The small animal surgery unit is the only operator in Finland that conducts surgical research on small animal patients. We conduct multidisciplinary research through a number of research groups. Many of the groups collaborate with each other as well as with other universities and commercial operators. Research findings are reported in either individual international publications or in the form of doctoral theses. In addition to scholarly publishing, knowledge is shared with animal owners.
The soft tissue surgery group (Softis) studies small tissue diseases that require surgery and their diagnosis, treatment and treatment outcome assessment. The research topics stem mainly from ideas gained in the process of everyday patient care. At the moment, ongoing doctoral thesis projects focus primarily on urogenital diseases. Studies are carried out on privately owned dogs, with the permission of their owners. Such research would not be possible without the assistance of Finnish dog owners and their commendable interest in research projects.
The orthopaedics research group (Petbone) comprehensively studies the musculoskeletal disorders of small animals and the effectiveness of related therapies. Many projects have investigated the effect of breeding on canine mobility and structure. Result indicators for assessing pain and mobility have been developed in two doctoral theses. Additionally, the group has for a long time conducted biomaterial research in cooperation with other universities and commercial operators, investigating and developing, among other things, new replacement materials for cartilage and bone defects as well as load-bearing bone substitute implants.
The animal physiotherapy research group (FaunaFysio) has developed result indicators for canine patients suffering from knee-related and neurological disorders. In addition, the group has assessed the usability of various individual measuring methods in both clinical use and research. Other research topics have included areas related to the mobility performance of healthy dogs and horses, as well as the effect of intervertebral disc disease and other diseases on the mobility and functional capacity of animals. In addition, the effect of various physiotherapies has been investigated in rehabilitating dogs with knee-related problems and treating horses suffering from back pain. Current topics of our research include the development of mobility in foals and endurance in young dogs.
The neurology research group (NeuroPet) studies neurological disorders as well as their diagnostics and treatment options. Particular topics of interest for our group include epilepsy and syringomyelia. Our research group has described the first canine epilepsy syndrome occurring in puppyhood that goes into remission on its own, also investigating diseases associated with epilepsy, seizure exposure factors and drug therapies for epilepsy. Our latest research focuses on epilepsy biomarkers, which could predict future disease progression and treatment response. So far, the syringomyelia research conducted by our research group has looked into the connection between structural changes in the craniocervical junction area and syringomyelia, or the development of cysts within the spinal cord. In addition, our studies have shown that fontanelles in the canine skull that remain open, which have previously been considered insignificant, also have a connection to the occurrence of syringomyelia. In the future, our group aims to further determine the mechanisms according to which fontanelles are created.
The cross-disciplinary research group DogRisk studies the diseases of various companion animals, focusing on disease prevention. The diseases studied are common among companion animals and humans, including cancer, osteoarthritis, atopy, IBD, epilepsy as well as other inflammatory and metabolic disease conditions. Starting from the gestation period, DogRisk has investigated a range of environmental and nutritional factors that have an epidemiological link to the onset of these diseases. In addition, the research group has found support for mitigating risk factors through dietary interventions as well as by means of genetics and molecular biology. The group also investigates the suitability of scent detection dogs in cancer and Covid-19 diagnostics, both experimentally and operationally.
Research in the field focuses on pharmaceutical agents used in sedation and their combinations in both working animals and pets. In addition, we investigate the effects of various pain-relief drugs and pain-management techniques in clinical patients, with the aim of improving pain management opportunities in conjunction with procedures.
The TERVA project, carried out in cooperation with the Research Centre for Animal Welfare, investigates the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of sedative combinations in calves in connection with polling.
In studies on pet sedatives, close cooperation is conducted with the discipline of pharmacology and toxicology. In addition, we are actively involved in anaesthesiology consultation services with the other research groups at the department. Besides the Faculty, we conduct research collaboration with other Finnish and European universities.