New Treatments for Pets Can Help Eventually Help People

Advances in veterinary medicine can have far-reaching benefits for humans, as evidenced by treatments for asthma, diabetes, and neuromuscular disorder that had their beginnings with animal treatments.

Another common ailment among mammals is cancer and treatments being tried on dogs now could help cure cancer in humans tomorrow. For example, the University of Georgia’s (UGA) Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Athens is conducting clinical trials to test a new chemotherapy as well as an imaging technique designed to hopefully detect cancer cells too small to see using traditional X-rays and scans.

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After Bonnie Fogle’s dog Godiva was diagnosed with breast cancer, her vet referred Fogle to the clinical trial. “I didn’t know such a thing existed and when they explained it to me and gave me the information on it, I was, like, If this will help her, and maybe help others in the future, I am all for it.”

UGA veterinary oncologist Dr. Corey Saba and her team ran tests to see if Godiva’s tumors had spread to her lymph nodes. Based solely on ultrasound results, it would appear the cancer had not spread but using the experimental imaging the researchers found cancer cells that were otherwise invisible so they removed the lymph nodes to stop the spread.

Dr.Saba notes, “Godiva is definitely fortunate that she was in this trial because she had a bigger surgery than what she would have normally had. But she’s also a very valuable piece of data moving forward with these trials, both in dogs and in people.”

Fogle is pleased Godiva may help both animals and people in the future but shoe’s mostly just grateful for the treatment that helped Godiva. “She’s part of my family. I cherish every day.” Fogle said.

According to the ASPCA, symptoms of cancer in dogs may include:

➢      Lumps

➢      Swelling

➢      Persistent sores

➢      Abnormal discharges

➢      Bad breath

➢      Lethargy

➢      Unexplained weight loss

➢      Black, tarry stools (a symptom of ulcers, which can be caused by mast cell tumors)

➢      Decreased or loss of appetite

➢      Difficulty breathing, urinating or defecating

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