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The Future of Veterinary Medicine

Tech highlights from the Veterinary Innovation Summit 2019, hosted at Texas A&M University


“You will not be replaced by a robot, you will be replaced by an expert who knows how to work the robot” – Jon Iwata in his presentation on AI and machine learning.


In April we visited the Veterinary Innovation Summit at Texas A&M to show off our veterinary powertool kits and make friends in Texas. I really enjoyed the chatty and energetic atmosphere. A few friends told me this conference brings out the extroverts in the vet industry and that was on display. One piece of excitement – while driving over to the summit I got treated to an extreme Texan thunderstorm complete with tornado warnings! Despite this excitement the conference continued on without a hitch.

Here’s some of my personal highlights: 

Ryan Bethencourt described the future of pet food, and it’s almost like brewing beer. His company Wild Earth, along with a host of others (like Clara Foods, Perfect Day) are using modernized fermentation to ‘brew’ edible proteins without animals. Wild Earth is part of a broader movement to reinvent food which includes companies like Memphis Meats & Beyond Meat. Bethencourt believes that cultured food products will be transformative. They certainly make big steps to solving negative health and environmental impacts of conventional proteins.

The Startup pitch competition featuring Pinpoint Pharma who is 3D printing custom medication for animals which can customize the dose and taste of the drug, Petriage who is creating a telemedicine e-consult platform for sick pets, and AnimalBiome who monitors pet’s gut bacteria.

Dr. Daniel Kraft delivered an awesome speech on exponential innovations which will revolutionize care. Sound advice from Dr. Kraft:  

“The difficulty lies not in new ideas but escaping from the old ones… Are you eating your own dog food?”

Dr. Kraft described how in the current model of medicine, health data is collected when something is wrong and scattered in paper files and siloed electronic systems. There’s a far better option: personal technology can monitor vital signs continuously and record health data comprehensively. We can connect the dots to move beyond reactive care, delivered after a disease is developed, into continuous and proactive care designed to get ahead of disease. Dr. Kraft spoke about innovations in wearables, biosensing, machine learning, and genetics which I won’t dive into here. You can read more in this article by Dr. Kraft in National Geographic.

New technologies are less interesting to me if they only impact the few who can afford them. It’s my hope that these and other technology innovations democratize access to care in the way that the smartphone democratizes access to the internet.