Aug
20
2008
In an effort to try to treat two incurable dog diseases – degenerative myelopathy and dilated cardiomyopathy – University of California-Davis professor Dr. Rick Vulliet’s research ventures into the near-science-fiction realm of stem cell therapy. A self-proclaimed “agnostic” on the topic of stem cells, Vulliet has high hopes for the technology, but maintains a degree of skepticism.

He noted the large number of claims in the media regarding the apparent miracle cure that stem cells offer.

“If you read CNN[.com], you get a shot of stem cells and everything is OK,” he said. “Most of the claims are generally bogus.”

But Vulliet is determined to try to find an effective treatment for dogs with these debilitating and terminal diseases. He has already begun clinical trials on dogs with degenerative myelopathy.

To treat the dogs, Vulliet extracts adult bone marrow cells – mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) – from the patient under anesthesia. The cells are then put in a tissue culture dish for about three weeks, under conditions in which only the stem cells will grow. He then collects the cells and re-injects them into the dog intravenously.

If the treatment is viable and approved, veterinarians should be able to do the majority of the treatment in their own practices. Extracting the marrow and re-injecting the cells is a simple procedure, he said, but the cells would need to be grown in a lab.

“Any veterinary practice near a tissue culture facility could use this technique,” he said   ...more
Aug
20
2008
An anesthesia technician at the Colorado State University Animal Cancer Center felt she could predict a dog’s level of pain based on acute radiation effects. This hunch eventually led to a study on pain scores as related to acute radiation scores (ARS).

“When the skin has a specific change, we found that in general, it would predict that the animal’s pain level would be increased within a few days,” said Susan LaRue, DVM, DACVS, DACVR, one of the authors of the study. “One of the main principles of pain management is not to let the pain become bad before you start medicating.  So now we have enough data to know when to start pain medication.”

The team also found that one scoring system was more useful than another when measuring radiation therapy-related pain. ...more
Aug
6
2008
According to Sinisa Grozdanic, a researcher at Iowa State University, about 2,000 cases of Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS) are reported in dogs each year. But Grozdanic says some of those are probably misdiagnosed and are actually a different disease, Immune-Mediated Retinitis. There is currently no generally accepted cure for SARDS, but Grozdanic said that in some of his SARDS patients, intravenous immunoglobulin treatment restored enough vision for a dog to navigate a maze.

But many veterinary ophthalmologists are not convinced that it is really a new disease.

Chicago veterinary ophthalmologist Paul A. Gerding Jr., DVM, DAVCO, said he is not quite ready to accept that there is a safe and proven cure for SARDS, or that IMR is a distinct disease.

“As a researcher I’m always optimistic, as a practitioner I’m always cautious,” Gerding said. ...more
Jun
25
2008
Time Out: rabies researchers assess new, long-lasting vaccine ...more
May
14
2008
Canine Health Foundation announces genetic test for canine degenerative myelopathy ...more
Jan
9
2008
Veterinary Students Poised to Experience Virtual Reality Acupuncture Patient ...more
Nov
14
2007
Feline Genome Map: Details Released as Project Continues ...more
Oct
31
2007
Doctors, Researchers Work to Find Cure, Treatments for Fibrotic Lung Disease in Humans and Pets ...more
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