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 (#1): Examining a New Pain Relief Medication

Title: Analgesic evaluation of tramadol 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 receive 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:

  • Tramadol will be given orally at four different doses (0 mg/kg or placebo, 1 mg/kg, 2 mg/kg and 4 mg/kg) twice per day during five consecutive days per dose to senior cats (10 years old or older). Each cat will receive all doses in random order with a space of two days between each dose.
  • 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: Owners 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).  Additionally, cats will be excluded if they miss more than one tramadol dose per week. 

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

Printable Flyer

Osteoarthritis (#2): 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 (agclintrials@gmail.com; please add "cat gaba pain study" in the subject line)

Printable Flyer

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)
Bone, kidney, head/neck, and adrenal gland cancer: Using Cryoablation at the VMTH

Title: Tumor Cryoablation at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital

Purpose of Study: The diagnostic and treatment options available in veterinary medicine are advancing rapidly, and we now have the opportunity to perform many of the high-level techniques that are commonly performed in human medicine. A procedure that has gained acceptance in human medicine but is currently developing in veterinary medicine is cryoablation. Cryoablation involves killing cancerous tissue by freezing. In humans it is used most commonly for the treatment of prostatic cancer and kidney cancer, although it has also been used for the treatment of bone cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, and other soft tissue cancers.

Unlike peripheral cryoablation, which usually involves applying liquid nitrogen to a skin lesion, when performing percutaneous cryoablation large needles are placed into the affected tissue to administer the freeze – this is done either under direct visualization (surgery) or through tiny skin incisions but under the guidance of an imaging device (most commonly CT or ultrasound), allowing treatment of deep internal lesions. This procedure has been rarely reported in veterinary medicine but is offered by the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.

Participation Requirements: To be discussed on a case-by-case basis with Dr. Steffey

Initial Evaluation for Participation: To be discussed on a case-by-case basis with Dr. Steffey

Procedures: At a minimum, a small incision or incisions may be required under general anesthesia. Depending on the tumor location, open surgery or minimally invasive surgery for visualization/retraction of other organs may be needed. The treated tissue will die and be “cleaned up” by the body’s immune system. If discomfort following the surgery occurs, pain management will be provided. Your cat will need to be monitored closely post-cryoablation.

Benefits: If the procedure is unable to be performed, the costs of anesthesia and equipment will still need to be considered.

Owner Responsibilities: None.

Contact: Call the scheduling coordinators in Soft Tissue Surgery (530) 752-1393 for Dr. Steffey's study.

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)

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.

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

If you cannot find what you are looking for, please contact Chrissy Kinkade at (530) 752-5366 or vetclintrials@ucdavis.edu.