cures await discovery. Although the list is pretty much endless, here are some examples, by decade, including the main species used that were crucial to the discovery:
Pre-1900: Treatment for rabies (dogs, rabbits), smallpox (cows), anthrax (sheep).
1900s: Cardiac catheterization techniques (dogs, rabbits), treatment for rickets (dogs).
1920s: Discovery of insulin (dogs).
1930s: Development of modern anesthesia (dogs), prevention of tetanus (horses), development of anticoagulants (cats).
1940s: Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (rabbits, monkeys), discovery of the RH factor (monkeys), prevention of diptheria (horses), antibiotics (rats, mice, rabbits, etc), treatment for whooping cough (pigs and rabbits).
1950s: Prevention of polio (rabbits, monkeys, rodents), discovery of DNA (rats and mice), development of open-heart surgery and pacemaker (dogs), development of cancer chemotherapy (monkeys, rabbits and rodents).
1960s: Development of lithium treatment (rats and guinea pigs), prevention of rubella (monkeys).
1970s: Prevention of measles (monkeys), treatment for leprosy (monkeys, armadillos), heart bypass surgery (dogs).
1980s: Development of monoclonal antibodies for treating diseases (mice, rabbits), organ transplant advances (dogs, sheep, cows and pigs).
1990s: Laproscopic surgical techniques (pigs), breast cancer genetic and environmental links (fruit flies, mice and rats), gene therapy for cystic fibrosis (mice and primates).
It is often hard to conceptualize the impact of a disease once a vaccine has been developed and it is no longer a threat. Likewise, it is often difficult for young and healthy people who aren't exposed to as much risk, and who accordingly haven't had the misfortune to experience a life-threatening or painful disease, to see that the use of animals in research was and is crucial to ensuring their health and others' health. Even before a vaccination against a disease is developed, what can be learned through research using animals about the nature of transmission and specific susceptibility factors associated with the disease can help reduce or prevent exposure.
One specific example is the Hepatitis B virus (HBV), which infects about 240,000 people each year in the United States. This infection can lead to severe illness, liver cancer and death (for further info, visit http://www.immunize.org). HBV is found in blood, saliva and serous fluid of infected individuals. For...