|The clue is the simultaneous bone marrow and kidney transplantation which makes the dog receiving the new organ much less likely to reject it, Drs. Clint Lothrop, internal medicine professor at Auburn`s Scott-Ritchey Research Center, and Michael Tillson, associate professor of surgery in the Department of Clinical Sciences explain.
`The big obstacle has always been that the recipient`s immune system rejects the transplanted organ unless powerful immunosuppressive drugs are given for the rest of the dog`s life says Tillson.
`Our first research dog is still doing well more than five years after receiving the transplanted kidney, and it is no longer on immunosuppressive medications. Based on our overall results, we have started offering the option of a kidney transplant to clients whose dogs have end-stage kidney disease. We have performed several of the procedures in the last two months,` Tillson says.
`Increasing tolerance is the key, without it, something as simple as kennel cough could cause significant illness or even lead to the death of a dog on immunosuppressive drugs,` adds Lothrop. This process should be less expensive for dog owners in the long run, making a kidney transplant a more affordable option.
Just like humans who donate a kidney, the donor dogs can live healthy lives with a single kidney, Tillson says.
The kidney transplant program at Auburn is one of two centers, but Auburn is the only program using the protocol that offers the chance of reducing or eliminating the requirement for long-term immunosuppressive drug therapy.
Source: AU develops new canine kidney transplant protocol. In: DVM Newsmagazine Jul 1, 2004; www.dvmnewsmagazine.com/dvm/
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