Healthy Animals

Flyer for Environmental Enrichment Trial for Healthy Cats

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Below, please find links to all of the clinical trials involving healthy animals. The studies include a multitude of information, including (but not limited to) the study’s purpose, benefits for participating, and financial incentive information. If you have any questions, please contact the individual outlined at the end of each trial summary.


Assessing Feeding Behaviors and Activity Levels in Healthy Cats

Title: Foraging Behavior Under Threat and Enrichment in Confined Cats

Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study is to evaluate feeding behaviors and activity levels of cats under different household conditions.

Contact: Dr. Mikel Delgado, Dr. Tony Buffington or Dr. Melissa Bain at 

Participation Requirements: Households with one or two cats who live indoors only, or who only go outdoors with supervision

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Your cat needs to:

  • Be between 1 and 10 years of age
  • Have been seen by a veterinarian in the last year
  • Not currently be under any medical treatment


  • We will review your cat’s current diet, environment, general health, and behavior, and then loan you a camera and other equipment to measure your cat’s activity and feeding behavior during the study.
  • You will introduce one or two enrichment item(s) to your cat(s) in the middle of the study. We will provide the enrichment item(s).
  • We will meet with you to pick up the loaned equipment and ask you to complete a short questionnaire to share your opinions about the study at the time of completion.
  • You will be asked to complete questionnaires/forms about your cat’s behavior.

Benefits: You will be provided with one or two enrichment items for your cat, which you may keep.

Participation may result in an improved quality of life for your cat due to environmental enrichment recommendations, which may reduce boredom and negative behaviors, and an increase in your cat’s general health and welfare.

Owner Responsibilities: From start to finish, your cat will be in this study for approximately one month. If you wish to have your cat in this study, you will be responsible for setting up equipment, maintaining records at home, and returning all applicable materials provided to you.

If you agree, we will ask you to participate in a second, one-week study approximately six months after the initial study.

Printable Flyer (PDF)


Assessing Amino Acid Concentrations in the Urine of Healthy Dogs

Title: Amino Acid Concentrations in the Urine of Healthy Dogs

Purpose:  Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. We are trying to establish normal reference ranges for urinary amino acids in healthy dogs consuming dry, canned or commercial raw diets or home-prepared diets.


Participation Requirements:

  • Healthy dogs consuming dry, canned or commercial raw diets or home-prepared diets
  • Ineligible:
    • Beagles and Greyhounds
    • Dogs consuming foreign or domestic jerky treats in the past 12 months

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Before your pet begins the study, you will need to complete the Feeding History Form asking about your pet and what they currently eat at home to find out if he/she qualifies to be in the study.

Procedures: You will need to complete a questionnaire about your dog and what your dog is currently eating at home, collect a small amount of urine (a minimal amount of 15 ml or 1 TB) in a clean cup we provide, and submit 2-3 photographs of the label of the diet you are currently feeding your dog.


  • There is no cost to you to participate in this trial.
  • Results from this study may contribute to the development of a reference range for urinary amino acids in canine urine that will be used as part of a larger study to understand the severity and duration of urinary amino acid loss in dogs that develop acquired Fanconi syndrome.

Owner Responsibilities: If you wish to have your pet participate in this study, you will be responsible for completing the questionnaire to the best of your ability, collecting a small urine sample, taking 2-3 photographs of the label of your pet’s food and submitting those to the study investigators.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Old Age (Longevity) in Golden Retrievers

Title: Venous Blood Sample Collection for DNA Extraction and Analysis in Aged Large Breed Dogs

Purpose: Many current studies are aimed at trying to identify genes associated with diseases in dogs, but we are looking to see if there might exist ‘protective genes’ that could help protect against these same life-limiting diseases in the dog.


Participation Requirements: Large breeds that are over 50 lbs and 12 years old (or older) with particular interest in Golden Retrievers

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures: The only procedure required is the collection and submission of a blood sample for DNA extraction. Download documents below to submit samples. For questions, please contact Kalie or Dan (see contact information above).

Benefits: Identification of such genes may help us understand why some dogs or dog breeds live longer, and hopefully lead to lengthening the lifespans for our faithful companions.

Referring Veterinarian Responsibilities: To collect and submit a blood sample and medical records.

To submit samples, complete and send in the following documents:

  • Sample Information Form (XLS)
  • Blood Collection and Shipping Information (DOC)

Printable Flyer (PDF) - Golden Retrievers

If you cannot find what you are looking for, please email us or call (530) 752-5366.