Life Lines

Advancements in veterinary care

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Image source: Richard Drew /AP, MSNBC

I was just reading an article from The New York Times about advances in veterinary care and the ability to diagnose as well as treat many conditions that were once considered causes for euthanasia. These included leukemia (treated with bone marrow transplants), urinary tract disorders (treated with inserting stents), arthritis (new treatment available involving stem cell transplants), and cancer (surgical removal of tumors and chemotherapy (like the dog above)) among other new technologies and techniques. Some facilities are even offering at-home palliative care for elderly animals. Just like treatments for humans, the costs of treating our pets are very high and not often covered by pet insurance due to limitations in policies or lack of insurance. The article mentioned one family that spent about $25,000 for chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants to cure their 10-year old chow of leukemia. Unfortunately, the animal passed away 9 months later from liver cancer.

What is most interesting to a comparative physiologist, is that new technologies and treatments are often tested in animals to help treat their conditions prior to testing or approval for use in humans. What that means is that advances in veterinary care may at times precede advances in medical care for humans.

Sources:
The New York Times

Critterology

MSNBC