Benefits to Animals
Medical discoveries made through animal studies often reduce disease and suffering of our pets and other animals as well as people. Thanks to animal research, millions of pets and farm animals are spared from diseases such as anthrax, distemper, canine parvovirus, feline leukemia, rabies, and more than 200 others that are now preventable. Some of the many health problems affecting both humans and animals are:
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukemia virus (FeLV) infections are major causes of death in cats. Up to one in 12 U.S. cats tests positive for feline immunodeficiency virus, yet because of research conducted on laboratory animals, a vaccine is available to prevent this and many other diseases that could potentially harm our pets.
Sometimes research can have unexpected benefits. In 1978, there was a sudden, worldwide outbreak of a virus among dogs that caused vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and, frequently, death. Researchers soon discovered that this disease, called canine parvovirus, was similar to the feline panleukopenia virus. Since a vaccine was already available for the feline panleukopenia virus, a vaccine for parvovirus was developed, tested, and made available for distribution within a year. Now recognized as one of the most significant success stories of modern veterinary science, the parvovirus vaccine checked the spread of the disease among adult dogs in the United States almost immediately. However, puppies between 6 and 16 weeks of age are still at significant risk of being infected by the virus, and further research is needed to protect pets of all ages.