vHive logo white

The Innovations Shaping the Animal Health Industry

The animal health industry

The animal health industry is experiencing a digital transformation, and this article looks at some of the ways Big Data is disrupting the animal health industry. From digital imaging and recording devices such as cameras, scanners and portable computers to software applications such as veterinary records management systems (VRMS), cloud storage services and artificial intelligence software programs; big data is transforming industries as varied as retailing, agriculture, travel reservations and banking. The same principle is occurring in businesses within the animal health sector – with many companies already well advanced with their own big data strategies or those they have contracted through specialised vendors. 

Data collected through new technologies such as wearable technology, automated veterinary clinics, hospital waste management systems, and virtual patient care are providing unique opportunities for medical professionals to make better decisions that are more cost-effective. Opportunities such as these are further enhanced by improved data security standards and increased collaboration between companies within the industry to increase knowledge sharing regarding emerging trends and market needs.

The rise of digital health tools in animal health

The rise of digital health tools in animal health is not surprising. As the veterinary profession is becoming increasingly digitised, so too have the tools and methods used to diagnose, treat, and monitor animals of all species. The use of imaging devices such as cameras, scanners and portable computers has led to a significant increase in the number of images taken per shift. Bottlenecks in traditional practices such as patient care can be overcome by uploading images to a central server where they are then processed automatically. A similar system is being built with cloud storage services – which will allow for easy access by staff in remote locations, this is useful as the use of telecare is on the rise. Also, this means that hospitals or clinics can now maintain an archive of patient records without needing to store these on their premises – eliminating the need for their own redundant backup systems.

kitten staring at a laptop screen

Big data and analytics in animal health

The term “big data” has been thrown around a lot lately, but what does it really mean? Big data refers to large and complex volumes of information that can be analysed for useful insights. While this may seem like it would be better off left to the experts, in reality a business needs to get its hands dirty to effectively analyse their big data. When it comes to animal health, big data analysis allows a company not only to improve customer satisfaction, but also provide valuable insight that will lead to successful product innovation and development, as well as increased productivity. Some of the most important applications of big data in animal health are:

Consumer analytics

Consumer analytics involves tracking consumer behaviour and understanding trends in order to anticipate consumer needs before they actually exist. This includes tracking purchase patterns on digital marketplaces such as Amazon or eBay, so alternative or similar products can then be offered to the consumer.

Product design

Designing new products requires analysing hundreds of different variables from similar products on the market so that changes can be made before launching a new product line. With big data, however, there’s no need for several rounds of research and trial-and-error; instead, predictive analytics can predict which variables are most likely to influence whether consumers buy your product or not, based on past purchases and similar product data.

AI and machine learning in animal health

Machine learning and artificial intelligence software programs such as IBM Watson and Google DeepMind are being applied to the health sector. AI software and machine learning are being used in areas of diagnostics, drug discovery, pharmaceutics, veterinary medicine, animal care, animal nutrition, and veterinary public health.

The potential impact of these innovations is significant: they could disrupt the existing business model of diagnostic laboratories (including their suppliers); eliminate time-consuming manual tasks in laboratories; increase drug discovery capacity and save time during clinical trials; reduce reliance on animal testing; improve efficiency by speeding up laboratory operations; improve patient outcomes by reducing errors in diagnosis or prescribing drugs; enable personalized care for patients with chronic conditions like diabetes or dementia.

dog asleep on a bed while their owner works on their laptop

The impact of 3D printing in animal health

3D printing is one of the most recent technologies to alter business operations in the animal health industry. 3D printing allows for rapid prototyping, which can then be used as a tool for product design and development. Models can be made in-house or outsourced to professional companies that have proven skills in this area. Also, 3D printed prototypes can be used to test various designs and materials before production of new innovations begin to save time, money and resources during the manufacturing process. In addition, 3D printing has led to advancements in animal health by reducing costs, improving efficiency and offering alternative treatments.

The ability to manufacture implants using 3D printers has reduced manufacturing time from 6 months to just three weeks; while a 3D printed product is less likely than an injection-based product to cause irritation or tissue damage, it is quicker and easier to apply.


“We’re in a time right now where we’re seeing a lot of change, and the way that we interact with animals is changing,” said Alanna Davison, associate director of marketing at Zoetis Canada.

The animal health industry is experiencing a lot of change. New innovations are shaping the industry and changing the way we approach animal health. From digital health tools to machine learning and AI, the animal health industry is becoming more digital than ever.

More News & Events

Presentation by our DataHub Director Kevin Wells at the 2024 European Veterinary Oncology Conference.
A dog's personality and temperament is often a distinct factor in the creation of human-animal relationships. Favourable personality...
29 Feb 2024
Nam et al., (2024) have published their results from the Dog Ageing Project...