Cats

Below, please find links to all of the clinical trials currently accepting feline patients. The studies are organized by discipline and include a multitude of information, including (but not limited to) the study’s purpose, benefits for participating, and financial incentive information.

Please contact the individual outlined at the end of each trial summary if you have any questions about the trial. 

Anesthesia & Pain Management
Osteoarthritis: Examining a New Pain Relief Medication

Title: Analgesic evaluation of gabapentin in osteoarthritic geriatric cats

Purpose of Study: The objective of this study is to increase the available options for pain relief in cats with osteoarthritis, which should directly impact their health and well-being.

Participation Requirements:

  • Cats must be indoor-only, with owner-identified mobility impairment
  • Cats whose owners have noticed altered activity, with radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis and decreased muscle mass (for non-axial joints), with no detectable systemic disease and no clinically significant abnormalities on blood work
  • Ineligible:
    • Female cats must not be pregnant
    • Cats must not be receiving any anti-inflammatory or other analgesic medications. Administration of glucosamine-chondroitin sulphate or similar medication (e.g., chondroprotectants) is acceptable as long as they have been administered for at least 10 weeks and the administration does not change during the study period.

Initial Evaluation for Participation:

  • Cats will be evaluated via general physical, orthopedic and neurological examinations, complete blood cell count and serum biochemical analyzes.
  • Orthogonal radiographs will be taken of joints suspected to have osteoarthritis based on history and physical examination.

Procedures:

  • Gabapentin at a dose of 10 mg/kg or placebo will be given orally twice per day for two weeks to senior cats (10 years old or older). Each cat will be treated with gabapentin or placebo in random order.
  • Owners will evaluate the pain relief on a weekly basis through a questionnaire tailored specifically for their cat.
  • Cats will wear an activity monitor device (e.g., a type of “pedometer”) on their neck to measure their activity level at home.

Benefits: This is a fully funded study, so the owner will not pay for any procedures required for the animal to participate in the study.

Owner Responsibilities: Owner must have a stable routine of daily living that is unlikely to change during the proposed study period (e.g., no impending changes such as moving to a new location, vacations, introduction of new pets or people into the household).  In addition, cats will be excluded if they miss more than one gabapentin dose per week.

Contact: Dr. Alonso Guedes (agclinicaltrials@gmail.com; please add "cat gaba pain study" in the subject line)

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Brain & Nervous System (Neurology & Neurosurgery)
Myasthenia Gravis: Understanding the Genetics

Title: MHC Haplotyping of cats with Acquired Myasthenia Gravis

Purpose of Study: Acquired myasthenia gravis is an immune mediated disease. In people, there is an association between genes (HLA DR3) and the myasthenia gravis. If the same is true in cats, it may allow us to identify cats at risk before the development of disease and develop new treatments. The purpose of this study is to determine if cats with acquired myasthenia gravis have a similar genes (MHC haplotype). We will use DNA collected from blood cells to do the genetic analysis.

Participation Requirements: Cats with a confirmed diagnosis of acquired Myasthenia Gravis.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures: The only procedure involved is for the owner or referring veterinarian to submit a blood sample (at least 2 mls) in a small EDTA tubes.

Benefits: There is no direct benefit of this study for you or your cat; however, the information may allow us to identify cats that are at risk and develop new treatments.

Owner Responsibilities: The owner or referring veterinarian only needs to send in a blood sample that has been collected in a small EDTA tube by over-night FedEx, sent Monday to Thursday.

Contact: Contact Dr. Vernau at (530) 304-9450 or kmvernau@ucdavis.edu.

Cancer (Oncology)
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (Oral): Tumor Collection

Title: Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma Repository study

Purpose of Study: UC Davis is collecting oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma samples to populate a tissue bank for future research studies.

Participation Requirements: Cats with confirmed diagnosis of oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Cats with a confirmed diagnosis of oral malignant melanoma

Procedures: After receiving consent from owners, a sample of the tumor is banked at the time of your cat's visit.

Benefits: There is no cost to the owner for participation in this study. The samples collected will be stored for future use of investigators with the ultimate goal of developing a treatment and prevention for the variety of cancers.

Owner Responsibilities: The owner only needs to consent to the sample being collected at the time of your cat's visit.

Contact: Please talk to your oncologist at the time of your cat's visit.

Eyes (Ophthalmology)
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (Dry Eye) or other tear film disorders: Understanding the Eye

Title: Ocular surface and tear film assessment in healthy cats and dogs

Purpose of Study: This study will examine new and current methods of assessing the tear film in normal cats.

