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Surprising Science

Why Your Doctor and Your Veterinarian Might Be BFFs

Human and animal doctors and researchers are collaborating more frequently, leading to quicker medical advances for both groups.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What’s the Latest Development?

Researchers are increasingly turning to dogs, horses, sheep and pigs, and the professionals who care for and study them, in order to gain insight about treatments for human diseases. Veterinary personnel are looking to their human medical counterparts as well, resulting in collaborative projects such as the National Cancer Center’s comparative oncology program, which studies cancer in dogs and humans. “It is not unusual…for veterinary surgeons to call in their human-medicine counterparts for consultations…Vets go on rounds at hospitals for people, and vice versa.”

What’s the Big Idea?

According to one researcher, rodents as test subjects simply aren’t good enough: “The drugs cure the mice and keep failing when we try them on humans…The whole system is broken.” Dogs and other animals have physiologies and anatomies that more closely resemble those of humans, and by working together, researchers hope to shorten the amount of time between lab and market. Again, the benefits apply to both humans and animals; as one veterinarian put it, “Now you see renal transplants, hip replacements [for animals]…Things are happening so fast right now that it’s almost simultaneous.”

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