Breeding dogs for terminal sugeries? Opinions needed!

Discussion in 'Pre-Veterinary' started by rosemma, May 28, 2008.

  1. rosemma

    rosemma MSU CVM c/o 2012

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    I recently discussed the topic of breeding dogs solely for using them in veterinary school for terminal surgeries. A girl I know was incredibly offended by the idea. I can completely understand this reaction. However, I really didn't see much of a problem with it and I feel like I should have.

    But I look at the situation like this: it is the best way for vet students to learn - to work on real, live animals. Although I would rather perform such surgeries on shelter pets that are already going to be put down than breed animals for this purpose, I still don't find the idea horribly offensive. I just see it as a necessary evil until we can come up with the technology to replace it with something capable of teaching us just as well.

    Yes, I would not like to have to kill animals for the purpose of my own learning - vet school, research, or otherwise... but if that is the best tool we have and by killing one we are able to save many more in the long run, then is it so wrong? Just curious as to others' opinions. Should I not feel this way?
     
  2. Thread continues after this sponsor message. SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. Moonpaw

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Messages:
    350
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    It's not just the killing of an animal that's painful and offensive...it's the idea of breeding MORE animals when there are already so many unwanted ones. Why is a dog that is "bred" for terminal surgery any more suited to it than a dog from a shelter? As far as I can tell, it's not. I see the need for learning to do surgical procedures on a live animal, but there is really no need to breed MORE dogs when there are already so many. If there weren't any dogs in shelters that were going to be put down, maybe then I could understand. But by breeding dogs separately, we're just allowing more to be killed. To me, this is like not spaying or neutering your dog. Allowing more puppies to be born means that there's more of them that may need to be euthanized.

    I'm sorry if that came off as harsh.
     
  4. rosemma

    rosemma MSU CVM c/o 2012

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    Thanks for the response, no worries on the harshness. I just want some honest opinions, they don't have to agree with mine. I would like others' opinions just so I can understand all the viewpoints and not feel/be so ignorant about the subject.

    As for your response - I agree that breeding dogs when there are already too many in the world and so many already being put down is pretty ridiculous and unnecessary. I guess that wasn't the part I had a difficult time understanding - it was more the terminal surgeries themselves. Plus, some vet schools cannot use shelter animals that are already being put down due to complaints from PETA. So, in order to practice surgeries, they must breed dogs. If a school can't get dogs that are already being put down then would you consider breeding ok?

    Personally, I agree with you on the fact we don't need to bring more animals into a world where we already have problems controlling their population. One reason I decided to get a dog from a rescue and NOT a breeder. But, if shelter dogs are not an option, what are some others besides breeding? I can't imagine any vet would want to breed if there are other viable options.

    Oh, and the girl was offended by the terminal aspect of the surgery - not the fact they were bred. Sorry if I didn't make that clearer before.
     
  5. nyanko

    nyanko 360noscope squidkid
    Veterinarian

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
    Messages:
    8,683
    Likes Received:
    2,839
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    That's a pretty weak argument, considering that the dogs in the shelters are going to be euthanized either way, and the dogs bred for the sole purpose of being euthanized due to terminal surgery aren't affecting that number at all. For all intents and purposes, the shelter dogs and the research/teaching dogs exist in parallel universes.
     
  6. winterfire1203

    winterfire1203 VMRCVM Class of 2011

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2006
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    My understanding is that dogs can no longer come from shelters for use by veterinary schools, whether for terminal surgeries or not. I believe what we were told is that they euthanized some of our school dogs last year, because rather than being allowed to purchase dogs that we're already being euthanized at shelters, they had no other options. Some lovely PETA run-in law. So yes, dogs have to be specially bred for use by schools most often.
     
  7. tastrophe

    tastrophe NCSU c/o 2013

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Veterinary
    I see terminal surgeries as a necessary evil. The issue, I think, is in using animals that once belonged to someone, as opposed to animals that were born and raised for the purpose. I had a much harder time with euthanizing shelter animals than I did research animals...although, I might feel differently if I knew their lives weren't being ended for no "real" reason.

    I can also see it perhaps *slightly* raising the number of animals in shelters (bear with me here), in that unless 100% of the purpose-bred animals are euthanized, a small percentage will end up going home with caregivers and the like, thus indirectly taking a potential home from a shelter animal - and realistically, a few extra animals are always available for any research study, so I suspect the same would hold true here. Same idea for the retired breeders of said animals. But again, I can't see this having any substantial effect on the number of animals in shelters.

