Information Overload Becomes A Veterinarian’s Disease…AI Comes To The Rescue!

The veterinary faculty of Utrecht University has more than 50,000 veterinary articles available on request from a large number of European universities. NARCIS (a portal for scientific information) contains more than 65,000 papers and other scientific output and DART (USA Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology Database) contains more than 565,000 theses from 569 European universities in 28 countries.

There are 35,000 animal species including 457 known vertebrates in Europe. This is only a few percent of all species living on earth. Today, there are more than 1100 veterinary medicines classified in 16 therapeutic classes on the market supplied by 40 pharmaceutical companies for more than 140 common animal diseases.

Do you know that there are more than thousands of syndromes, injuries, medical and operative protocols, and veterinary publications per year? And that pile of information will probably double every 5 years.

On the other hand, 80% of the veterinarians can spend an average of 5 hours per month following this information overload regarding subjects of interest. And study a maximum of 10 minutes per diagnosis on the intelligent use of a good treatment plan…

‘We are organisms, not angels’, explains Pinker (MIT), our minds have been developed through natural selection to solve problems that were an issue of life or death for our ancestors. The mind has not been developed to answer every question we can come up with. We cannot remember ten thousand words at the same time, we cannot see in ultraviolet light, nor can we imagine rotating the mirror image of a three-dimensional object. Our spirit owes its strength to spatial insight, a sense of time and the limited ability to combine separate elements. But the subjective consciousness and the issue of free will ‘stick something very holistic’, something of ‘everywhere-at once’, and ‘all-at-the-same-time’.

That’s where Artificial Intelligence (AI) will bring value. AI is self-learning software that allows computers to work through big-data and enable veterinarians to perform even better. AI software is self-learning, studies high volumes of data, develops correlations (statistical coherence between quantities), works much faster and develops qualitatively better information. Also in other academic research areas.

The great importance of ‘Artificial Intelligence’ is clear, by using AI well, it is evidential that it will provide more ‘value’ for solving animal problems. This executive study of MIT and BCG shows how other industries are growing into AI. You have to read this study, it will probably allow you to develop an implementation strategy for your own clinical environment.

This is the link to the full text of the MIT & BCG study:


Prof. Ger Hofstee MBA

Academic Director

International Business School for Veterinarians


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