I have been reading about mouse models for studying inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease and Ulverative Colitis. For example, according to this publication, a widely used mouse model for colitis is the Dextran Sulfate Sodium (DSS)-Induced Colitis.

This got me thinking: when we induce disease in mice (or monkeys, fish etc.), is that somehow beneficial for veterinary research of these animals when they get sick (unrelated to medical research focusing on humans)? Are the data from pre-clinical trials used for that purpose in any way?


1 Answer 1


Short answer is no. Human disease take a long time to develop naturally, far longer than the lifespan of animals models used (mice, rats or fish).

Also the cost of the drugs far exceed the cost of the animal. There is little point in spending $40k to make a non-commercial anti cancer drug to save the life of a pet mouse who has developed the rare cancer.

Longer answer... some... a bit. Not quite what you expect. There are a few labs that are re purposing anti cancer drugs that failed animal (mouse) trials to treat dogs. It appears that people are willing to spend a fair amount on experimental drugs to save the life of the family dog.

Mice have increasingly been shown to be a poor model for human anti cancer drugs. Their cells grow to fast, their immune system is subtly different from humans. Stuff that work in mice often times are too toxic in human or just don't work. A longer lived animal model is needed. However dogs as experimental animals is too costly to maintain, too much red tape to use and takes too long for cancer progression (You cannot wait 2 years for a cancer experiment to finish).

However a sick family dog with cancer is another matter.

  • $\begingroup$ I don't follow the logic of this answer - it seems focused on the usefulness of animal models for human disease. It hardly addresses the actual question about veterinary research. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Jun 13, 2018 at 15:45
  • $\begingroup$ The animal models used (in research) are too short lived to be naturally affected by many of human disease that are being researched. So direct application of this research to mouse health care is very limited. Furthermore when using said research data is used on human, often we find the work not applicable. So by guess work successful mouse anticancer drugs are unlikely to be successful in other animals either. The best use of research in mice has been the use of failed (by mouse test) anti cancer drugs in pet dogs. $\endgroup$
    – JayCkat
    Commented Jun 13, 2018 at 16:17

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