Pets helping people

Did you know that pets can suffer from some of the same diseases that we can? Heart disease is just one health problem that can affect both humans and animals.

Studying animals with heart disease can help us to better understand and treat the disease in humans.

The University of California, Davis is leading research in veterinary cardiology - the study of the heart and heart disease. At UC Davis, there are all kinds of heart patients, including cats, dogs, horses, birds, reptiles, small mammals and zoo animals! The Newfoundland breed is particularly interesting to heart disease researchers.

Newfoundland dogs are particularly interesting to heart disease researchers because they can often have a specific type of heart disease called SAS (subvalvular aortic stenosis). This type of heart disease is inherited, which means it is passed down genetically from the parent dogs to their puppies.

The researchers at UC Davis have discovered a mutation that causes SAS in Newfoundland dogs and other dog breeds such as golden retrievers. This new knowledge can be used to help understand and treat heart disease in dogs and could be used to better understand and create treatments for SAS in humans, too!

Photo courtesy of Battle Ground Veterinary Clinic