Health Beat: FDA gone to the dogs

Health Beat: FDA gone to the dogs

DALLAS - Hank is a 10-year-old dog that loves his playtime, however, 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," said Kaye Coleman, Hank's owner.

Coleman enrolled Hank 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 Dr. Dickson Bain, a veterinarian at Hillside Veterinary Clinic in Dallas.

There are FDA trials for dogs with all kinds of ailments, Bain said.

"Basically, pets have everything we have, so we treat them for pretty much everything people have," Bain explained.

About six million dogs are diagnosed with cancer each year, 800,000 have type 1 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," Coleman said.

Experts said a major benefit of studying treatments in dogs is researchers can decrease the cost and cut the time involved in drug discovery. That's because dogs age many times faster than humans and their diseases typically progress more rapidly. There are also many clinical trials for cats and other pets.

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