    Something I had completely forgotten about until now - many years ago, I was told that CSU used retired/unwanted greyhounds almost exclusively for their terminal surgeries. Anyone know if that's true? (sounds like an urban legend to me, but you never know...)
     
  8. rexosaurus

    rexosaurus CSU PVM c/o 2012

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    As far as CSU using retired/unwanted greyhounds exclusively for terminal surgeries, I do not think that is the case. They do have a small population of retired greyhounds, but these animals are used as blood donors.

    And another option for terminal surgeries is to use purpose bred research dogs. They have been on a study and cannot be used otherwise, thus make good models for terminal surgery (as they would be euthanized anyway). The only thing that may make this difficult is the availability in a certain area, as well as the numbers of dogs that are not necropsied at the research facility. (many are because it relates to study data). Politics, damn politics!
     
  9. NoleDevil

    NoleDevil Iowa State CVM c/o 2012

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Messages:
    167
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    So, PETA has a run-in law with using shelter animals (that are going to get euth'ed anyway) for terminal surgery, but they have no issues with breeding animals solely for the purpose of being used in a terminal surgery? That idea seems ridiculous to me.

    Personally, I have have no qualms with terminal surgeries because it's like the animal donating its body to science in order for us to learn from it. However, I think it seems much more humane to utilize shelter animals that are going to be euth'ed anyway than to breed animals just to use them in terminal surgeries.
     
  10. Moonpaw

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Messages:
    350
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    Let me try putting it another way. Suppose x number of shelter animals are going to be euthanized. If we were to use those animals for terminal surgeries, that's still x amount of animals being euthanized. If we were to breed animals specifically for terminal surgery (let's say y amount) then we'd be euthanizing x+y amount of animals, not just x.

    As for the terminal surgery issue, I also see that as a necessary evil, but I'm not exactly sure why they need to be terminal. What procedures, exactly, do we need to practice that necessitate the animal being euthanized after? Would it be possible for the animal to recover and find a home? Not that they definitely will, but I'm just wondering if that's even a possibility.
     
  11. BrumleyVet

    BrumleyVet Oldie but a wanna be!

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    2
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    Is there such a shortage of shelter animals that there is a necessity to breed specifically for this? It seems more like there is some lazyness behind the minds that created this thought. Instead of seeking out shelters, they just avoid the whole conflict and "grow their own". That's like saying women are getting pregnant specifically to abort for stem cell research!

    If there is no longer a pet overpopulation, they I guess the spay and neuter clinics have no clients.

    (Thanks to Tide for their donation of my soap box)
     
  12. HeartSong

    HeartSong Okstate 2010

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    If terminal surgeries are such a necessary evil then why don't human doctors have to do them when they go through school? Look at it this way, how would you feel if there were humans bred specifically for doctors to learn on and then killed?

    Oh, but it's different with animals because their lives have much less value, right? Really?

    Just because using live animals and killing them afterwards is, debatably, the best way to learn doesn't mean it's the only way. Students in vet schools are high caliber learners, we are quite capable of learning from a less than "best" method and still gaining what we need from it. Afterall, I can think of a lot ways to learn our other material that is better than sitting in a room for hours on end listening to professors, but there's not much effort to change that in most schools.

    Bottom line - Treat animal life with at least half the respect you do human life, give students more credit for how well they can learn despite the circumstances and you will find a "better way" of learning surgeries than to breed and kill.
     
  13. WhtsThFrequency

    Veterinarian

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2006
    Messages:
    16,338
    Likes Received:
    12,859
    Status:
    Veterinarian
    My understanding is that dogs can no longer come from shelters for use by veterinary schools, whether for terminal surgeries or not. I believe what we were told is that they euthanized some of our school dogs last year, because rather than being allowed to purchase dogs that we're already being euthanized at shelters, they had no other options. Some lovely PETA run-in law. So yes, dogs have to be specially bred for use by schools most often.

    Yes, and I knew most of those dogs because I worked as an animal care tech with the teaching/research dogs and horses for about a year (RIP Network and Chicken ) :(

    Things have been getting more and more stringent as to where even cadavers can come from, because a lot of AR extremists have been getting their way with state laws....they have a warped idea of how we keep our dogs and what they are used for, and make the arguement that we will encourage shelters to put down dogs early for us, will only choose the most adoptable (ie best tempered) dogs before they can be adopted, etc....none of which is true.

