By Rebecca Moore
Founded by Lisa Stehno-Bittel and Karthik Ramachandran, the Pet Organ Donation Network is an organization dedicated to preserving “research animals’ lives” and sharing “tissues and organs for transplant into dogs and cats in need.” The Newtork works with State Line Animal Hospital and Wayside Waifs to provide organs for Likarda, a bioscience firm located in Kansas. The research at Likarda is primarily on canine and feline diabetes, but the results of such research may have future impacts on the treatment of diabetes in humans.
The Network began accepting organs in 2013, and has successfully obtained 30 organs from pets that were all ready scheduled to be euthanized. Currently the Network is only collecting pancreases; however, it is the hope of the Network to soon obtain other organs and tissues as the network continues to grow.
Additionally, the Network hopes to expand into the area of organ transplantation for pets. The current pet organ transplant system is costly and the method for obtaining organs complex. In order for a pet owner to obtain a kidney for his or her pet, they must first adopt the donor pet and then procure the organ. This leaves the owner in the possession of two pets to take care of and increased medical bills. However, the Network hopes to solve this problem and ameliorate the pet organ transplant process by building an organ donation network for pets.
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