Cats

Photo: cat

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. 

Dentistry and Oral Surgery

Chronic Gingivostomatitis: Assessing Stem Cell Therapy in Cats that Have Not Had A Full Mouth Dental Extraction

Title: Fat-derived stem cells for treatment of feline 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. None of the treatments that are currently available are ideal, predictable and without possible complications. In our previous studies in over 20 cats, systemic (intravenous) administration autologous feline stem cells were shown to not only be safe, but, in most cases (about 70%), substantially improved or completely resolved the stomatitis. Therefore, the purpose of this study is use stem cells to treat cats diagnosed with chronic gingivostomatitis that have not had a full mouth extraction.

Contact: Dr. Boaz Arzi, DVM, DAVDC via phone (530-752-2470), fax (530-752-9620), or email (dosclinicaltrials@ucdavis.edu

Participation Requirements: Cats diagnosed with gingivostomatitis that have not had full mouth dental extractions

Initial Evaluation for Participation: The cats will be evaluated by the Dentistry and Oral Surgery Service to assess eligibility to be enrolled in the study.

Procedures and Owner Responsibilities: 

  • Full mouth radiographs, periodontal treatment and extraction of periodontally affected teeth at owner’s expense
  • Blood collection for analysis before the treatment and at the recheck appointments
  • Oral biopsy under general anesthesia performed at the first and last appointment (at 6 months)
  • Surgical collection of fat from the area under the belly for the production of stem cells
  • Administration of the stem cells (or placebo) to your cat systemically two times in 4 weeks interval (each treatment may be under sedation)
  • Hospitalization for 1-3 days after every stem cells administration
  • A small biopsy sample from the healed oral mucosa with your permission at the end of the study

Owner Responsibilities:

  • Bringing your cat to all scheduled appointments
  • Covering costs of full mouth dental radiographs, periodontal treatment, extraction of periodontally affected teeth, general anesthesia, take-home pain medication and any adverse events

Benefits: There is no cost to participate in this trial. If successful, your cat may not need additional treatment. This study may lead to the resolution of clinical signs that can change the quality of life of your cat. If this study will prove to be beneficial, it will have important clinical applications for other cats with the same condition and possibly even human medicine for similar indications.

Printable Flyers (PDF)

Chronic Gingivostomatitis: Assessing Stem Cell Therapy in Cats that Already Had a Full Mouth Dental Extraction

Title: Fat-derived stem cells for treatment of feline 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. None of the treatments that are currently available are ideal, predictable and without possible complications. In our previous studies in over 20 cats, systemic (intravenous) administration autologous feline stem cells were shown to not only be safe, but, in most cases (about 70%), substantially improved or completely resolved the stomatitis. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to treat cats for which all current treatment modalities have failed and have a poor quality of life.

Contact: Dr. Boaz Arzi, DVM, DAVDC via phone (530-752-2470), fax (530-752-9620), or email (dosclinicaltrials@ucdavis.edu

Participation Requirements: Cats diagnosed with gingivostomatitis that have failed to improve with all current treatments and have had full mouth dental extractions

Initial Evaluation for Participation: The cats will be evaluated by the Dentistry and Oral Surgery Service to assess eligibility to be enrolled in the study.

Procedures and Owner Responsibilities: Please contact Boaz Arzi, DVM, DAVDC via phone (530-752-2470), fax (530-752-9620), or email (dosclinicaltrials@ucdavis.edu) for details

Benefits: This study may lead to the resolution of clinical signs that can change the quality of life of your cat. If this study will prove to be beneficial, it will have important clinical applications for other cats with the same condition and possibly even human medicine for similar indications.

Printable Flyers (PDF) - #1#2

Genetics

Myasthenia Gravis in Any Breed

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.

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

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.

Internal Medicine

NEW! Diabetic Remission: Assessing a New Therapy for Maintaining Remission

Title: Exenatide Extended-Release for extending remission time in diabetic cats

Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the benefit of Exenatide-ER for maintaining diabetic cats in remission (in an insulin-independent state).