    I am not a big fan of terminal surgery.....I feel that if it was a necessary evil, than it would be a required thing in veterinary school and you would be a less successful surgeon without it (which is not true). You can do exploratory surgery on a dog and close it back up. I just don't see the need to kill it at the end. To each his own...it just rubs me the wrong way a little and I'm glad we don't do it here.

    I do believe using live animals is the best way to learn. But that doesn't have to involve euthanizing them at the end. There are many procedures we can learn (spay/neut, splenectomy, exploratory, etc) without killing them afterwards. What surgeries are we going to be doing as vets that would require killing the animal afterwards? I just don't see the point.


    Is there such a shortage of shelter animals that there is a necessity to breed specifically for this? It seems more like there is some lazyness behind the minds that created this thought. Instead of seeking out shelters, they just avoid the whole conflict and "grow their own".


    That isn't the issue. The problem is there are many laws in place now that bar veterinary schools from acquiring shelter dogs, live or dead, or any purpose.
     
  14. NoleDevil

    NoleDevil Iowa State CVM c/o 2012

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    Messages:
    167
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    Great point.

    While I say I have no qualms with terminal surgeries, it still upsets me that we sacrifice these animals (shelter animals or any other kind). If there was a way to effectively learn the same techniques without doing terminal surgeries, I know I would be for it! Maybe there is a way that's already in motion at some schools and I'm just not privy to it...

    As far as I know, Tufts doesn't have terminal surgeries. So, how do they learn the proper techniques?

    Then, of course, you'll get the people who'll say, "Well, there are alternate ways to master x, y, and z, but a terminal surgery is the best way." I guess then it would just depend on how you learn...
     
  15. Rebeki

    Rebeki Wisconsin SVM c/o 2012

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2007
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    I agree - If MDs can learn surgery without terminal surgeries, I would think that vets can too. Tufts seems to have managed it! While I don't have super strong feelings about this, I am predicting that eventually all of the schools will follow Tufts and eliminate terminal surgeries and breeding dogs for this purpose.

    This is a very interesting topic...I'm sure this thread will be lively for awhile.
     
  16. Thread continues after this sponsor message. SDN Members do not see this ad.

  17. Moonpaw

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Messages:
    350
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    I know that for human doctors, the process of becoming a surgeon is MUCH longer than it is for vets. When you finish human med school, you're not allowed to do surgery. We, on the other hand, are qualifed to do all sorts of things. I'm not saying that the only way to learn our surgical skills that quickly is by terminal surgery (because I really don't think it is), but there's some food for thought.
     
  18. tastrophe

    tastrophe NCSU c/o 2013

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Veterinary
    My comment about terminal surgeries - the necessary evil - was honestly more for the animals' benefit than anything else. The very first time I operate on a dog, I don't want it waking up in pain. I have a hard time believing that the majority of trainees will get it right on their first try, and I see no reason to cause undue suffering.

    If we can truly replace terminal surgeries with computer models or whatever, I'm open to the idea; but, I suspect that the first time one of us inadvertently harms - or worse, kills - a patient's animal, it will be a lot more horrifying than if we did it for the first time in training.
     
  19. rexosaurus

    rexosaurus CSU PVM c/o 2012

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    Just for the record, MDs do learn on animals. I'm not sure if their surgeries are terminal or not, but they have to learn on something and apparently humans are not the best model ;)
     
  20. WhtsThFrequency

    Veterinarian

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2006
    Messages:
    16,338
    Likes Received:
    12,859
    Status:
    Veterinarian
    If we can truly replace terminal surgeries with computer models or whatever, I'm open to the idea; but, I suspect that the first time one of us inadvertently harms - or worse, kills - a patient's animal, it will be a lot more horrifying than if we did it for the first time in training.

    I agree win that I do feel that surgery on live, non-client-owned animals is a great way to learn so we do not make more costly mistakes later on, and I really don't think any model will truly mimic to what surgery on a *real* animal is like.....but again, why must the "practice" surgeries be terminal? That's what I don't understand, I suppose.
     
  21. LynnKat

    LynnKat Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2006
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    I think there is an assumption that most Vet Schools require terminal surgeries or that most/all Vet Schools offer them. This isn't true. Many Vet Schools have moved to doing basic surgery using a spay/neuter type program. Some schools offer electives with terminal surgery, others use various survival surgeries. While some schools do have required terminal surgery, it's important to realize that many don't.

