MADISON, Wisc. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- For many pet owners, it's tough to leave your best friend behind at the animal hospital. Scientists are working on a new formula that could make their experience less painful and get them home to you sooner.
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Paris the basset hound isn't just a four-legged friend. She's part of the family. When Paris had surgery, the stress level went up … for everyone.
Veterinary anesthesiologists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison could ease those fears with a new drug formula that makes surgery less painful for pets and gets them home sooner.
"From my perspective, it's more about improving the quality of life for the companions that we all love," Lesley Smith, D.V.M., a veterinary anesthesiologist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisc., told Ivanhoe.
The drug is in a milky substance -- an opioid -- like morphine that's been used to control pain for centuries. What's different? This drug is encapsulated in tiny sacs called liposomes. Once it's injected, the liposomes release a small amount of the drug over a long period of time.
"Standard pain relief medication in an animal will last a short period of time -- maybe an hour or so," Dr. Smith said. "The material that we have made will last about 96 hours with a single injection."
Typically, pets who have major surgery have to be hooked up to IVs and catheters and have constant supervision. This drug could allow some to go home within hours of surgery.
"It probably wouldn't have to be in that critical environment, so it would reduce cost to the owner as well," Dr. Smith said.
Roger was one of the 14 beagles in the initial drug study, which found it provided steady, long-acting pain relief with few side effects. Scientists are trying to secure approval from the FDA and hope to make the drug available in vet clinics within the next few years. They say the drug could potentially be used in people in the future.
The American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.