MSU discovers deadly human disease in dogs - WNEM TV 5

MSU discovers deadly human disease in dogs

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A disease known to affect only humans is now showing up in dogs.

Researchers at Michigan State University said they've discovered a rare disease that can stop dogs in their tracks. The school's College of Veterinary Medicine discovered Pulmonary Veno-occlusive Disease, a rare respiratory disease thought to only affect humans, can exist in dogs.

PVOD as it's called is a severe form of pulmonary hypertension. It is essentially a death sentence.

"The No. 1 cause of death is heart failure," said Dr. Tom Resler, with Resler Animal Hospital.

He said the disease essentially constricts small veins in the lungs and overworks the heart until it ultimately fails.

"It's kind of like blowing through a large hose that's been toned or shaped down to a real narrow hose," Resler said.

The discovery could answer some mysteries when it comes to dogs with respiratory issues.

"It is rare. It is something that I think we need to know that it's out there," Resler said.

He said the discovery could help with human medicine. The canine disease could serve as a model for human PVOD.

"They may be able to track it and actually discover cures for it maybe sooner," Resler said.

The only known treatment is a lung transplant, which is a rare procedure in animal medicine.

John Higgins, dog owner, said that is a terrifying thought. He hopes science and more research will prevail.

"Knowing that is has been recognized is probably the most important thing," Higgins said.

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