I was here at Manchaca Road Animal Hospital. We opened July 8, 1974 on a Saturday. It was Dr. T.F. Martin and I, eagerly waiting to greet our first clients. Looking back over the years, the advancements in Veterinary medicine since the 1970’s is mind boggling. Our lab equipment was a microscope, a centrifuge, and a spectrometer. The spectrometer consisted of a small gray rectangular box with several holes for lab tubes in which you measured different chemicals with blood. These specimens were heated and timed to check out the kidney, liver, and other bodily functions, which were very important in dogs being treated for heartworm disease or in elderly patients.
Lab work was also sent out but it took days to get the results back. Now we have most results the next day. We hand counted our white cell counts which took quite awhile, especially if the patients had a certain virus. Our x-ray machine was pretty large and the films had to be developed by manually by hand dipping the film in different chemicals. Now we have an automatic processor and a much more advanced x-ray machine. External parasites like fleas, ticks and mites had to be treated by bathing and dipping the cat or dog on a regular basis with very smelly chemicals.
Today, the topical flea and tick products are wonderful and much safer to the pet and the person who is applying it. Prevention of diseases and treatment has become more successful and easier. Heartworm preventives in the 70’s had to be given to dogs every day and they were nasty tasting. Later on we finally got a chewable daily tablet and then we progressed to once monthly heartworm prevention.
I’ll never forget when the deadly parvovirus hit in 1978. Our phone literally about rang off the hook from owners calling about their sick dogs. It was horrible because the treatments weren’t that successful and the vaccines were in the new stages.
Computers entered our world in 1993 with me kicking and screaming, but I’ve finally adjusted. Now I don’t have to hand write hundreds of vaccine reminders. Dr. Martin told me in the 70’s he’d never pay an employee over $500.00 a month. That’s been a real change for the better! We have come a long way! All in all, we are still here and learning new things. I know there’s a lot more to cover from the past 36 years, but what I’ve written about seems to stand out the most. One thing I love that hasn’t changed is our great clients and pets at Manchaca Road Animal Hospital. It’s like one big family that just keeps growing.