Dogs

Below, please find links to all of the clinical trials currently accepting canine 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.

If you have any questions, please contact the individual outlined at the end of each trial summary.

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

Title: MHC Haplotyping of dogs 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 dogs, it may allow us to identify dogs at risk before the development of disease, and it may allow us to develop new treatments. The purpose of this study is to determine if dogs with acquired myasthenia gravis have a similar genes (MHC haplotype). We will use DNA collected from blood cells to do the genetic analysis. The genetic analysis will be done in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

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

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures: The only procedure involved a DNA analysis of a blood sample submitted by the owner (at least 5 mls) in 1-2 EDTA tubes.

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

Owner Responsibilities: The owner only needs to send in a blood sample that has been collected in 1-2 tubes of EDTA by over-night FedEx, Monday to Thursday.

Contact: Contact Dr. Vernau at (530) 752-1393, (530) 304-9450, or kmvernau@ucdavis.edu

ON HOLD! Spinal Cord Injuries: Finding a Treatment

Title: Transplantation and Tracking of Autologous Epidermal Neural Crest Stem Cells into the Spinal Cord of Dogs with Acute Severe Spinal Cord Injury

Purpose of Study: Dogs that have suffered spinal cord trauma due to a disc herniation are typically treated with decompressive surgery and medication of various kinds. Most dogs do very well with this treatment. However, dogs that have suffered an injury severe enough to cause complete paralysis and loss of feeling to the hind legs often do not recover with conventional treatment. In these dogs, stem cell therapy may improve the ability of the dog to use his/her hind legs and/or to have control of his/her bladder. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine the efficacy of stem cell therapy as a potential treatment for acute severe spinal cord injuries in dogs.

Cancer (Oncology)
Bone cancer (Osteosarcoma): Examining Metastasis Suppressor Drug

Title: Thiomolybdate as a Suppressor of Canine Osteosarcoma Metastasis

Purpose of Study: The purpose of this clinical trial is to evaluate the possibility of using a copper-inhibiting drug (tetrathiomolybdate, TM) to limit the spread of bone cancer (osteosarcoma) to other areas of the body. This medication may ultimately lead to improved treatment outcomes for both dog and human cancer patients.

Participation Requirements: Dogs following amputation of the primary bone tumor

Initial Evaluation of Participation: None.

Procedures:

  • Dogs will receive a standard-of-care treatment (IV Carboplatin every 3 weeks for four treatments) concurrently with either the test compound or a placebo pill. Dogs will be randomized to receive the test compound or placebo in a 1:1 ratio (equal chances of being assigned to either group). The oral treatments will be given 3 times daily, with the morning and evening doses given without food while the mid-day dose will be given with a meal. A blood sample of approximately 1-2 tablespoons will be taken from your dog on a weekly basis for 2-6 weeks and analyzed for levels of copper and a copper-carrying compound. A complete blood count and serum chemistry panel will also be performed to monitor for any potential side effects. Based on the copper levels, we will adjust the drug dose to minimize any side effects, which include anemia and (very rarely) nausea in the early phases of treatment.
    • Nausea is managed by the addition of an anti-vomiting medicine if needed.
    • Anemia is managed by discontinuing the compound until the blood count returns to normal, and then resuming treatment with a lower dose of the compound.
  • After the initial 2-6 week period, your dog will be monitored by monthly physical examinations and blood tests, supplemented by chest X-rays every 3 months to check for tumors in the lung (the most common site of metastasis). Monitoring will continue until metastasis is detected or for 1 year from the start of study. At the end of the study, dogs will have an abdominal ultrasound.
  • Dogs that benefit from the drug (i.e., no evidence of metastasis at 1 year or lung tumors that shrink or are stable) may continue to take the compound after the end of the study for up to 6 additional months. Dogs with cancer that spreads that were assigned to the placebo group can be transferred to the test drug at that time. Such dogs may continue to be monitored for evidence of stabilization or shrinkage of tumors for at least 6 months, unless further tumor growth is detected.

Benefits: While the exact benefits are not entirely known, these procedures may help treat your dog's cancer.

Owner Responsibilities: Partial costs associated with this study will be compensated as part of your participation. The study drug (or placebo), monthly radiographs (including appointment recheck fees), and any necessary additional blood tests are all covered by the study. You will be responsible for all other costs including routine chemotherapy costs, routine blood tests, and any costs associated with treatment of adverse effects. Carboplatin treatments usually cost somewhere between $200-300 per treatment (depending on the size of your dog and whether blood tests are necessary). Therefore, the cost to you for participating in this study is expected to be approximately $1500-$2000 in the absence of side effects.

