Background: The clinical outcome of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is poor, with a 50% survival rate at 3 years. Furthermore, current treatments provide little amelioration of symptoms. Despite significant advances in understanding the clinical features and pathobiology of IPF, further advances have been hampered by a lack of suitable animal models of the disease. Interestingly, spontaneously occurring disorders with a similarity to IPF have been recognized in the dog, cat, horse, and donkey. These disorders share clinical and pathologic features with human IPF and are emerging diseases of veterinary importance.
Purpose: To improve awareness about these disorders in domestic animals and stimulate interactions between disciplines, and to facilitate the elucidation of mechanisms of fibrosing lung disorders using a comparative natural-occurrence disease model approach.
Methods: A 1-day meeting joined physicians, veterinarians, pathologists, researchers, and advocacy experts to discuss information available in this area. A review of the literature was conducted, and an executive committee discussed the findings and prepared a summary statement during subsequent meetings.
Results: Clinical, diagnostic, and treatment opportunities were identified, and common areas of interest where collaborative efforts could accelerate discovery regarding etiological factors, methods for early detection, determinants of disease progression, and novel therapies were defined.
Conclusions: Comparing fibrosing lung disorders in humans and domestic animals will allow for a better understanding of the similarities and differences among species and may offer novel insights into the underlying mechanisms of spontaneously occurring fibrotic lung diseases.