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Any person who has or has had a pet would agree that pets are a part of the family just as any person is. We take care of them, love them, and play with them throughout their lives. Just as one tries to take care of a member of their family, one also tries to take care of them in the best way possible, including through veterinary care. We also try to protect the animals around us and try to preserve our wildlife as best we can. Advances in science are helping us let our pets live longer and discover new things about human beings along the way.
With medical advances, while pets are living longer than ever before, animals also face more difficulties towards the ends of their lives. For instance, according to the Veterinary Cancer Society, 1 in 4 dogs will get cancer in their lifetimes, just as 1 in 3 people will develop cancer within their lifetimes (Mother Nature Network). However, because of our genetic similarities to dogs, researchers have begun to search for solutions through animal clinical trials. Dogs and humans share 95% of the same genetic information, and diseases such as melanoma and breast cancer manifest nearly identically. Researchers are now hoping to find, through clinical trials, more advances in understanding and treatment of these diseases. If scientists can find a method to cure animal cancer, they have another idea of how this can be applied to human medical research. Clinical trials are open to the public, so if your pet or your friend would like to be a part of the trial, pet owners can access the American Veterinary Medical Association’s database that provides options available to your pet depending on diagnosis, field, country of origin, and pet species. The database provides opportunities for both cutting-edge clinical trials and conventional therapies such as chemotherapy. While researchers cannot fully guarantee the effectiveness of clinical trials (because of their experimental nature), these trials may serve to help dogs and dog owners of the future. In the database, you may be able to find that there is a trial going on at a university near you. At times, financial compensation is also available for those who participate in these studies. You can find the database here.
New innovations in vaccination in animals may also help humans in the long run. For instance, a new vaccine for dogs is being developed to prevent a disease called atopic dermatitis. Atopic Dermatitis is a common allergic skin disease that is common and dogs and can contribute to excessive itching and loss of fur (Technology Networks). Atopic dermatitis is often brought on by an allergic reaction to dust mites. However, a vaccine is currently in the works to prevent the disease. Scientists are also hoping that this vaccine will be the gateway to preventing similar allergic skin diseases in human patients as well. The same thing is currently being done with horses. Scientists are currently developing a therapy for allergic reactions caused by insect bites, also called summer eczema. These allergic reactions can cause painful lesions on the horse. The same cell being targeted in horses for this allergic reaction can also help reveal new treatment options for human patients with asthma.
There have been numerous research innovations to help remedy certain animal diseases. While pets have been living longer than ever before, living longer comes with a higher probability for developing diseases such as cancer. Luckily, new clinical trials are being done across the nation to help find new ways to cure cancer in dogs. They also hope to use that same information to eventually help human patients. Researchers have also been developing vaccines and therapies for dogs and horses for skin allergies. With what scientists have learned from the vaccine, it is possible that they can also apply this new information to human patients. It is really cool to see that while trying to cure diseases for our pets, we can also learn ways to help humans in the future. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for both man and animal and the scope of medical research.