Veterinary clinical studies involve researching new medications, treatments, tests, or devices to determine if they improve the health and well-being of our patients. Veterinary clinical studies are also known as clinical trials or clinical research.
Participation in veterinary clinical studies is voluntary. All studies have specific criteria regarding species, diagnosis, current medications, etc. You may be asked to allow your pet to participate in a study during an appointment or, if you think your pet may qualify for one of our studies, you can contact our clinical research technician by phone at (608) 890-3484 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. No pet is enrolled in a study without the full understanding and permission of the owner.
Patients participating in a study may receive treatments not otherwise available. A pet may or may not benefit from the study; however, all studies advance scientific knowledge. New drugs and protocols may have side effects. Studies may require return visits to UW Veterinary Care for recheck exams and laboratory tests. The School of Veterinary Medicine’s Animal Care and Use committee reviews and approves all studies to assure minimal risk to the patient.
Most studies have funding to cover the testing and procedures performed. Some studies provide new drugs, tests, or procedures for your pet at a reduced rate or free of charge. Your clinician will discuss all costs with you prior to enrolling your pet in a clinical study.
At UW Veterinary Care, our expert clinicians and staff are dedicated to raising the standard of care by using the latest technologies, while also performing research to advance veterinary and human medicine now and in the future. Clinical studies allow us to develop more effective diagnostic and treatment options for patients. Past studies have led to the development of new treatments for cancer, orthopedic conditions, and fungal disease in cats.
Funding for veterinary clinical studies can range from small gifts to large federal grants. Faculty, residents, interns, and veterinary students apply for funds through a competitive grant process, wherein expert scientists review research proposals and select the ones that are most likely to advance animal health. Common funding sources include the American Kennel Club (AKC), Morris Animal Foundation, Veterinary Orthopedic Society, the SVM’s own Companion Animal Research Fund, and even the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH funds research for diseases shared by humans and companion animals.
Clinical studies are often designed by clinicians in order to improve patient care. Studies may address a need for a better drug, a new diagnostic test, or a better understanding of a difficult disease. Studies are typically led by a faculty member and involve a research team that may include residents, interns, technicians, or veterinary students.
If a patient shows distress, illness, or side effects, it may be recommended that the patient be withdrawn from the study. Additionally, clients always have the option to remove their pet from a study for any reason, without consequences to the patient’s care. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) reviews all studies prior to approval and funding. The IACUC assures studies meet the requirements of the animal welfare laws of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
This provides a comparison between patients receiving treatment and those not receiving treatment but keeps everything else the same. For example, if 100 patients are in a study, 50 patients may receive the treatment and the other 50 patients receive the placebo. All patients undergo the same laboratory tests, exams, etc. At the end of the study, response or lack of response to the treatment is compared by evaluating test and exam results for the group receiving the active medication and the group receiving the placebo.