FDA offering clinical trials for pets battling diseases

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Just like humans, animals can suffer from a variety of diseases. Also, just like humans, they can benefit from clinical research.

Hank is a 10-year-old dog who loves his playtime. However, when Hank developed arthritis in his hip, he wasn't able to keep up with his sister Harriet.

"When he wakes up, it takes him a few minutes to get up and start walking in the morning," Hank's owner Kaye Coleman said.

Coleman enrolled him in a clinical trial to test CereKin, a new therapy for arthritis in dogs.

"Some of the dogs are doing a lot better on it," veterinarian Dickson Bain, DVM, Hillside Veterinary Clinic, Dallas, said.

Dr. Bain says there are FDA trials for dogs with all kinds of ailments.

"Basically, pets have everything we have, so we treat them for pretty much everything people have," Bain said.

About 6 million dogs are diagnosed with cancer each year, 800 thousand have type 1 diabetes, and more than 14 million pets in the U.S. have arthritis.

"Any dog over 50 pounds is going to have arthritis," Bain said.

A team of animal and human doctors recently launched the National Veterinary Cancer Registry, which helps pet owners find clinical trials in their area. The goal is to help animals and humans. Many times, the trials are free and owners don't know if their pet will receive a drug or a placebo.

Hank seems to be getting around better since starting the clinical trial. Coleman hopes he continues to improve.

"I would hope that it gives him a quality of life that he can sustain for the rest of his life," Coleman said.

Experts say a major benefit of studying treatments in dogs is researchers can decrease the cost and cut the time involved in drug discovery. That's because dogs age many times faster than humans and their diseases typically progress more rapidly. There are also many clinical trials for cats and other pets.

Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.