Dog Dies During Unauthorized Demonstration at Cleveland Clinic

I'm not going to get into the ethics or morality of testing on dogs here but doesn't it seem like this isn't really a necessary...

Joy  |  Jan 17th 2007


I’m not going to get into the ethics or morality of testing on dogs here but doesn’t it seem like this isn’t really a necessary test of any kind? It was being done to sell a product.

Maybe not all animal abusers use dirty knives.

Thanks to CBSNews for this sad article.

USDA to Probe Dog’s Death During Demo

(AP) The U.S. Department of Agriculture will send an inspector to the Cleveland Clinic to probe the killing of a dog that was used in a sales training session, the agency said Friday.

The clinic, known for its heart center and for treating high-profile patients such as royalty, had reported itself to the USDA, which regulates animal testing.

A neurosurgeon had induced a brain aneurysm in a dog to demonstrate a medical device Wednesday to a group of 20 to 25 salespeople.

The clinic says the procedure wasn’t authorized and the hospital bans such use of animals. The USDA says its not illegal to use dogs or other animals while demonstrating medical devices.

The large, mixed-breed dog was anesthetized during the demonstration and had to be euthanized afterward because of the damage caused by the aneurysm, the clinic said.

Darby Holladay, spokesman for the USDA, would not comment on whether the clinic may have violated the Animal Welfare Act or what penalties it could face.

“We’re just trying to determine what occurred here,” he said.

The demonstration occurred at the clinic’s Lerner Research Institute in Cleveland and involved one dog, the clinic told the USDA in a letter dated Wednesday. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter through the Freedom of Information Act.

The clinic said the surgeon had requested permission from the hospital’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee but the committee had not yet reviewed the application. The hospital said the request would have been rejected because of the clinic’s policy.

“As an academic medical center, Cleveland Clinic does not allow procedures with animals for the sole purpose of sales training. The situation that occurred yesterday was unauthorized and not in compliance with our policy,” the clinic said in a statement Thursday.

In the USDA letter, the clinic said the committee had OK’d the aneurysm being induced in the dog but did not approve the use of the device, which helps stop bleeding, on the dog. The clinic said the committee also did not approve use of the dog in the workshop.

The clinic allows testing on dogs and other animals for medical education and research. According USDA documents, the hospital used 340 dogs for research in 2005 and 541 other animals.

Nationwide, 49,898 dogs were used for research last year, according to the USDA.

The hospital would not identify the surgeon or whether he has been suspended, but said neither he or the clinic had any financial interest in the device. The USDA documents do not identify the doctor or the device manufacturer, and the agency blacked out who sent the letter, citing privacy laws.

An aneurysm is when arteries or blood vessels bulge and eventually burst, which can cause severe damage or death. The medical device that was demonstrated fills a brain aneurysm with a coil to restrict blood flow to it.

The clinic noted that it is a national leader in researching brain aneurysms, which affect about 100,000 Americans each year, killing between 30,000 and 40,000 of them.

The Cleveland Clinic boasts 1,500 physicians, the No. 1 heart center in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings and Top 10 national rankings by the magazine in 10 other specialties. World leaders and sports stars are often among its high-profile patients.

The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said Friday that it had been tipped about Wednesday’s procedure by a neurosurgeon. PETA said it agreed to keep the tipster’s name confidential.

Shalin Gala, a research associate with PETA, said the organization had sent letters to the device company and the clinic and its animal research oversight committee to try to halt the procedure. Gala said PETA will push to have the doctor’s medical license and board certification revoked. She said the group sent letters Friday to Ohio’s State Medical Board and the American Board of Neurological Surgeons expressing concerns.

PETA had suggested using a silicone model as an alternative to using a dog. Gala said it was appalling that any animal _ mouse, rat or dog _ might be used when an alternative was available.

The dog incident is the latest blow to the clinic, which has fought accusations that it has ethics problems.

Follow this link to read the rest of the article.