Contact: The Oncology Clinical Trial Coordinators at oncologyclinicaltrials@ucdavis.edu

Histiocytic Sarcoma: Evaluating a Chemotherapeutic Agent as a Treatment Option

Title: Phase II evaluation of vinblastine for the treatment of canine histiocytic sarcoma

Purpose of Study: Histiocytic sarcoma (HS) is a common and aggressive cancer in dogs that can arise from many sites including the lymph nodes, liver, spleen, lungs, or bone. If left untreated, disease progression is often rapid with a devastatingly high mortality rate. CCNU (Lomustine) is currently the only chemotherapy agent proven to be effective against this cancer; however, responses are often short-lived. In addition, CCNU may cause liver or bone marrow toxicity with continued use and is not tolerated in some patients. Thus, there is a desperate need to identify alternative agents that are effective against this disease. Vinblastine is a commonly used chemotherapeutic agent in dogs and is proven to be relatively safe and effective against other cancers, such as lymphoma and mast cell tumors. The purpose of this study is to determine whether vinblastine may have activity against canine histiocytic sarcoma.

Participation Requirements: Dogs diagnosed with histiocytic sarcoma

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures: Dogs will receive weekly vinblastine chemotherapy (given intravenously) at a standard starting dose with the intent to gradually increase this dose if it is well tolerated. Blood will be drawn before each dose to make sure it is safe to treat your dog that day. After 4 total doses, tumor lesions will be measured and response to vinblastine chemotherapy will be determined using standard criteria. If this measurement requires chest x-rays or ultrasound, those tests will be run at this time. After 4 doses, your dog will be considered “off-study”; however, you may choose to continue treatment with vinblastine if your dog has responded well to treatment.

Benefits: There is a $250 financial incentive meant to help cover the cost of repeat testing necessary to measure response to vinblastine treatment (required after 4 doses) or toward the costs of study treatments. Additionally, participation in this study could help treat your dog’s histiocytic sarcoma and advance veterinary medicine.

Owner Responsibilities: Owners are responsible for pre-enrollment bloodwork (CBC and chemistry screen) to determine eligibility, all costs of vinblastine treatment (drug and administration costs), cost associated with any side effects that may occur, and costs associated with non-study related medical conditions.

Contact: The Oncology Clinical Trial Coordinators at oncologyclinicaltrials@ucdavis.edu

NEW!  Lung Cancer: Improving Radiation Therapy

Title: CT-based Pulmonary Gas Exchange Imaging

Purpose of Study: The overall goal of this project is to develop and investigate a novel functional imaging technique for pulmonary function (gas exchange) based on computed tomography (CT) to increase therapeutic gains of lung cancer radiotherapy. Specifically, to develop a physiologically accurate CT-based gas exchange imaging technique. The long-term goal of the study is (1) to reduce pulmonary toxicity of radiotherapy to healthy lung tissue (2) and make the CT gas exchange imaging available for routine use in radiotherapy. There is no radiotherapy included in this study. It is to gather preliminary data and is funded by the RSNA (Radiological Society of North America).

Participation Requirements: Dogs over 1 year old that have healthy lungs or have (or potentially have) pulmonary metastasis, primary lung tumor or interstitial lung disease

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Dogs must have already have had thoracic radiographs that identify either normal lungs or lung disease.

Procedures: Your dog will receive:

  • CT scan of the lungs under anesthesia, an inhalation and exhalation scan before contrast and an inhalation breathhold scan after contrast
  • An echocardiogram of their heart, which involves an ultrasound to evaluate how your dog’s heart functions
  • A blood sample collection to see how well your dog is oxygenated

Benefits: We will pay for your dog’s CT scan of the lungs, associated anesthesia, and blood work. If there is an unanticipated side effect from the CT scan, we will pay for up to $2,000 in medical costs. Additional costs will be at your expense.

We cannot promise any benefits to your dog or other animals from your taking part in this clinical trial; however, possible benefits include improving how we can irradiate lung tumors for other dogs and perhaps people in the future.

Owner Responsibilities: You will be responsible for coming to your appointment and ensuring that your dog has not eaten food for at least 12 hours prior to the CT scan.

