comfortable, or courageously embrace the next chapter of veterinary medicine.
Will you continue to discover the new magic of veterinary medicine when there’s more to the story?