Participation Requirements:

  • Healthy cats
  • Cats with evidence of a tear film dysfunction

Initial Evaluation for Participation: The initial examination will occur at your cat's regular ophthalmic appointment.

Procedures:

  • Schirmer tear test
  • Phenol red thread test
  • Conjunctival impression cytology
  • Tear osmometry
  • Meibometry
  • Tearfilm break up time

Benefits: There are no direct benefits for enrolling your cat in this study; however, we hope that the data acquired in this study will allow us to understand the tear film in our veterinary patients.

Owner Responsibilities: The owner is only required to bring their cat in and sign the owner informed consent document.

Contact: Lionel Sebbag (sebbaglionel@gmail.com)

NEW! Infection of the Cornea (Infectious Keratitis): Finding the Best Sample Collection Method

Title: Qualitative and quantitative effects of 0.5% proparacaine on corneal bacterial culture results in dogs, cats, and horses

Purpose of Study: If your veterinarian suspects that your cat is suffering from infectious keratitis (infection of the cornea) or a deep corneal ulcer, they will recommend taking a swab sample from the surface of your cat’s cornea to determine the type of infection. Historically at UC Davis, we have used a topical anesthetic named proparacaine, that is applied to the surface of the eye before any samples are taken to minimize discomfort. Recently, a concern has been raised that proparacaine may inhibit growth of infectious organisms in the laboratory after a corneal swab sample is obtained. This means that even if your cat has a corneal infection, we may not be able to grow the bacteria or fungi in the lab if proparacaine has been used before sample collection. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to determine the best procedure to follow when collecting culture samples, thereby ensuring an appropriate diagnostic work up and treatment plan while minimizing discomfort.

Participation Requirements: Cats showing clinical signs of infectious keratitis

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures: After your cat is randomly assigned to one of two groups, a veterinarian will have a corneal sample taken from the affected eye of your cat twice. The first swab will be taken without a topical anesthetic and inoculated into a culture medium for analysis. Depending on the assigned group, your cat will then have either a drop of a sterile topical anesthetic (proparacaine) or sterile saline (i.e., no anesthetic) placed on to the surface of the affected eye. We will then swab the affected eye again for both groups as described above.

Benefits: You will be charged for the first culture (approximately $82) just as owners of animals not in the study would be charged. However, the study will cover all costs associated with the second culture collection.

Possible benefits include finding bacteria or fungi not routinely collected after use of a topical anesthetic, and helping to establish the best way to collect samples from future patients with infectious keratitis. Results of this study may be extrapolated to benefit human research as well.

Owner Responsibilities: You will be responsible for bringing your cat to the scheduled ophthalmology appointment and covering the cost for the first culture.

Contact: Dr. Syndey Cartiff (sydney.cartiff@gmail.com or 530-601-7356)

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Genetics
Feline Infectious Peritonitis: Identifying Genetic Markers

Title: Feline Infectious Peritonitis study

Purpose of Study: Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) is an infectious disease that kills 1 in 100 to 1 in 300 of all cats in the U.S. However, the incidence is 5 to 10 times greater among young cats coming from catteries and shelters. It is a disease that is 100% lethal, and is heartbreaking for breeders and for the families that lose affected kittens and young cats. The purpose for this study is to find genetic markers to identify FIP susceptible cats and to use these markers to breed for resistance. In order to identify favorable or unfavorable genetic traits, we need to concentrate our studies on bloodlines within breeds of cats that are either inordinately susceptible or seemingly resistant. Such bloodlines exist in virtually all breeds of cats.

Participation Requirements:

  • Cats that have developed FIP, regardless of age
  • Healthy cats of any age that are close relatives (sire, dam, sibling) to cats that have developed FIP
  • Healthy cats of any age from bloodlines that have been so far free of FIP

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures: The only procedure involved is for the owner or referring veterinarian to submit a DNA sample and complete a questionnaire. Please visit the FIP webpage through the Center for Companion Animal Health for detailed procedures and instructions.

Benefits: There is no direct benefit of this study for you or your cat; however, the information may allow us to identify FIP susceptible cats and to use these markers to breed for resistance.

Owner Responsibilities: The owner or referring veterinarian needs to send in a DNA sample and complete the questionnaire. Please visit the FIP webpage through the Center for Companion Animal Health for detailed procedures and instructions.

Contact: Contact the Community Medicine service at 530-752-9811 to make an appointment. For additional information, please visit the FIP webpage through the UC Davis Center for Companion Animal Health.