Contact: Dr. Chen Gilor at cgilor@ucdavis.edu or 530-752-1393 to make an appointment

Participation Requirements: 

  1. Inclusion Criteria: Cats that are in good body condition (i.e., not underweight) and diagnosed as diabetic with a recent onset of remission according to the following criteria:
    • Previous diagnosis of diabetes mellitus based on clinical signs and a high serum fructosamine
    • Treated with insulin (any type) for at least 2 weeks
    • Has not required insulin treatment for at least 4 but no more than to 12 weeks
    • Has no current evidence of diabetes relapse (normal serum fructosamine and no clinical signs such as increased drinking, urination or appetite)
    • Your cat must be routinely fed a diabetic diet (a high protein, low carbohydrate diet such as Hill’s m/d, Purina DM etc.).
  2. Exclusion Criteria: Cats -
    • Recently given (within the last 2 months) oral hypoglycemic agents
    • With significant concurrent disease (any disease that may require exogenous steroid administration, reduce life-expectancy to <12 months or require intensive management, e.g. gastrointestinal, pulmonary, cardiac, hepatic, neoplastic, or renal disorders [CKD IRIS Stage 3 or higher])
    • With overt evidence of peripheral neuropathy (plantigrade stance, inability to jump), acromegaly and/or untreated hyperthyroidism. Cats will not be excluded if have controlled hyperthyroidism or are receiving methimazole and/or ACE-inhibitors.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Blood tests (complete blood count, biochemistry panel, serum fructosamine concentrations T4, spec fPLI and IGF-1) and urinalysis

Procedures: If the exams, tests, and procedures show that your pet can take part in the study, and you choose to enroll them, then the following will happen as part of the study:

  • Randomly placed into one of the two treatment group: Exenatide-ER (Bydureon®) or placebo. After receiving the first injection (of exenatide-ER or placebo) we will schedule your next recheck for the next month (in 27-32 days).
  • At each monthly recheck, a blood sample will be drawn to measure blood glucose levels and if needed, serum fructosamine.

Benefits: The study will pay for one third of the cost of the first office visit as well the full cost of screening tests (including urinalysis and blood tests – CBC, Chemistry, Total T4, spec fPLI and IGF-1) as well as all drug expenses and all follow-up visit expenses. After every recheck exam that you bring your cat in, the study will give you a $35 gift card (for a maximum total of $805).

Participation in this trial may help to increase duration of remission (i.e. increasing the time until diabetes relapses and your cat becomes dependent again on insulin injections), increase numbers and improved function of cells that secrete insulin in the pancreas, and help with weight loss (if your cat is over weight).

Owner Responsibilities: If you wish to have your cat participate in this study, you will be responsible for bringing your cat in to be rechecked once a month until your cat is no longer in remission for up to 24 months.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Feline Upper Respiratory Tract Disease: Understanding the Disease

Title: Efficacy of famciclovir for control of clinical manifestations of feline upper respiratory tract disease

Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the utility of a new technique called quantitative PCR (qPCR), which measures the number of viruses and bacteria in the nose, to identify a role for these organisms in cats diagnosed with feline upper respiratory tract disease. We also aim to evaluate the efficacy of famiclovir in combination with standard therapy with an antibiotic for treatment of upper respiratory tract disease.

Contact: Contact Dr. Lucy Kopecny for details at lkopecny@ucdavis.edu or call (530) 752-1393 to make an appointment

Participation Requirements: Kittens with acute upper respiratory tract disease displaying signs of sneezing, ocular or nasal discharge for less than 3 weeks that have not received prior treatment

Initial Evaluation for Participation: The investigators will determine eligibility for inclusion in the trial following consultation.

Procedures: If you agree to let your cat participate in this study, the following will happen:

  • Prior to treatment – Completion of a survey about your cat’s clinical signs, sample collection from the eyes and mouth using a Q-tip
  • Treatment – Oral administration of an antibiotic (doxycycline) alone or in combination with an antiviral drug (famciclovir) for 3 weeks. During this time, you will be asked to score the severity of your cat’s clinical signs daily
  • 3 weeks post treatment – Completion of a survey about your cat’s clinical signs, sample collection from the eyes and mouth using a Q-tip

Benefits: The study will cover costs associated with the quantitative PCR, medications, and visit costs to obtain samples.

