HOW DOGS AND CATS BENEFIT FROM ANIMAL RESEARCH

Follow the hyperlinks to see blog posts with more information about how each treatment was developed with animal research, and how each has been used to save and improve the lives of both people and their companion animals.  

 

SURGERIES

  • Tremendous progress has been made in the management of canine hip dysplasia, a hereditary condition frequently seen in large dogs that often leads to degenerative joint disease. Advanced surgical procedures, such as the triple pelvic osteotomy, help to restore joint and limb function and improve the personality and activity levels in affected dogs.
  • A new technique in open-heart surgery to correct subaortic stenosis (a narrowing of the aorta), which had been performed on children with this congenital heart defect, has been successfully adapted by veterinarians to extend and enhance the lives of dogs with this common heart abnormality.
  • When renal failure in cats is prolonged and progressive, and other moderate disease maintenance approaches are no longer beneficial, kidney transplants are performed to enhance and extend life.
  • Surgical options are now possible for feline hyperthyroidism, the most common endocrine disease affecting older cats. Hyperthyroidism usually results from the development of a benign tumor(s) of the thyroid gland which produces too much thyroid hormone and greatly increases metabolism, causing severe physical and behavioral changes.
  • Laser surgery has become practical for treating dogs and cats for chronic ear infections, eye surgery, and tumor removal.
  • For working dogs, in service as seeing-eye companions, police dogs or search and rescue operatives, cataracts can mean the end of a productive career. Fortunately, cataract surgery, performed with the same procedure and equipment used on humans is available to restore sight.

MEDICATIONS

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have been developed to provide relief from canine arthritis, a painful degenerative joint disease that affects one in five adult dogs. As many as one in 200 cats have feline diabetes. Today, they are successfully treated with daily injections of insulin products designed especially for animals.
  • Heartworm is a devastating disease that causes substantial damage to the heart and lungs of cats and dogs. Transmitted by mosquitoes, it is an infestation of long, thin worms in the right side of the heart. Heartworm is readily preventable with the regular administration medication (ivermectin). And though somewhat more difficult, treatment is also available to kill the parasites.
  • The prevalence of epilepsy in the dog population is estimated to be 0.5 to 5.7 percent. One or more seizures per month can be controlled with anticonvulsive drugs, such as Phenobarbital or diazepam (Valium).
  • Separation anxiety in dogs, a condition characterized by behavioral signs of distress only in the absence of the owner, is successfully treated by early administration of anti-anxiety medications (benzodiazepines).
  • Two percent of the American dog population is estimated to have canine compulsive disorder. Medication with selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors is being evaluated for its effectiveness in dogs that exhibit excessive tail chasing, licking and barking.

VACCINES

DIAGNOSTIC TOOLS

MEDICAL DEVICES

  • Abnormal cardiac rhythms in cats and dogs can result in weakness, poor stamina or even loss of consciousness. One of the most effective remedies for heart rhythm disruption is the pacemaker, which controls heart rate with electrical stimulation to the heart muscle. They have a working life of seven to 15 years, which usually accommodates the life expectancy of most middle-aged pets. Advanced dentistry is available to relieve pain and restore function in an estimated 85 percent of dogs and 75 percent of cats with dental problems. New preventive dental therapies reduce the plaque and tartar build-up that leads to gum disease and eventually to heart, liver and kidney damage.
  • Animal contact lenses are now available for companion and service animals that have suffered eye injuries – giving aging pets a new lease (or leash!) on life.

LIFESTYLE