Fish swimbladders help sick dogs

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Scientists at an Indian veterinary college are using the swimbladders of fish to save dogs suffering from urinary bladder problems.

According to a report in the Hindustan Times, scientists at the College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry in Bhubaneswar have successfully transplanted fish swimbladders into the urinary bladders of sick 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 or float.

The Hindustan Times spoke to college dean BK Sahu who said that the operation had never been undertaken before:

"For the first-time in India, we have developed the most cost-effective technique to reconstruct the urinary bladder in case of its damage with fish air sacs, or swim bladder."

The story says that the swimbladders were collected from a local fish market, washed and de-slimed and then kept in saline water and dosed with antibiotics.

Apparently, the dogs showed no signs of rejecting the transplanted swimbladder and the sac has similar properties to the urinary bladder allowing it to fill it and follow the contours of the original.