Why can’t doctors be more like vets? With medical breakthroughs quietly taking place in the field of animal medicine, it’s a question more Americans should be asking — whether or not they have pets.
Thanks to advances in veterinary medicine, pets have access to more superior medical care than humans do. Dogs that suffer from arthritis may undergo stem cell regeneration therapy, in which their own autologous (adult) stem cells are harvested from their own fatty tissue and then injected into their joints. The healing benefit is remarkable, as I have witnessed myself with two of my own dogs. Unfortunately, this particular therapy is not yet available for humans in the United States.
Meanwhile, in Florida late last year, a Yorkshire terrier underwent a routine spay procedure, but something went very wrong during the anesthesia process and the dog emerged from resuscitation with cortical blindness. Veterinarians advised the dog’s owner that euthanasia might be the kindest option in this case. Then, a quick-thinking vet at Calusa Veterinary Center in Boca Raton suggested hyperbaric oxygen therapy; with nothing to lose, the dog’s heartbroken owner consented. Thirty-five HBO2 treatments later, the dog’s blindness was reversed.
Meanwhile, hyperbaric medicine is available to human patients with one of 15 Medicare-approved conditions — but alas, cortical blindness is not one of them. Dogs, on the other hand, may receive hyperbaric treatment for a much broader range of medical conditions — about 50 — so the chamber is being used to address problems ranging from Lyme disease to pancreatitis.
Veterinarian Diane Levitan, of Peace Love Pets Veterinary Care in New York, also offers her clients hyperbaric medicine for their animals. “Hundreds of thousands of people have been helped by HBO2, and it will help innumerable animals,” Levitan says. “Most of what we vets do is a result of what’s practiced by doctors on people; experiments are performed on dogs and mice and other animals, but this is one of the few situations where that’s reversed, and we’re applying a treatment modality to animals that humans tried first. It would be great if the human medical community would embrace HBO2 more. Hyperbaric medicine is not in the forefront of people’s minds, but it would be great if it could be in the forefront of physicians’ minds. That would create more cases, so that Medicare could see evidence-based medicine — and more people could be helped.”
It doesn’t help matters that the mainstream media reports on HBO2 with the same disparagement it normally reserves for stories on adult stem cells. The MSM sensationalized HBO2 by showing the late Michael Jackson asleep in his own private hyperbaric chamber, then trivialized the treatment by citing Keanu Reeves’ use of HBO2 for insomnia. If you get your news only from the MSM, you’d be convinced that HBO2 is just another one of those dangerous, experimental treatments that smack of quackery, just like adult stem cell therapy, and should be avoided like the proverbial plague.