After something of a break from this column, I am back! And I couldn’t decide which subject to tackle first so have a read of the start of two possible articles, one on cruciate disease and one on the veterinary recruitment crisis:
“Cruciate ligament disease is a common ailment among dogs, particularly those that are larger or more active. There are several surgical procedures available to treat this condition, including tibial tuberosity advancement (TTA) and tibial plateau levelling osteotomy (TPLO). In this essay, we will compare these two procedures, examining their similarities and differences, as well as their effectiveness and potential complications.
“Both TTA and TPLO are orthopaedic procedures that are performed to stabilise the knee joint in dogs suffering from cruciate ligament disease. The goal of both procedures is to reposition the tibia in relation to the femur, preventing abnormal movement that can cause pain and further damage to the joint.
“However, the two techniques achieve this in different ways. TTA involves cutting the tibial tuberosity, which is the bony protrusion at the top of the tibia, and advancing it forward. This changes the angle of the patellar ligament, which connects the patella to the tibia, and in turn, the angle of the forces acting on the knee joint. This new angle helps to stabilise the joint and reduce stress on the damaged cruciate ligament.
“TPLO, on the other hand, involves cutting the tibia and rotating the plateau on which the femur sits. This rotation levels out the slope of the tibial plateau, again changing the angle of the forces acting on the knee joint and stabilising it.”
Or shall we go for option b:
“One of the primary factors contributing to the veterinary recruitment crisis in the UK is the high level of debt that veterinary students often incur during their training. The cost of veterinary school is notoriously high, and many students graduate with substantial student loan debts. This can discourage students from entering the profession, as they may not feel that they can afford to work in a field with relatively low salaries and high levels of stress.
“Another key driver of the recruitment crisis is the high levels of stress and burnout experienced by veterinary professionals. The veterinary profession is notorious for its long hours, high-pressure work environment and emotional demands. Many veterinarians report feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by the demands of their jobs, which can lead to high rates of turnover and burnout. This in turn exacerbates the recruitment crisis, as it can be difficult to attract new veterinarians to a profession that is known for its high levels of stress and burnout.
“A third factor contributing to the recruitment crisis is the high demand for veterinary services in the UK. As the UK’s pet population continues to grow, there is an increasing need for veterinary care. However, there are not enough qualified veterinarians to meet this demand.”
In truth, I am writing about neither subject, and also in all truth, I am not writing at all for either of those excerpts. Both were written for me in less than a minute each by an AI chatbot (ChatGPT, run by a company called OpenAI). All I have done is cut them slightly.
With the RCVS legislating to allow remote prescription, how long will it be before rogue pharmacy websites employ AI chatbot vets to prescribe?
The AI bot does a quick literature search and writes about what you ask it to. I was pleased that they were not too good, and I am hoping that any regular readers will have read both and thought they lacked a certain je ne sais quois (I don’t know what). But for a quick summary of scientific fact, they do the job reasonably well, certainly for a layman.
With the RCVS legislating to allow remote prescription, how long will it be before rogue pharmacy websites employ AI chatbot vets to prescribe? They certainly can do a reasonable job of giving advice on cruciate disease. How would the RCVS even be able to tell if they were being used for initial triage and consulting? Will they be employing a veterinary blade runner to root out the AI robot vets working online?
Anyone who knows their classic sci-fi will know that there is a lengthy passage at the start of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Phillip K Dick (on which Blade Runner is based) praising vets and discussing what a difficult job it must be having real animals’ lives in your hands.
For vets, the Voight-Kampff test will always be the client coming in five minutes before closing with an animal that has ‘… just not been quite right for a few weeks’. How we deal with that situation is always deeply human
The factual knowledge of these machines will always outstrip our abilities. However, I think that we will always need the human touch and experience. In Blade Runner, the Voight-Kampff test was a test used by the LAPD’s Blade Runners to assist in determining whether or not an individual was a robot.
For vets, the Voight-Kampff test will always be the client coming in five minutes before closing with an animal that has “… just not been quite right for a few weeks”. How we deal with that situation is always deeply human.