Results from this study may help to identify the most appropriate diagnostic tests to use in this disease process and optimal treatment of affected cats.

Owner Responsibilities: You will be responsible for bringing your cat to all scheduled appointments, completing the surveys and administering medication twice daily during the 3 weeks of treatment.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Fungal Disease: Examining a Treatment

Title: Voriconazole efficacy in cats with fungal disease

Purpose of Study: Voriconazole is a broad spectrum anti-fungal that is the treatment of choice for systemic aspergillosis in people and also used for variety of other fungal diseases. Drug treatment options in cats are limited because of little information of effect of anti-fungal medications on cats. The purpose of this study is to examine the efficacy of voriconazole against serious systemic fungal diseases like aspergillosis, cryptococcosis, sporotrichosis, histopalsmosis and others.

Contact: Contact Dr. Jane Sykes for details at jesykes@ucdavis.edu or (530) 752-1393.

Participation Requirements: Cats with fungal disease that did not respond to existing anti-fungal options (e.g., fluconazole, itraconazole, amphotericin B) or did not tolerate the adverse effects of the above-mentioned medications

Initial Evaluation for Participation: An appointment with the VMTH Internal Medicine service

Procedures: If you agree to let your cat participate in this study, the following will happen:

  • Your cat will be treated with voriconazole by mouth on day 1, and then again every third day.
  • On days 14, 30, 60 and 90 of treatment and then every 60-90 days until exit from study, we will do a physical examination and collect blood to measure voriconazole levels and test liver function.
    • NOTE: If your cat will require dose adjustments, he may need to be seen more frequently for blood sampling and rechecks.
  • We ask that you complete a monthly questionnaire and keep a journal to document any adverse effects that occur during the period of the trial.
  • In the unfortunate event of death, we will request that you will allow us to perform a necropsy of your cat (free of charge).

Benefits: We cannot promise any benefits to your cat or other animals from your taking part in this clinical trial; however, possible benefits include better disease outcome for your cat since voriconazole is a very efficacious and broad spectrum anti-fungal medication. Results from this study could lead to cats worldwide being treated with this medication.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your cat to participate in this study, you will be responsible for filling out a questionnaire once a month, recording all adverse effects in a journal, and keep all scheduled appointments. You will be responsible for covering all aspects of the care for your pet.

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.

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

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.

Variety of Tumors: Assessing Minimally Invasive Tumor Ablation

Title: Thermal ablation of cancer in dogs and cats

Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the outcome of treating veterinary patients with minimally invasive tumor ablation technologies including cryoablation and microwave ablation. These methods are growing in the treatment of a variety of cancers in the human medical field, but information in veterinary patients is currently very limited. To date we have completed a study on cryoablation in nasal tumor patients, and this technique has been very successful in reducing tumor volume in nasal tumor patients – although there are no more spots in the formal nasal tumor study, because of this success, we continue to offer this technique as a clinical service to nasal cancer patients, and are expanding the types of cancer that we are evaluating.

Contact: Call 530-752-1393 and ask to speak to the Soft Tissue Surgery scheduling coordinators to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michele Steffey. The coordinators will likely advise you to send your pet's medical records and imaging results for Dr. Steffey's review. If, based on this information, your pet is deemed an appropriate candidate, an appointment will be scheduled.

Participation Requirements: In order to participate in this study, your pet must have **solitary** malignant soft tissue or bony mass **that is deemed amenable to ablation**. Tumor types that MAY be amenable to this treatment include lung tumors, kidney tumors, adrenal tumors, and bone tumors in certain locations. however determination of eligibility is complex and relates to the size of the lesion as well as proximity to/involvement of other important nearby structures. Tumors that are superficial (involving or near to the skin) or that involve the gastrointestinal tract are not amenable to this treatment.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Evaluation by the V.M.T.H. Small Animal Surgery, Internal Medicine, or Oncology services.

Procedures: If you agree to participate, under general anesthesia, ablation probes will be placed into your pet’s mass under ultrasound guidance and the tumor will be ablated.

