OUR BEST FRIENDS

whs-logo

The Sergei Foundation

shelterpet_logo

The Animal Rescue Site

B-more Dog

aldflogo

Pinups for Pitbulls

philadoptables

TFPF_Logo

Mid Atlantic Pug Rescue

Our Pack, Inc.

Maine Coonhound Rescue

Saving Shelter Pets, Inc.

mabb

LD Logo Color

Tag: procedures

United to halt shipping dogs as cargo

031818-dog-killed-unitedUnited Airlines is suspending its pet-shipping service and reviewing safety procedures after a string of embarrassing mix-ups last week.

The airline will honor existing reservations for dogs to travel as cargo.

But it won’t be accepting any new pet reservations until the review is completed in May.

“We are conducting a thorough and systematic review of our program for pets that travel in the cargo compartment to make improvements that will ensure the best possible experience for our customers and their pets,” the airline said in a statement.

The move will not affect pets flying in the cabin with their owners.

The airline shipped at least three dogs to the wrong destination in the past week. A Kansas City-bound German shepherd was shipped to Japan after he was mixed up with a Great Dane who was supposed to be sent to Japan. Days later, United diverted a plane to Akron after realizing it had mistakenly loaded a dog aboard the flight from Newark Airport to St. Louis.

And in an earlier, highly publicized mistake, a family says they were forced by a flight attendant to load the carrier their French bulldog was in into an overhead bin.

The dog died before the Houston-to-New York City flight landed.

United, which took full responsibility for the death, claimed the flight attendant “did not hear or understand” the family’s protests.

In addition to reviewing its cargo procedures for pets, the airline is also reviewing its service for in-cabin pets, and it plans to issue brightly colored tags to better identify them in carriers starting next month.

Last year, United reported the deaths of 18 animals on its planes, far higher than other major airlines, according to the Department of Transportation.

Facing defunding, VA says it will keep closer eye on its dog research experiments

varesearch

The Department of Veterans Affairs says it will tighten oversight of controversial medical experiments on dogs after an investigation found surgery failures and canine deaths in research projects at a VA facility in Virginia.

The announcement of a change in policy comes as Congress considers a bill to defund the experiments altogether.

Nationwide, invasive experiments at three VA facilities are slated to include roughly 300 dogs, and involve surgeries on their brains, spines and hearts by researchers seeking treatments for heart disease and other ailments, USA Today reported yesterday.

All the dogs will be killed when the research is complete.

Michael Fallon, the VA’s chief veterinary medical officer, said all future research projects involving dogs will have to be approved by the VA’s accrediting body.

The VA’s Office of Research Oversight found in May that researchers at the VA facility in Richmond failed to adequately document whether dogs had been treated properly, and that four dogs suffered complications in experimental surgeries.

Those findings are fueling an effort to halt VA dog experiments deemed painful for the dogs. The House passed legislation — known as the PUPPERS Act — in July that eliminated funding for such research, but the VA is hoping to persuade senators to reject the measure.

“If this legislation passes the Senate, it would stop potential VA canine research-related medical advancements that offer seriously disabled veterans the hope of a better future,” VA Secretary David Shulkin wrote in a USA Today op-ed this month.

Opponents of the dog research say much of that research hasn’t translated to humans and that the VA is relying on outdated models that don’t fully take into account scientific advances that may provide alternatives to dogs as research subjects.

“The VA is abusing its authority and fear-mongering to defend taxpayer-funded experiments on dogs that are cruel and unlikely to help veterans or anybody else,” said Justin Goodman, vice president of White Coat Waste Project, an advocacy group that wants to end funding to the agency’s dog experiments.

Only three VA facilities are conducting the type of research that would be affected by the legislation.

In Milwaukee, VA researchers looking for ways to decrease pain without slowing breathing are using dogs to study neurons that control breathing rates. In those experiments, researchers place the dogs under anesthesia and remove parts of their brains to cause a complete loss of consciousness and sensation, according to research protocol documents.

In Cleveland, VA researchers are studying ways to restore cough functions after spinal cord injury. The experiments involve placing dogs under anesthesia and then using electrodes for high-frequency stimulation at various places on their spinal cords to induce coughing. The research calls for 41 dogs, who are euthanized upon the completion of the studies.

At the Richmond VA, researchers are seeking therapies for heart disease. They are implanting pacemakers in dogs, running them on treadmills and performing various tests, including by injecting medications, inducing irregular heartbeats, creating heart attacks and blocking arteries with latex. After the research is done, the dogs are euthanized by injection or by draining their blood.

The investigation of the Richmond cardiac experiments followed a complaint to the VA inspector general’s office in March.

Investigators concluded a dog received an overdose of anesthetic during one surgery, and two dogs suffered surgical disruptions of nerves controlling digestive functions. One later died and the other was euthanized during subsequent surgeries. A fourth dog died after a surgeon accidentally cut into one of its lungs during surgery.

The VA says dogs accounted for less than 1% of the animals used in agency research last year.

Photo: Billboard in Cleveland area calls for an end to the experiments, from Cleveland.com)

U of Michigan won’t use dogs to train surgeons

Surgeons training at the University of Michigan will no longer use live, healthy dogs to learn drastic surgical procedures, the university announced Thursday.

The anesthetized animals — obtained from shelters — were used to teach tracheotomies, how to fix collapsed lungs, and other emergency procedures. After the procedures, they were commonly euthanized, the Detroit Free Press reported today.

The Free Press reported in January that only a handful of medical centers in the country offering such training using live animals.

In a statement, the U-M Health System said its Graduate Medical Education Committee reviewed simulators and decided to make the switch to mannequins for the class.

“It’s tremendous. All we really wanted them to do was look at it objectively and make a decision. Other schools have done that,” said Dr. John Pippen, senior medical and research adviser for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a national animal-welfare group based in Washington.

His group filed a complaint against the university in January with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, claiming Dr. Richard Burney, the surgeon who runs the Advanced Trauma and Life Support class, made false statements about the utility of simulators to justify using animals to the university’s animal-care committee. Burney, who raises show dogs, could not be reached for comment Thursday. But he has defended the use of animals over simulators as a more realistic training tool.

Documents obtained by the Free Press show dogs surrendered to animal control in one county were sold to U-M through an animal dealer.