Myasthenia Gravis: Understanding the Genetics

Title: MHC Haplotyping of cats with Acquired Myasthenia Gravis

Purpose of Study: Acquired myasthenia gravis is an immune mediated disease. In people, there is an association between genes (HLA DR3) and the myasthenia gravis. If the same is true in cats, it may allow us to identify cats at risk before the development of disease and develop new treatments. The purpose of this study is to determine if cats with acquired myasthenia gravis have a similar genes (MHC haplotype). We will use DNA collected from blood cells to do the genetic analysis.

Participation Requirements: Cats with a confirmed diagnosis of acquired Myasthenia Gravis.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures: The only procedure involved is for the owner or referring veterinarian to submit a blood sample (at least 2 mls) in a small EDTA tubes.

Benefits: There is no direct benefit of this study for you or your cat; however, the information may allow us to identify cats that are at risk and develop new treatments.

Owner Responsibilities: The owner or referring veterinarian only needs to send in a blood sample that has been collected in a small EDTA tube by over-night FedEx, sent Monday to Thursday.

Contact: Contact Dr. Vernau at (530) 304-9450, or kmvernau@ucdavis.edu.

Heart (Cardiology)
NEW! Heart Murmurs: Improving Ways to Measure Heart Function

Title: Evaluation of the efficacy of timolol ophthalmic suspension to transiently decreased heart rate and improve echocardiographic analysis in cats

Purpose of Study: Because of patient “nerves” (called sympathetic tone), many cats have elevated heart rates while they are in hospital, which makes important cardiac measurements difficult to obtain. Although timolol is used in pets and humans with glaucoma, this commonly used eye drop may also slightly decrease an already elevated heart rate. Therefore, we are investigating the use of timolol to help improve our ability to measure heart function using echocardiogram (cardiac ultrasound).

Participation Requirements: Requirements include patient’s that are free from respiratory disease (ex. feline asthma) and ocular disease, but have a heart murmur, and tolerate handling without sedation. An echocardiogram will be performed which requires the pet to lay on his/her side for about 15-30 minutes.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: All cats should be screened for the presence of a heart murmur, absence of history of cough or respiratory signs, and obvious ocular disease.

Procedures: A complete echocardiographic study will be completed as part of your normal work up by the Cardiology service at UC Davis. If we determine that your cat is eligible for the study and you agree to be involved in it, a small blood sample will be taken and saved for future genetic analysis. One drop of an ophthalmic medication called timolol will be instilled into the right eye of your pet. About 15-20 minutes later, a brief recheck echocardiogram will be performed.

Benefits: Although you are responsible for the cost of the initial Cardiology exam and echocardiogram, the study will cover for a significant portion of those costs (reducing the expense to approximately $125 compared to $450 or more), the administration of timolol and the brief recheck echocardiogram after the administration of this medication.

All cats with a heart murmur are generally recommended to be evaluated by a cardiologist to deterimine if they have significant heart disease. This study will provide a full cardiology report that you and your family veterinarian can use to assess your pets cardiac health at a significant cost reduction. We cannot promise any direct benefits to your cat or other animals from your taking part in this clinical trial; however, possible benefits include improved ability to diagnosed cardiac dysfunction by helping us obtain important measurements about heart function more accurately. This in turn will help us diagnose some heart diseases earlier, more accurately, and institute treatment (if warranted) sooner. If this trial is successful, these eye drops may transform the way feline heart hearts are routinely evaluated and help us better understand common heart diseases in cats (such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy also known as HCM).

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your cat to participate in this study, you will be responsible for the cost associated with the initial Cardiology exam and echocardiograph ($125), and alerting the Cardiology service of any cough, behavior changes, eye irritations, or medical concerns observed within 24 hours.

Contact: Eric Ontiveros, Stern Laboratory Coordinator (esontiveros@ucdavis.edu or 530 -752-4892) to make an appointment

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: Understanding the Condition

Title: Biomarker Assessment of Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Purpose of Study: In human heart disease, traceable substances in the blood, referred to as biomarkers, are used to assess severity of a common heart disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Recent research identified biomarkers associated with inflammation that are elevated in HCM patients. Studies have also investigated biomarkers in cats, such as B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP), that correlate with the severity of heart disease. Only one previous study has attempted to identify the level of an inflammatory biomarker in cats with heart failure. Although the study identified elevated levels of this biomarker, there have been no multimarker studies using inflammatory biomarkers in feline HCM.