Benefits: This treatment method may only be palliative, but it is our hope that in appropriately selected patients, we may improve quality of life as well as longevity.

Owner Responsibilities: The study will cover the cost of the ablation probes and generator. Costs of pre-operative workup, general anesthesia, recommended imaging, hospitalization, and general management of the disease process or any complications that occur during treatment are your responsibility.

Neurology and 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.

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

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.

Oncology

Lymphoma: Understanding How the Body Processes a Chemotherapy Drug

Title: Pharmacokinetics of Oral Chlorambucil in Cancer-Bearing Cats

Purpose of Study: Small cell GI lymphoma is commonly diagnosed in older cats and recommended treatment of this cancer is an oral chemotherapy drug called chlorambucil in combination with prednisolone or prednisone. Despite the wide use of chlorambucil in cats, the pharmacokinetic parameters (i.e. how the body absorbs, metabolizes and eliminates the drug) have not been previously studied in cats. Knowledge of the pharmacokinetic parameters of chlorambucil in this population of older, cancer-bearing cats is critical to understand why some cats experience side effects with chlorambucil therapy and determine if variability in the metabolism of chlorambucil contributes to treatment failure.

Contact: The Oncology Clinical Trial Coordinators via email (oncologyclinicaltrials@ucdavis.edu) or phone (530-752-0125 or 530-752-9759)

Participation Requirements: Cats diagnosed with small cell (low-grade) gastrointestinal (GI) lymphoma, or another form of small cell lymphoma, and you have elected pursue treatment for this disease with chlorambucil +/- an oral steroid medication

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Prior to entry into the study, your cat must have a confirmed diagnosis of small cell lymphoma.

Procedures:

  • Collection of blood and urine samples followed by assignment into one of four groups to determine the blood sampling schedule for Day 0
  • Fasting the day before Day 0
  • Day 0: Blood collection throughout the day, and chlorambucil administration (may require a night of hospitalization depending on which group your cat is in)
  • Administration of chlorambucil by the owner every other day for 2 weeks
  • Day 14: Recheck examination, and blood sample collection

Benefits: All costs associated with the study, including the blood work and urinalysis required for eligibility and the first 2 weeks of chlorambucil chemotherapy will be paid by the clinical trial. If your cat experiences side effects from the chlorambucil or study procedures while enrolled in this clinical trial, the study will cover up to $500 to treat/manage these side effects as long as the treatment occurs at UC Davis.

While not all small cell lymphomas respond to treatment with chlorambucil and steroids, the majority of them do and your cat’s cancer may go into remission with long term administration of these medications. Your cat is unlikely to experience a remission of its cancer during the 2 week clinical trials period, however, it may experience an improvement in any of the clinical signs (symptoms) that lead to the diagnosis of small cell lymphoma.

Owner Responsibilities: We expect that participation in this clinical trial will last for two weeks. You must be able to be here by 8 am on the first day of the clinical trial. Once enrolled in the clinical trial, you are responsible for scheduling and keeping all appointments needed for study participation, administering an oral chemotherapy pill to your cat every other day and reporting any possible side effects of the drug to your doctor in a timely manner. You will also be responsible for covering Chlorambucil prescriptions if needed after the 14-day study period.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

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.

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

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

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Cats with a confirmed diagnosis of oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma,

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.

Variety of Tumors: Assessing Minimally Invasive Tumor Ablation

Title: Thermal ablation of cancer in dogs and cats

Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the outcome of treating veterinary patients with minimally invasive tumor ablation technologies including cryoablation and microwave ablation. These methods are growing in the treatment of a variety of cancers in the human medical field, but information in veterinary patients is currently very limited. To date we have completed a study on cryoablation in nasal tumor patients, and this technique has been very successful in reducing tumor volume in nasal tumor patients – although there are no more spots in the formal nasal tumor study, because of this success, we continue to offer this technique as a clinical service to nasal cancer patients, and are expanding the types of cancer that we are evaluating.

Contact: Call 530-752-1393 and ask to speak to the Soft Tissue Surgery scheduling coordinators to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michele Steffey. The coordinators will likely advise you to send your pet's medical records and imaging results for Dr. Steffey's review. If, based on this information, your pet is deemed an appropriate candidate, an appointment will be scheduled.

