Sharing the planet with animals sometimes means sharing diseases such as SARS, avian influenza, or swine flu. But it can also mean sharing benefits of animal research.
For example, animals and humans can suffer from different versions of the same disease. Veterinary treatments for diabetes, cancer and arthritis are based on corresponding therapies for people developed through animal research.
Millions of pets and livestock have been vaccinated to protect them from anthrax, distemper, canine parvovirus, feline leukemia, rabies and other diseases, thanks to animal research.
Developed through research using calves, the pasteurellosis vaccine now protects against this once-widespread severe respiratory disease. More than 100 million cattle have been vaccinated.
Animal research on cats allowed researchers to develop a vaccine to prevent feline leukemia, once a fatal blood cancer in cats.
Dog research allowed scientists to isolate the virus that causes canine distemper, a leading cause of death among puppies. Research led to a vaccine that has controlled spread of the virus in developed countries, although the disease continues to threaten unvaccinated dog populations.
The researchers injected insulin into a diabetic dog and restored it to health. Additional studies in rabbits showed how to balance insulin doses and blood sugar to avoid insulin overdose. Animals were essential to the research because hormones are carried in blood and must be studied in a living system.
UBC Animal Welfare Program researchers are contributing to our understanding of the impacts of feeding, lameness, housing, separation of calves from cows, and other welfare issues. They are also making recommendations on pain management to reduce suffering caused by dehorning methods that use caustic paste or a hot iron.
Looking at cage size, social contact, bedding type, and environmental enrichments, researchers aim to design the ideal rat cage. The data will help animal caretakers improve environments for this valued research animal.
Researchers are looking at Steller sea lions at the Vancouver Aquarium to better understand nutritional needs and develop new techniques for studying the animal in the wild, leading to more effective conservation of wild seals and sea lions.
The Open Water Project, also conducted in collaboration with the Vancouver Aquarium, explores how much energy Steller sea lions use looking for food. The data will help scientists devise ways to help declining wild populations recover.
Seahorse populations are threatened by widespread use in traditional Chinese medicine, and by aquarium and curios trades. In addition, they suffer from habitat destruction and incidental catch by trawlers.
In 2002, all 32 species of seahorse gained international protection under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Wild Fauna and Flora, thanks to the work of Project Seahorse members.
CWD symptoms include weight loss, listlessness, and in elk, hyper-excitability and excessive salivation and tooth grinding.
Until recently the only way to confirm a diagnosis involved examination of the brain, tonsils or lymph nodes after death. In 2008, researchers developed the first rectal-tissue biopsy method for detecting chronic wasting disease in living captive and wild elk. The technique allows researchers to detect CWD in animals not yet showing symptoms, allowing for early diagnosis and removal from the herd. This means fewer animals will contract the disease and culls of diseased animals to control spread of CWD can be reduced.
Researchers experimented with laparoscopy, a minimally invasive surgical technique proved beneficial for humans, to look at post-operative recovery from the inside out. Entering the abdomen with a laparoscope, a long instrument attached to a video camera, surgeons can find and detach adhesions that form post-operatively. The procedure offers a better prognosis – once described as grim - for foals and horses undergoing abdominal surgery.
Today more than 2,000 hip replacements are performed annually in North America, giving a new life to dogs suffering from severe hip dysplasia - a painful, degenerative joint condition.
Dogs have also received prosthetic paws and legs that use titanium alloys which mimic animal hide, so skin and bone can fuse onto the metal implant, providing a permanent new part.
Source: Understanding Animal Research
UBC supports neuroscientist Doris Doudet’s research
Animal rights activists occasionally use posters and leaflets to target leading UBC neuroscientist Doris Doudet, a professor of Neurology and a member of the Pacific Parkinson’s Research Centre and Brain Research Centre, who uses advanced imaging techniques in non-human primates to better understand the disease processes involved in Parkinson’s Disease (PD). This work has the potential to become a valuable approach to evaluating new therapies for PD, a disease that has devastating impacts on the lives of millions of patients and their families.
Neuroscience research kicks of World Cup
More than a billion people all around the globe got their first look at cutting edge neuroscience research in action today when a paraplegic youth wearing a thought-controlled, robotic exoskeleton kicked a ball to launch the 2014 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony in São Paulo, Brazil.
The Canadian Council on Animal Care animal use data report for 2011 is now available online. Details of the types of animals used, categories of invasiveness and purpose of animal use are available in the summary report.News
Yeast, cows and GM mice – 2013 Nobel Prize highlights contribution of model organisms in biomedical science
This morning the The Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly to James E. Rothman, Randy W. Schekman and Thomas C. Südhof “for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells”.
“Why I am a Laboratory Animal Veterinarian”
Kelly Walton DVM, a third year student of comparative medicine at Colorado State University, explains why her love of animals led her to a career in laboratory animal welfare.
Wed Jan 5 2011
By: Katy Proudfoot
The Animal Welfare Program aims to improve the welfare and humane care of animals in agriculture, research, companionship and other areas, and to help build knowledge-based consensus on the broader ethical questions that arise over human use of animals.