Clinical trials benefit man's best friend - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Clinical trials benefit man's best friend

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UNDATED (WJRT) - (06/17/14) - Did you know that 6 million dogs are diagnosed with cancer each year?

Just like humans, animals can suffer from a variety of diseases. And, just like humans, they can benefit from clinical research.  

The FDA has gone to the dogs. Clinical trials are benefiting man's best friend, and some dog owners are taking advantage of the opportunity.

Ten-year-old hank loves his playtime.    

"He likes to chase squirrels, not fast, but he likes to chase squirrels," said Kaye Coleman, Hank's owner.

When Hank developed arthritis in his hip, he wasn't able to keep up with his sister - Harriet.  

"When he wakes up, it takes him a few minutes to get up and start walking in the morning," Coleman said.

Coleman enrolled him in a clinical trial to test Cerekin - a new therapy for arthritis in dogs.    

"Some of the dogs are doing a lot better on it," said Dickson Bain, DVM, Hillside Veterinary Clinic.

Bain says there are FDA trials for dogs with all kinds of ailments.    

"Basically, pets have everything we have, so we treat them for pretty much everything people have," he said.

About six million dogs are diagnosed with cancer each year, 800,000 have type-one diabetes, and more than 14 million pets in the U.S. have arthritis.  

"Any dog over 50 pounds is going to have arthritis," Bain said.

A team of animal and human doctors recently launched the national veterinary cancer registry, which helps pet owners find clinical trials in their area. The goal is to help animals and humans. Many times - the trials are free and owners don't know if their pet will receive a drug or a placebo.  
Hank seems to be getting around better since starting the clinical trial. Coleman hopes he continues to improve.    

"I would hope that it gives him a quality of life that he can sustain for the rest of his life," she said.

Experts say a major benefit of studying treatments in dogs is researchers can decrease the cost and cut the time involved in drug discovery. Dogs age much faster than humans and their diseases progress more rapidly.

To find out more about cancer trials in your area, click HERE
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