Participation Requirements: In order to participate in this study, your pet must have **solitary** malignant soft tissue or bony mass **that is deemed amenable to ablation**. Tumor types that MAY be amenable to this treatment include lung tumors, kidney tumors, adrenal tumors, and bone tumors in certain locations. however determination of eligibility is complex and relates to the size of the lesion as well as proximity to/involvement of other important nearby structures. Tumors that are superficial (involving or near to the skin) or that involve the gastrointestinal tract are not amenable to this treatment.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Evaluation by the V.M.T.H. Small Animal Surgery, Internal Medicine, or Oncology services.

Procedures: If you agree to participate, under general anesthesia, ablation probes will be placed into your pet’s mass under ultrasound guidance and the tumor will be ablated.

Benefits: This treatment method may only be palliative, but it is our hope that in appropriately selected patients, we may improve quality of life as well as longevity.

Owner Responsibilities: The study will cover the cost of the ablation probes and generator. Costs of pre-operative workup, general anesthesia, recommended imaging, hospitalization, and general management of the disease process or any complications that occur during treatment are your responsibility.

Variety of Tumors and Diseases: Improving operative detection of tumors

Title: Fluorescent imaging of cancer

Purpose of Study: Near-infrared fluorescent imaging utilizes special wavelengths of light to identify important structures, and is used in surgery to improve surgical decision making. The fluorescent light is generated by a special contrast agent (a “fluorophore”) that is injected into the patient. When a special light source is used to illuminate the surgical site, any tissue in which this fluorophore is located will glow, aiding the surgeon in identifying the location or extent of disease. Based on early experiments in rodents and human clinical trials, this very sensitive tool has the potential to improve surgical decision-making and improve overall treatment for a wide variety of diseases. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of this imaging modality in veterinary patients presenting with naturally occurring neuroendocrine tumors disease processes.

Contact: Call 530-752-1393 and ask to speak to the Soft Tissue Surgery scheduling coordinators to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michele Steffey.

Participation Requirements: Cats with the following conditions are most likely to benefit from this study: hyperparathyroidism, thyroid cancer, pancreatic cancer, adrenal cancer, thymoma, mammary (breast) cancer, lung cancer, anal sac gland cancer, oral cancer, mast cell tumor. Cats with severe kidney or liver disease are not eligible to participate.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Evaluation by the V.M.T.H. Small Animal Surgery, Internal Medicine, or Oncology services.

Procedures: If you agree to participate, the best fluorophore for your pet’s tumor will be administered or intravenously, at a dose and timing considered to be optimal by your attending veterinarian.

Benefits: It is hoped, but is not known if there will be a specific benefit to your individual pet. Fluorescent imaging may or may not improve operative localization and dissection of your pet’s tumor.

Owner Responsibilities: Costs of standard pre-operative workup, general anesthesia, recommended imaging, hospitalization, and general management of your pet’s disease process or any complications that occur during treatment are your responsibility. The cost of the fluorophore and special imaging is covered by the study. There are no risks associated with the imaging itself, as it only involves light; there is no radiation exposure to the patient. The fluorophores used in this study are FDA-approved for use in humans and have been used without complication in our hospital for the past 18 months. The primary risk of this procedure is associated with injection of these drugs is an allergic reaction, which is very rare, but unpredictable in an individual patient (like any other drug reaction, including antibiotics). If an allergic reaction should occur, immediate costs of treatment (immediate supportive medications, support of blood pressure) will be covered by the study; however, the owner will be responsible for any treatment costs for prolonged or severe complications.

Ophthalmology

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.

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

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.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Soft Tissue Surgery

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.

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

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.

Variety of Tumors: Assessing Minimally Invasive Tumor Ablation

Title: Thermal ablation of cancer in dogs and cats

Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the outcome of treating veterinary patients with minimally invasive tumor ablation technologies including cryoablation and microwave ablation. These methods are growing in the treatment of a variety of cancers in the human medical field, but information in veterinary patients is currently very limited. To date we have completed a study on cryoablation in nasal tumor patients, and this technique has been very successful in reducing tumor volume in nasal tumor patients – although there are no more spots in the formal nasal tumor study, because of this success, we continue to offer this technique as a clinical service to nasal cancer patients, and are expanding the types of cancer that we are evaluating.

