Mathematics in Veterinary Medicine

* Article written by Marcela Nunes Videira, Veterinary Medicine student at the Federal University of Amazonia.

Mathematics has been present in much of history, contributing significantly to the development of rational thinking. It has traveled through Classical Antiquity, “circumvented” the Middle Ages, reached the Modern Age, and is increasingly developing in the Contemporary World.
Nowadays, there is a great evolution in the so-called mathematical modeling, an integration and universalization of mathematics with other areas of knowledge, contributing mainly to the further development of technologies and greater control over the functioning of systems.

It is good to remember, that this area of ​​research was not a recent creation, but only gradually evolved to the existing models. In the classical period, long before the technological apparatuses that exist today, philosophers already foresaw the great importance that mathematics would have: "All things are numbers" (Pythagoras), "Numbers rule the world" (Plato). Fibonacci (1180-1250), an Italian mathematician, published a book containing a series of problems, including one about rabbit reproduction, whose resolution gave rise to the so-called Fibonacci sequence, in which each term, after the first two, is the sum. Of the previous two, this sequence proved to be very useful in describing phenomena in botany, genetics, and other fields of knowledge.

Only from the Renaissance period, however, did the importance of scientific observations be expressed in precise mathematical language. It is necessary to measure what is measurable and make what is not measurable, said Galileo Galilei, one of the most important scientists of the century. XVII. He also said that the book of nature was written in mathematical language.

Descartes believed that the philosopher, in order to build new knowledge, had to go from the simplest to the most complex aspects. And finally, test through calculations and further calculations if nothing had been forgotten (a kind of validation). He wanted to apply the "mathematical method" to philosophical reflection, wanted to prove philosophical truths similarly as a mathematical principle proves, employing to both the same tool you use when working with numbers: the reason.

If we look at the books and texts of Biology, Medicine, Agronomy, etc., which are used today in our Universities and compare with those of twenty years ago, we will notice that today these books contain much more mathematical formulas than in the past. Science is increasingly "mathematizing" itself through the development of mathematical models that describe natural phenomena adequately. The intense pace of technological development of the present time produces the following phenomenon: the time elapsing between development of an applicative mathematical theory and its practical use.

Obviously in veterinary medicine is no different, mathematical modeling is constantly present, is already contributing to the therapeutic and surgical planning of various diseases, the development of models for the dynamics of the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, tumor growth, transport , dosage and absorption of drugs, surgery training, in the area of ​​epidemiology of infectious diseases, genetics, among others.

Mathematics significantly assists in genetic research, for the improvement of species and, consequently, better optimization of livestock production through the theory of probability, which allows us to discover the chances of obtaining a given result from an experimental cross.

Mathematical functions can assist the veterinarian in calculating a patient's heart or respiratory rate, allowing a precise diagnosis of the patient's condition, increasing the chances of successfully treating a physiological disorder.

The dosage of a certain drug is indispensable during the recovery of an animal, because if there is any excess or lack of substance in the body, there may be a radical change in metabolism. In surgical cases, the right anesthetic measure can determine the outcome of a surgery. . These dosages are determined according to the animal's weight through ratio and proportion calculations associated with pharmacological knowledge.

In the ecological aspect, the relationship between predator and prey can be modeled by analyzing the overgrowth of one population over another, obtaining data on extinction and allowing greater control over species and the ecosystem.

Regarding infectious diseases, mathematics can assist in the analysis of the growth of virus and bacterial populations through exponential or logistic curves determining the impact of epidemics, or the growth of bacterial "cultures" useful in the development of new substances. for the pharmaceutical industry.

In summary, mathematics is increasingly essential to veterinary medicine, because through it allowed the professional in this area, the creation of models and methods to solve the most diverse situations, favoring a better integration of the problem and its practical resolution.