This study will compare concentrations of three individual inflammatory biomarkers and BNP in cats with and without HCM. The goal is to determine the ability of multiple biomarkers to identify and assess, and hopefully correlate to, the degree of heart disease in cats. Early identification of this disease will lead to earlier treatment and potentially prevention of the development of heart failure.

Participation Requirements: Cats diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy but not currently on any medications.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Cats must have a recent echocardiogram by a board-certified cardiologist that documents their current cardiac structure and function.

Procedures: If you agree to let your cat participate in this study, we will collect a blood sample from your cat.

Benefits: There is no charge for you to allow your cat to participate in this clinical trial. All costs associated with the blood analysis will be paid by the sponsor/department.

We cannot promise any benefits to your cat or other animals from your taking part in this clinical trial; however, possible benefits hope to define the relationship between inflammation and the severity of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in cats.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your cat to participate in this study, you will be responsible to bring your cat in to the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital for the outlined procedures on your scheduled appointment (NOTE: Your cat’s participation will take approximately four (4) hours).

Contact: Dr. Karl Jandrey, DVM, MAS, DACVECC in the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care Service, at (530) 752-1393

Internal Medicine
Ureteral obstructions: Evaluating Post-Surgery Outcomes

Title: Evaluation of Post-operative Outcome in Cats Undergoing Ureteral Stent Placement to Relieve Ureteral Obstruction

Purpose of Study: The purpose of this project is to record the intra-operative and postoperative complications associated with the procedure and determine the outcome of the procedure based on objective measures.

Participation Requirements: Cats with benign ureteral obstruction

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Contact Dr. Culp for details at wculp@ucdavis.edu or (530) 752-1393

Procedures: Cats with a diagnosis of benign ureteral obstruction will be enrolled in the study. Bloodwork values that can be utilized to determine the function of the kidney (should improve with the passage of urine) as well as variables such as the size of the kidney collecting system and ureter (should decrease with passage of urine) in cats both pre- and postoperatively will be evaluated. Lastly, the change in the urine output of cats with ureteral stents will be assessed to determine if the stents improve output.

Benefits: The benefits of enrolling a patient in this study are financial. Some of the pre- and post-stent placement bloodwork and pre- and post-stent placement ultrasound evaluations will be paid for by the study.

If this therapy proves to be beneficial, it will have important clinical applications for other cats with the same condition.

Owner Responsibilities: The owner is responsible for returning with their cat 2 weeks and 3 months after stent placement.

Contact: Contact Dr. Culp for details at wculp@ucdavis.edu or (530) 752-1393.

Mouth (Dentistry & Oral Surgery)
Chronic Gingivostomatitis: Finding a Treatment with Stem Cells

Title: Fat-derived Mesenchymal Stem-Cell Therapy for Cats with Chronic Gingivostomatitis

Purpose of Study: Feline chronic gingivostomatitis (FCGS) is a poorly defined disease characterized by inflammatory lesion, mostly ulcerative or proliferative in nature, affecting the gums and the back of the mouth. Moreover, FCGS is a painful and debilitating disease in cats that necessitates medical or surgical treatments. These include full-mouth extractions, antibiotic treatment, and corticosteroids. Recently, feline interferon treatment (currently unavailable in the USA) has been proposed for non-responsive stomatitis. However, none of these treatments are ideal, predictable and without possible complications. The quality of life to both pet and owner is significantly affected.

A form of stem cell therapy where stem cells are extracted from fat tissue has come to the forefront in recent years as a potential therapeutic option for chronic inflammatory diseases. This cell therapy may help to correct abnormalities of the immune system that may be involved with stomatitis in cats. Moreover, stem cells are shown to help in regenerating damaged tissues. Feline stem cells has shown to be easily generated in large quantities from a small amount of fat collected via minor surgical procedure but safely of systemic administration in cats was not reported previously.

In this study, our aim is to treat cats in which all current treatment modalities have failed and that have a poor quality of life. If the proposed stem cell treatment will prove to be beneficial, it may revolutionize the treatment options for cats with FCGS.

