SOME CHANGES IN OUR PROFESSION

In presidential addresses and similar utterances some statements are so often heard that they have almost become platitudes.  One is to the effect that, though motor traction has influenced us adversely, new channels of work are opening to us in compensation.  Some of us are almost weary of hearing this constantly reiterated assertion, but not all realize how true it is.

   The two chief substitutes for work of which motors have deprived us are canine and feline practice and preventive medicine. Both had begun to open to us before the motor made its first appearance towards the close of the last century, and both have been expanding ever since.  In the case of the former, the expansion has already been immense. Few young practitioners perhaps realize how greatly our general attitude towards dogs and cats has changed within the last thirty years.  At one time many refused to treat these animals, to-day they enter into almost every practice, form the bulk of the work in not a few, and all of it in some. Again, in the old days, those veterinary surgeons who did treat dogs and cats often did so casually and perfunctorily, and often, also had a very imperfect knowledge of their diseases. That also has changed, for we now examine and treat dogs and cats as carefully and intelligently as we do horses, and our general knowledge regarding these animals and their diseases never was so high as it is to-day.  This revolution began before the advent of the motor, though it has been accelerated by the latter, and its effects have been various.  One of them is that we have become of real use to a section of the community very much larger than the horse-owning one, and shall continue to be so.

   Preventive medicine has not developed at the same pace as canine and feline practice, but it is still developing fast.   It affords whole-time or part-time employment to many more men now than a few years ago; and it is quite certain that the number will yet greatly increase.   But some of us can remember a time of which it is not too much to say that preventive medicine hardly figured in veterinary activity at all.

   In a transition stage, such as we are undergoing now, it is difficult to prophesy.  But it seems more than probable that these two new departments of our work may ultimately recoup us for all that we have so far really lost by the introduction of motors. Great as the damage that motors have done us undoubtedly is, it is not really so great as it seems at first sight.   Other factors besides motor traction have been diminishing our old sources of income of late years, and these we shall consider in a future note.