Pet Organ Donation
Author, Professional Pet Sitting Etc.
It’s never easy to say goodbye to a beloved pet, but knowing he can help other pets in medical need may provide some comfort. Not only can your pet’s legacy live on by providing the gift of life through research and treatment discovery, but he can also provide organs, bones and tissue to pets in need.
Pet organ donation is a relatively new concept born in a Kansas City, Kansas research company called Likarda. The company began by researching a pet diabetes treatment using cells from healthy pancreases which were donated by pet parents. Traditionally, pets are treated for diabetes in the same manner as humans, with daily insulin injections. By using the healthy pancreas cells, researchers are confident they can develop a one-time injection treatment for diabetic pets.
Grafts can treat a variety of pet disorders: bones can be mended and limbs spared from amputation; blindness can be prevented; joints can be repaired; loose teeth can be saved rather than removed. One example of a successful graft using donated pet tissue involved an Otterhound who suffered from melanoma on the white part of his eye. The tumor was successfully removed, but a gap where it had been remained. Using a graft from the eye of a dog donor, the Otterhound’s eyeball was repaired, returned to its normal appearance, and the dog’s vision remained intact.
Bone cancer, severe fractures and gunshot wounds can easily damage an animal’s leg beyond repair and removal of the affected bone will leave the limb unsupported and nonfunctional. A piece of donor bone can be used to fill the gap, giving the pet the stability and function he had before.
While humans have the benefit of becoming an organ donor simply by checking a box on their driver license, and becoming a recipient by being added to a transplant list, it’s much more complicated for our beloved furry friends. Unlike with humans, there is no infrastructure or national network in place in the event of a sudden pet death. But that could be changing. The Pet Organ Donation Network, an affiliate of research company Likarda, works to connect veterinarians, researchers and pet owners in the Kansas City, Kansas area. The organs are harvested from euthanized petss and, just like with human donors, when organs can’t be used for transplant, they are sent to research labs. While the service is currently available only in the Kansas City area, there may be a similar service in your area. Simply research “pet organ donation” online, and see what you and your pet can do to help others in need.
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