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Vets based at the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies found that the blood tests developed to improve the diagnosis of liver disease in humans can be used to help dogs, too. The team plans to use these findings to develop a testing kit that will help vets worldwide quickly identify the early signs of liver disease in dogs.
“We hope that our test will greatly improve outcomes by allowing vets to make rapid and accurate diagnosis,” lead vet researcher, Professor Richard Mellanby, from The Hospital for Small Animals at Edinburgh University, tells Edinburgh News. Mellanby tells the outlet that the testing procedure is specific, sensitive and non-invasive.
The testing kit developed by the team was based on their findings that identified the similarities between dogs and humans who have been diagnosed with liver disease. They discovered that both dogs and humans have higher levels of the molecule miR-122 in the blood compared to their healthy counterparts.
The team of veterinarians enlisted the help of medical doctors to conduct the study, which tested the levels of miR-122 in the blood of 250 dogs.
Although liver disease in dogs can be fatal, if treated early enough, the likelihood of recovery improves. The team of vets hope the test will help veterinarians everywhere start treatment plans early, and ultimately save the lives of many dogs.
The symptoms of liver disease in dogs include a yellowish appearance in the skin; gastrointestinal issues, such as decreased appetite and weight loss; and neurological problems, such as disorientation and depression. If you suspect your pet has liver disease, make an appointment with your veterinarian.
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