Contact: Call 530-752-1393 and ask to speak to the Soft Tissue Surgery scheduling coordinators to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michele Steffey. The coordinators will likely advise you to send your pet's medical records and imaging results for Dr. Steffey's review. If, based on this information, your pet is deemed an appropriate candidate, an appointment will be scheduled.

Participation Requirements: In order to participate in this study, your pet must have **solitary** malignant soft tissue or bony mass **that is deemed amenable to ablation**. Tumor types that MAY be amenable to this treatment include lung tumors, kidney tumors, adrenal tumors, and bone tumors in certain locations. however determination of eligibility is complex and relates to the size of the lesion as well as proximity to/involvement of other important nearby structures. Tumors that are superficial (involving or near to the skin) or that involve the gastrointestinal tract are not amenable to this treatment.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Evaluation by the V.M.T.H. Small Animal Surgery, Internal Medicine, or Oncology services.

Procedures: If you agree to participate, under general anesthesia, ablation probes will be placed into your pet’s mass under ultrasound guidance and the tumor will be ablated.

Benefits: This treatment method may only be palliative, but it is our hope that in appropriately selected patients, we may improve quality of life as well as longevity.

Owner Responsibilities: The study will cover the cost of the ablation probes and generator. Costs of pre-operative workup, general anesthesia, recommended imaging, hospitalization, and general management of the disease process or any complications that occur during treatment are your responsibility.

Variety of Tumors and Diseases: Improving Operative Detection of Tumors

Title: Fluorescent imaging of cancer

Purpose of Study: Near-infrared fluorescent imaging utilizes special wavelengths of light to identify important structures, and is used in surgery to improve surgical decision making. The fluorescent light is generated by a special contrast agent (a “fluorophore”) that is injected into the patient. When a special light source is used to illuminate the surgical site, any tissue in which this fluorophore is located will glow, aiding the surgeon in identifying the location or extent of disease. Based on early experiments in rodents and human clinical trials, this very sensitive tool has the potential to improve surgical decision-making and improve overall treatment for a wide variety of diseases. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of this imaging modality in veterinary patients presenting with naturally occurring neuroendocrine tumors disease processes.

Contact: Call 530-752-1393 and ask to speak to the Soft Tissue Surgery scheduling coordinators to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michele Steffey.

Participation Requirements: Cats with the following conditions are most likely to benefit from this study: hyperparathyroidism, thyroid cancer, pancreatic cancer, adrenal cancer, thymoma, mammary (breast) cancer, lung cancer, anal sac gland cancer, oral cancer, mast cell tumor. Cats with severe kidney or liver disease are not eligible to participate.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Evaluation by the V.M.T.H. Small Animal Surgery, Internal Medicine, or Oncology services.

Procedures: If you agree to participate, the best fluorophore for your pet’s tumor will be administered or intravenously, at a dose and timing considered to be optimal by your attending veterinarian.

Benefits: It is hoped, but is not known if there will be a specific benefit to your individual pet. Fluorescent imaging may or may not improve operative localization and dissection of your pet’s tumor.

Owner Responsibilities: Costs of standard pre-operative workup, general anesthesia, recommended imaging, hospitalization, and general management of your pet’s disease process or any complications that occur during treatment are your responsibility. The cost of the fluorophore and special imaging is covered by the study. There are no risks associated with the imaging itself, as it only involves light; there is no radiation exposure to the patient. The fluorophores used in this study are FDA-approved for use in humans and have been used without complication in our hospital for the past 18 months. The primary risk of this procedure is associated with injection of these drugs is an allergic reaction, which is very rare, but unpredictable in an individual patient (like any other drug reaction, including antibiotics). If an allergic reaction should occur, immediate costs of treatment (immediate supportive medications, support of blood pressure) will be covered by the study; however, the owner will be responsible for any treatment costs for prolonged or severe complications.

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