Brief History of Feline Kidney Transplants
transplants in animals date back to 1902 where the first reported
ones were done in Vienna by Dr. Emerich Ulmann. By 1905, Dr.
Alexis Carrel was performing transplants in the United States
and some of the basic techniques that he developed are still
in use today.
the surgical procedures have existed for some time, the real
problem was preventing the immune system from viewing the transplanted
organ as a foreign body which must be attacked and destroyed.
The solution did not come until 1970 when cyclosporine was discovered
in soil fungus. This powerful and effective antirejection drug
made transplants a reality. Today, other more effective immune
suppressing drugs are becoming available for both human and
the mid-1980s, the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University
of California, Davis (UCD) pioneered a kidney transplant program
in the hopes of making this option readily available to caregivers
with CRF cats. To date, this facility has performed more transplants
than any other location but qualified transplant surgeons are
now available in other areas of the United States. The surgical
procedure and postoperative protocol have gradually been perfected
and transplantation is no longer considered experimental.
the objective was to add at least a year to the patient's life
but more recently two to six+ years is common. Since transplants
are most often performed on senior cats, a reasonable life expectancy
will vary depending on age. At this time, the longest feline
survivors are out ten years postoperatively. As more and more
transplants have been done, the procedures have improved and
more expertise has been gained in donor selection and recipient
screening. Feline renal transplantation is now an accepted and
relatively safe treatment for patients in renal failure. A successful
transplant extends life and allows the patient to return to
normal activity. The success rate for candidates in good condition
is now 80 to 90 percent.