Researchers in the discipline of small animal internal medicine investigate canine internal medicine, and the spearhead topics have long remained unchanged: gastrointestinal, pulmonary and cardiac diseases. A large number of publications on these topics have been published in international scholarly journals, in addition to which several doctoral theses have been written on them. New research areas have been established, the latest being renal diseases. In many projects, research is conducted in cooperation with leading Finnish and international research groups.
Our large group of patients have contributed to advancing the research. The diseases suffered by animal patients often bear a close resemblance to human diseases, making it possible to utilise many of the diseases we study as models for human diseases.
The primary goal of all of our research is to improve pet health through new therapies as well as examination and monitoring methods. Patients of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital have the opportunity to participate in studies, for example, by donating excess specimens for research purposes. In some studies, patients are invited through a separate procedure. Study participation is always voluntary, and patients are always treated using the optimal means, regardless of whether they are participating in a study or not.
Cardiac diseases are common in dogs. The cardiac disease research group strives to identify reasons for a higher than average incidence of cardiac arrhythmia in certain breeds. At the onset of a cardiac disease, the related changes can be minor. To detect such changes, the normal function and size of the heart must be known. For this reason, the group has also studied dogs with healthy hearts.
Among other methods, the group utilises ultrasound imaging, long-term ECG recording and blood sample analysis. Research results have been applied, for example, to preventing cardiac diseases through health surveys, where dogs expressing no signs of cardiac diseases are selected for breeding.
Our Finnish Small Animal Gastroenterology (FIN-SAGAS) research group investigates chronic diseases of the stomach, intestine, liver and pancreas of dogs and cats. We aim at an improvement of our knowledge concerning their etiology and pathophysiology. We also seek for simplifying the diagnostic recognition and differentiation of such diseases and for improving their treatment.
In nephrology, we have been investigating the role of new biomarkers to diagnose acute kidney injury in dogs with and without intoxications or bites by the European adder. From September 2021, the project extended to dogs with chronic kidney diseases. Recently, we started to introduce hemodialysis for treating severe, life threatening acute kidney injury in dogs. We also have started to use laser lithotripsy for the endoscopic removal of urinary stones in dogs with the aim to avoid invasive surgery.
The pulmonary disease research group investigates the onset of pulmonary diseases and looks for better diagnostic techniques and more effective therapies for acute and chronic pulmonary diseases. We study a range of respiratory tract diseases, including pulmonary fibrosis, which is a connective tissue disorder of the lungs, pneumonia and a respiratory syndrome in short-muzzled dogs.