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Live dogs used in trauma surgery class

The University of Michigan is coming under fire for a class in which doctors practice their emergency surgical procedures on live, otherwise healthy dogs.

The procedures so badly damage the animals — some of which are procured from animals shelters — that they must be euthanized — the Detroit Free Press reports.

According to the Free Press, one of the dogs used in the test was Koda, a male malamute that was surrendered at an animal shelter. Instead of being adopted, Koda was sold to R&R Research of Howard City, which resold it to the university for its Advanced Trauma Life Support class.

The University of Miichigan uses simulators for doctors in other courses, but Dr. Richard Burney, who directs the Advanced Trauma Life Support class, insists the dogs are the most realistic training tool and that the training will help save human lives. The dogs are anesthetized during before surgery.

“This is a fair and proper use of animals,” he said. “If you come … with a gunshot wound, without adequate training, you become the animal that is being learned upon.”

The University of Michigan course is one of 15 in the country — and the only one in Michigan — that uses animals, according to a survey from the animal welfare group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The group is to file a complaint today with the U.S. Department of Agriculture against Burney.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine found in a survey of 198 Advanced Trauma Life Support courses nationwide that more than 90% use human cadavers or simulator dummies. The remaining courses use dogs, goats or pigs to teach these skills.

Comments

Comment from Marie
Time January 15, 2009 at 3:54 pm

After all this time and all of this research, is there really not a better way to teach than to do this? My dad use to say we should use prisoners for this kind of testing, which seems a bit harsh… Perhaps we should be using people who commit crimes against animals? Seriously, though, there HAS to be a better way to train people. Use your noggin, people.

Comment from Charles Shimek
Time June 14, 2010 at 9:51 am

We have a Choc. Lab with a broken rear leg. Does U of M or Mich. State need a Dog to use in their Vet schools to show future Vets how to repair this using surgery? Please let us know.

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