by Barry Burtis D.V.M.
Here is a partial list of the things that are happening now: standardization of bronchoalveolar lavage suction techniques to optimize diagnostic yield of canine lower airway supplies; quantification of circulating growth factor/cytokine profiles to aid dose optimization of receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors toceranib and masitinib in canine cancer patients; hemostasis in cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy at diagnosis and following therapy with anti-platelet drugs; preliminary evaluation of fecal bacteriotherapy (stool transplantation) for treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.
Were you able to get through that paragraph without stumbling? Well, here’s another. This is a partial list of what was selected for funding in 2012; assessment of the potential to treat canine lymphoma with an oncolytic vaccine; exploration of the anti-cancer impact of Itraconazole on signaling in canine mast cell cancer cells; anti-microbial effect of raw honey against common and multi-drug resistant wounds of dogs and cats; measurement of topical anti-fungal sensitivity for use in the treatment of Malassezia otitis externa. Oh, yes in addition to these partial lists of research studies, funds also supported the purchase of a fluorescent microplate reader for the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) High Performance Liquid Chromatography facility.
By now, you are probably wondering what this is all about. Is it just an exercise in spouting off a lot of medical-ese or does it have some other purpose? Well, it is really just a way on introducing a discussion about Pet Trust. “Changing Lives, Improving Life” is the motto for the trust fund associated with the Ontario Veterinary College. I believe examining the above list of just a few of the projects being supported by funds from Pet Trust will quickly convince most people that they are achieving the goals of their motto.
OVC Pet Trust is Canada’s first charitable fund entirely dedicated to the health and well-being of companion animals. The Pet Trust was established in 1986. At that time funding support was virtually non-existent for applied health investigation that benefited pets or companion animals. Since that time millions of dollars has been raised to achieve that goal through the generous support of people who care for animals of that kind and who hope to see medical advancements realized for them. Improvements in anesthesia and pain control for pets, a better understanding of heart disease and new heart monitoring techniques, new information on the human-animal bond and and new learning in dermatology are just some of the accomplishments OVC Pet Trust funded studies have benefitted.
Donations to Pet Trust have also enhanced the quality of care at the OVC Teaching Hospital, providing funds for a state-of-the-art MRI facility and upgrades to the hospital’s intensive care unit and diagnostic imaging services. In addition, Pet Trust is currently actively involved in an animal cancer campaign. They are committed to raising $15 million to make the vision of a specialized, leading-edge animal cancer centre where pets receive the most advanced and effective treatments a reality. The centre would be located in Guelph.
Memorial donations are frequently made, in our society, to honour the memory of someone on their death. To see this kind of support for a charity or a cause held in high regard by the deceased also provides considerable solace for surviving family members. When we hear about the loss of someone’s treasured pet, perhaps too often, we fail to recognize the significance of that loss to its grieving family. Pet owners know that a pet’s death can be a source of much grief. I respectfully suggest, in my opinion, at such times a donation made in the pet’s memory to OVC Pet Trust would be greatly appreciated. Such a genuine expression of sympathy will show the deceased pet’s family how much you care and understand their sadness. The OVC Pet Trust will gratefully accept the donation as help in achieving their mission of honouring the relationship between pets, their people and veterinary care givers. Barry Burtis is a local companion animal veterinarian. Past Pet Tales can be found at www.baycitiesanimalhospital.ca