Participation Requirements:

  • Cats that had full-mouth extractions performed that have not resulted in a cure from the disease
  • Ineligible: Cats that did not have full-mouth extractions performed or have other concurrent systemic diseases

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Evaluation for eligibility by Dr. Boaz Arzi

Procedures: The following procedures will be performed:

  1. Collection of blood and urine for analysis before the treatment and at 4-6 recheck appointments
  2. Collection of fat tissue from under the skin via a small incision. The fat will then be processed and stem cells extracted.
  3. Two-weeks following collection of the fat tissue, we will administer the stem cells to the affected cats via intravenous administration. The treatment may need to be repeated one month after the first administration of stem-cells.
  4. Recheck appointment is required initially at 2 weeks interval and later at 1 month. Blood sample will be collected and will not exceed 5 milliliters (1 teaspoon).

Benefits: The proposed treatment strategy could have beneficial effects that may change the quality of life of your cat. We will also perform blood and urine test at no costs to you at each visit during the study. You will not be charged for the biopsy of fat tissue, the rechecks or the administration of the stem cells. You will only have to pay for take home medication, such as pain medication, as needed.

If this study will prove to be beneficial, it will have important clinical applications for other cats with the same condition.

Owner Responsibilities: The owner only needs to bring the cats to the VMTH for fat collection and for the scheduled recheck appointments.

Contact: Contact Dr. Boaz Arzi for details

Boaz Arzi, DVM, DAVDC
Tel: (530) 752-2470
Fax: (530) 752-9620
dosclinicaltrials@ucdavis.edu

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Dental Disease: Assessing Better Diagnostics

Title: The diagnostic yield of dental radiographs and cone-beam computed tomography in cats with dental disorders

Purpose of Study: Because of the highly detailed images, cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) scans are commonly used as diagnostic tools in human medicine with great success; however, these scans are only now being introduced to the veterinary field. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to establish CBCT scans as the ideal imaging modality for mesaticephalic and brachycephalic cats with dental disorders.

Participation Requirements: Cats diagnosed with dentoalveolar disease that are referred to or are currently being treated by the Dentistry and Oral Surgery service (DOSS) at the UCD Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH).

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Examination by DOSS

Procedures: As part of the diagnostic work-up, we will image your cat via CBCT scan under general anesthesia. The CBCT scan will be done during your scheduled appointment with DOSS.

Benefits: You will not be charged for the CBCT scan; however, you will be charged for the general anesthesia and dental treatment.

We cannot promise any benefits to your cat from your taking part in this clinical trial; however, we hope that this study will lead to better diagnostics techniques. This study may also benefit other species with the same condition in the future.

Owner Responsibilities: Participation in this study does not require any additional visits beyond your scheduled appointment with DOSS.

With the exception the CBCT scan, you will be responsible for bringing your cat to DOSS and paying for all other fees associated with your cat’s visit and treatment.

Contact:

Dentistry and Oral Surgery Service
Tel: (530) 752-2470
Dr. Peter Strøm (pcstroem@ucdavis.edu)

NEW! Root Canal Treatment: Evaluating the Outcome

Title: Outcome of orthograde root canal treatment in cats

Purpose of Study: Long-term evaluation of root canal treatments by evaluating the dental x-rays is essential to assess the appropriateness of this treatment modality in cats. In receiving care of a specialized nature such as root canal treatment, patients need and deserve treatment that meets the standard of care and this study will shine a light on the efficacy of such treatment if rendered. Although root canal treatment is commonly performed in dogs and humans with a high success rate, the purpose of this study to evaluate the success rate of root canal treatment in cats, as we believe this treatment is just as appropriate for cats and with a similar high success rate.

Participation Requirements: Cats that have had a root canal treatment performed .

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures: Your cat will receive routine periodontal treatment under general anesthesia as part of the standard of care. While under anesthesia dental radiographs of the teeth of interest will be obtained.

Benefits: The study will cover the dental radiographs pertaining to the teeth of interest and the anesthesia to obtain those radiographs (induction plus the first 15 minutes). However, you will need to pay for any other charges estimated by the DOSS beyond that mentioned above.

We cannot promise any benefits to your cat or other animals from your taking part in this clinical trial; however, possible benefits include appropriate evaluation and treatment of the root canal procedure, along with diagnosis of other current dental or periodontal diseases.

Owner Responsibilities: You will be responsible for bringing your cat to the Dentistry and Oral Surgery Service (DOSS) and cover the costs of anesthesia for procedures related to the routine periodontal treatment (cleaning, extraction etc.), possible medications if needed, housing and recovery fee while at the hospital. You will not pay for dental radiographs necessary to evaluate the teeth of interest to the study, the initial induction fee for anesthesia and the time spend, obtained the dental radiographs, which is no more than 15 min.

Contact: Erica or Megan in the Dentistry and Oral Surgery Service (530-752-2470)

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