    I'd actually be curious to learn which schools have required terminal surgeries. Auburn, I know for one. There are others that I think do, but I'm not sure which ones. I know that Penn, Western, Tufts, Tennessee (I think) , and Illinois don't have terminal surgery requirements, though I think Tenn. has electives. Others?

    ETA: There's a chart here on page 6: http://www.avar.org/pdf/publication/newsletter/altspring2005.pdf which lists whether schools require terminal surgery or not. The results are older (3-9 years depending on the school) and some schools aren't listed, but it does show that at least half of the Vet Schools don't require terminal surgeries in core courses.
     
  22. aggiedonk

    aggiedonk UF Class of 2012

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Veterinary
    The Journal of Veterinary Medical Education addressed this issue in volume #32 (winter 2005) www.jvmeonline.org. The title of this volume was "Animal Welfare" and includes some interesting and informative articles of how different vet schools are addressing issues like terminal surgeries and cadaver sources and how the different avenues do or DONT affect vet students' skills and learning abilities.

    One thing I found interesting and yet disturbing was that one study in this volume described a decreasing level of compassion towards animals exhibited by vet students as they progressed through school. One reason given for this was that decreased compassion is an adaptation students develop in order to deal with things like terminal surgeries. As a conclusion, the article suggested that using harmful/terminal procedures on animals teaches vet students not to value the lives of their patients. I tend to agree with this. It's not a matter of squeemishness or animal rights. I think it's a matter of what schools are teaching by example that goes against the purpose of being a veterinarian in the first place. BUT, the fact that some schools are making a point to investigate alternative procedures and studies are being conducted to find out how these procedures affect skill level tells me that people are beginning to realize that there may be a problem with age-old dogma which many students have had to learn to accept.



    By the way, Univ. of Fla. also has a shelter medicine program that allows students to spay and neuter shelter animals who are then put up for adoption.
     
  23. StealthDog

    StealthDog U of MN 2010
    Veterinarian

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Messages:
    575
    Likes Received:
    5
    Status:
    Veterinarian
    Our first surgeries at the U of MN are spays/neuters on shelter animals, and they were all happy and healthy afterwards. All it requires is good preparation (through lectures and labs), close supervision by professors, and good pain control.

    Right- we were told that the main issue with using shelter animals was not the PETA or anyone said vet schools shouldn't, but that shelters didn't want to face the bad PR that is associated with sending animals to the vet school to get "experimented" on.
     
  24. WhtsThFrequency

    Veterinarian

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2006
    Messages:
    16,338
    Likes Received:
    12,859
    Status:
    Veterinarian
    the bad PR that is associated with sending animals to the vet school to get "experimented" on

    I know....doesn't it make you want to *headdesk*.....
     
  25. twelvetigers

    twelvetigers no wake up time. sleepy time.
    Veterinarian

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    Messages:
    18,025
    Likes Received:
    8,547
    Status:
    Veterinarian
    I'm like 98% sure that OKSU requires the junior surgery class.
     
  26. nyanko

    nyanko 360noscope squidkid
    Veterinarian

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
    Messages:
    8,683
    Likes Received:
    2,839
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    I don't subscribe to the same basic theory of ethics as you do based on this line of thought, so this is incompatible with my concerns. Just getting that out of the way. I understood what you meant, but it isn't as if the total number of euthanasias done in the world (your x + y) affects anything that offends me. What I was arguing with was the line in your post that implied that this is anything like not spaying or neutering your companion animal - it's nothing like that at all and a completely separate issue.
     
  27. alonepear

    alonepear MissState CVM 2011

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2006
    Messages:
    235
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    Is this for certain? Because I know our sophomore surgery lab at Miss State has always used local shelter dogs, and after the surgeries they are returned to the shelter OR put into one of the foster and adoption programs that our students run. We definitely used shelter dogs for the past few years, including last year, and we've been told we're doing the same thing this year too. Did new rules just come into effect? (That will be SO upsetting -- one reason I chose Mississippi was so I could avoid terminal surgeries.)
     
  28. Whirr

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Veterinary

    I actually have one of those animals that one/some of you spayed; she's a wonderful little cat I fell in love with at the shelter I work at (she's happily licking herself on top of one of our cat trees as I type :) ). The shelter I work at is one of those that sends animals to the U of MN periodically, and it's a win-win situation--our animals (usually cats) get altered, and you get practice. It seems like a great way for everyone to benefit. Of course, some surgeries will go wrong, but that's true in private practice as well.
     
