Can fish be organ donors?


We eat fish all the time, but is it possible to use bits of fish for medical or veterinary purposes?

Yes, vets in India have successfully used fish as organ donors for sick dogs. 

The vets successfully transplanted fish swimbladders into the urinary bladders of the dogs. 

The swimbladder is a thin-walled sac which runs along the inside of the body cavity of many fish and contains gases to keep the fish neutrally buoyant, so they neither sink nor float. 

Vets carefully extracted swimbladders from donor fish and transplanted them into dogs. The dogs showed no signs of rejecting the swimbladders and the sacs have similar properties to the urinary bladders they replaced, allowing them to fill and follow the contours of the original organ. 

This item was first published in the September 2009 issue of Practical Fishkeeping magazine. It may not be reproduced without written permission.