Tag Archives: veterinarian

Cat saved by a dog- and you’ll never guess how!

dog and cat lying togetherIt’s a happy ending for Buttercup the cat, but the story didn’t start out that way. When Buttercup’s owner brought him to the vet clinic, he was pretty sick. He was lethargic and his red blood cell count was abnormally low. What he needed was a blood transfusion- but veterinarians didn’t think he had much time left. As donated cat blood wasn’t readily available, vets turned to the next best thing: dog blood.

That’s right- Buttercup the cat received a blood transfusion with donated dog blood! Cats and dogs have blood types, like humans do, but just as there is a universal blood type in humans (if you’re curious, it’s O negative), there’s also a universal blood type in dogs. Buttercup received a blood transfusion from the equivalent of an “O negative” blood donor, and the blood transfusion bought Buttercup enough time to allow his own bone marrow to produce new red blood cells.

Cross-species blood transfusions, also called xenotransfusions, aren’t very common in veterinary medicine. However, in Buttercup’s case, he was lucky that this was a viable option! Thanks to advances in biomedical research and an anonymous greyhound blood donor, Buttercup has a shot at ALL nine lives. 

Read more about Buttercup’s story here.

Spaying and neutering: are there long-term health effects?

iStock_000001760646SmallIt’s a well-known mantra: “Spay or neuter your pets.” The intention is usually to reduce the unwanted pet population by preventing pets from reproducing, but new research shows that spaying or neutering could contribute to other health problems.

Researchers investigated the incidences of several joint disorders (hip and elbow dysplasia and cranial cruciate ligament tear) and cancers (lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, mast cell tumors, and mammary cancer). They found an increase in the incidence of two joint disorders and three cancers in neutered or spayed dogs, and interestingly, they found that the dog’s breed makes a difference.

In both Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers, the incidence of joint disorders in intact dogs is about 5%. From analyzing data from veterinary hospital records, researchers found that neutering Labradors at under six months of age doubled the incidence of joint disorders, and neutering Goldens at under six months of age increased the chance of a joint disorder to 4-5 times that of an intact dog. They also found that spaying female Goldens increased the incidence of other cancers by 3-4 times!

This is important information, because Labradors and Goldens are both very popular breeds, and understanding the associated risks of spaying or neutering should be important to pet owners. It’s also possible that research like this could prompt new recommendations for spaying and neutering, while taking the dog’s age and breed into account.

Responsible pet ownership is a hot topic, and spaying and neutering has been an invaluable part of reducing the numbers of unwanted pets that end up in shelters. What do you think? Have you spayed or neutered your pets? Why or why not?

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0102241

Prospects for puppies with parvovirus: possibly pleasantly positive!

sick puppyAnyone who has worked at a vet clinic likely knows the nightmare called PARVO. Canine parvovirus is an extremely contagious viral disease that attacks white blood cells, can cause permanent damage to the heart, and is often fatal, even after expensive treatments. But thanks to geese, puppies may have a light at the end of the tunnel… and not that light!

While working on treatments for geese with West Nile virus, researchers at Avianax discovered that antibodies harvested from the yolks of goose eggs could be purified, put back into other birds, and effectively treat the animals.

Naturally, their next step was… saving puppies, of course! Incredibly, this new drug can work in as quickly as two days against parvovirus. So far, early tests are showing a 90% cure rate, and at a projected $75 a dose, this could be a game-changer! Trials will run through the fall of 2014, and the hope is that this treatment could be on the market by spring of 2015.

Avianax has also realized that these antibodies could potentially make a difference when it comes to treating rabies, dengue fever, bird flu, and some kinds of cancer. Human trials are considerably more expensive and time-consuming, so future studies are definitely further down the road, but this is something worth keeping an eye on!

http://bostonherald.com/business/business_markets/2014/06/trial_results_promising_for_curing_puppies_parvo