  29. StealthDog

    StealthDog U of MN 2010
    Veterinarian

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Messages:
    575
    Likes Received:
    5
    Status:
    Veterinarian
    Hooray, Whirr! You rock! I really wanted to take home our little spay kitty this year.. she was darling!
     
  30. nyanko

    nyanko 360noscope squidkid
    Veterinarian

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
    Messages:
    8,683
    Likes Received:
    2,839
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    I adopted 2 kittens from the pathogen free nutrition research colony where I work last week and they were spayed and neutered by members of the UCD SVM class of 2008. :)
     
  31. chris03333

    chris03333 Veterinarian

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2005
    Messages:
    1,340
    Likes Received:
    2
    TRUST ME they do at many schools (during surgical residency). The terminal surgeries they do are on research animals FYI...
     
  32. winterfire1203

    winterfire1203 VMRCVM Class of 2011

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2006
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    I don't think I addressed terminal surgeries in my first post. If you're concerned about terminal surgeries, you can check to see what schools actually conduct them. Fewer and fewer do thanks to public pressure as well as pressure within the vet school. I know my school doesn't conduct them. We do need and use animals for anatomy lab. All surgeries, however, involve awakening of the animal. We do use shelter animals in these cases. It gives shelters free surgery and us great practice.

    I believe someone else already posted the link to the website where you can check it out. If you're concerned you can check it out there.
     
  33. aggiedonk

    aggiedonk UF Class of 2012

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Veterinary
    Yes, isn't that interesting. My father is a retired human surgeon so I can vouch for that. He said he got tired of the early days of operating on dogs....
     
  34. starlene45

    starlene45 UC Davis SVM c/o 2013

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Messages:
    389
    Likes Received:
    3
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    ...Why do/did schools implement terminal surgeries to begin with?

    And, obviously, I know that these type of surgeries are supposed to be for students to practice on, and I am perfectly fine with the idea of doing practice surgeries on live animals as I feel that is the best way to prepare me for the stress of performing one on a client!

    However, does anyone know how/why/when administrators or teachers decided that the animals should just be euthed after these surgeries? Is it purely a matter of these animals would have nowhere to go or is it something more like, what if those vet students really mess up?!?

    I honestly can't decide how I feel about breeding animals for terminal surgeries. There is a big part of me that is okay with it, and a big part of me that's not. It's something I'm trying to resolve as I'm definitely considering applying to Oregon and I know they have a program of this nature there. Also I hear a lot of rumors that pretty much every interview will ask you how you feel about terminal sxs??

    Good thread, keep discussing!
     
  35. Bill59

    Bill59 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2006
    Messages:
    993
    Likes Received:
    7
    Initially they had a lot survival surgery labs. The students would do a surgical procedure then recover the animal. So you learned not only surgical technique, but how to recover patients from anesthesia and provide post-operative care.

    Around the mid 1980's, some people started objecting to that so they moved to mostly nonsurvival surgeries so the animals would not be subjected to the postoperative pain and potential complications.

    Now the trend is away from any surgery labs at all utilizing live animals because of similar objections and toward cadaver, simulations and spay/neuter of shelter animals.
     
  36. WhtsThFrequency

    Veterinarian

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2006
    Messages:
    16,338
    Likes Received:
    12,859
    Status:
    Veterinarian
    alonepear - it is a state-associated law here in VA that prevents our use of shelter dogs for many purposes. It varies from state to state.
     
  37. WhtsThFrequency

    Veterinarian

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2006
    Messages:
    16,338
    Likes Received:
    12,859
    Status:
    Veterinarian
    woops - repeat post
     
  38. Pennvet

    Pennvet Goldmember

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2007
    Messages:
    115
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    Info +Perception + Conscience + degree of moral flexibility + integrity= reaction.

    I resent the balancing act of harm vs. hurt that is almost inherent in medical research and testing. However, to me this is an easy one. There are enough sick animals that go untreated to supply all of the world's vet schools 3x over. Unfortunately, the corporate model will always err towards convenience and profitability.

    Just my uninformed opinion.
     
    #36 Pennvet, May 31, 2008
    Last edited: May 31, 2008
  39. alonepear

    alonepear MissState CVM 2011

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2006
    Messages:
    235
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Veterinary Student
    phew, thanks for the info!
     

Share This Page