Contact: The Oncology Clinical Trial Coordinators at oncologyclinicaltrials@ucdavis.edu

UPDATED!  Lung Tumors: Identifying Lymph Node Metastasis

Title: Assessment of methods of improving identification of regional lymph nodes in patients with lung cancer

Purpose of Study: Knowing whether or not there is metastatic tumor in the regional lymph nodes is very important prognostic information for dogs with lung tumors, as dogs that do not have metastatic disease in their lymph nodes in general have a much longer lifespan. Chemotherapy is often recommended for patients who have metastatic disease, but is not recommended for dogs who do not have metastatic spread. The aim of this study is to provide information that will allow us to better identify these lymph nodes at surgery, to improve the safety of surgical dissection, and to minimize surgical time during removal of these lymph nodes.

Participation Requirements:

  • A diagnosis of a solitary lung tumor
  • Your decision to pursue surgical removal of your dog’s lung tumor

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Evaluation by the V.M.T.H. Small Animal Surgery, Internal Medicine, or Oncology services. A CT scan at the VMTH is part of the normal expected surgical planning for lung tumor surgery at our institution, and is the financial responsibility of the client, but may be performed under the same anesthetic episode as the planned surgery. Dogs with severe kidney or liver disease are not eligible to participate.

Procedures: During CT and surgery, special dyes will be injected intravenously or into the lung around your dog’s tumor and uptake by the regional lymph nodes will be assessed.

Benefits: Information regarding the status of your dog’s lymph nodes is very important in prognosis for this disease. This technique will help surgeons to identify and more safely remove your dog's lymph nodes at surgery; pathology of the removed lymph node(s) will provide improved information to direct recommendations that we an give you for postoperative care and treatment. If based on the initial CT results you elect to have your dog goes to surgery as part of this study, the study will retroactively pay for the cost of your dog’s CT scan (a $900 value to you).

Owner Responsibilities: There is no anticipated additional cost to you for your dog’s participation in the study. The cost of the dyes and operative imaging are covered by the study. The primary risks of this procedure are 1) allergic reaction to the drugs used to identify the lymph nodes (very rare, but unpredictable in an individual patient (like any other drug reaction, including antibiotics)), and 2) air leakage from the lung at the site of the injection (if it occurs, this should be a short term problem, as removal of the affected lung will be performed as part of the tumor removal). 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. Standard anesthetic and surgical risks of lung surgery and lymph node surgery will apply and will be discussed at the time of your visit.

Contact: Call 530-752-1393 and ask to speak to the Soft Tissue Surgery scheduling coordinators (Gigi, Conni, or Caleb) to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michele Steffey.

Lymphoma or NEW! Soft Tissue Sarcoma: Evaluating Drug Candidates

Title: COTC007b: Preclinical Comparison of Three Indenoisoquinolines Candidates in Tumor-Bearing Dogs

Purpose of Study: This clinical trial, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), assesses the safety and effectiveness of three newly developed chemotherapy agents (indenoisoquinolines) when given to dogs with lymphoma or soft tissue sarcoma. Although this class of compounds has shown efficacy in a variety of cancers, interest in developing new topoisomerase I inhibitors, indenoisoquinolines, are currently being evaluated in human patients as agents with improved drug stability and measurable blood levels. This study will be the first time the indenoisoquinolines are being assessed in dogs with cancer.

Participation Requirements: Dogs with confirmed diagnosis of lymphoma with at least two lymph nodes larger than 3 cm diameter or dogs with a soft tissue sarcoma larger than 3 cm and amenable to biopsy are eligible to participate. Dogs may be newly diagnosed or have previously received treatment. A two-week washout period from previous chemotherapy or radiation therapy is required and dogs must not have received corticosteroids or L-asparaginase seven days prior to entry into the study. Dogs must be feeling well and otherwise good overall health with adequate organ function as determined by recent blood work to participate in this study.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: During the initial consultation, we will complete a physical examination, collect blood and urine samples and perform chest x-rays to confirm eligibility.

Procedures: The trial procedures include the following:

  • Dogs will receive daily intravenous administration of an indenoisoquinoline for 5 consecutive days. This requires placement of a central line catheter into the dog’s neck and serial blood collections to allow for measurements of drug levels within his/her blood. The 24-hour blood collections are linked to the 1st and 5th day of drug dosing.
  • The first week of therapy will require overnight boarding at the VMTH for up to 7 days (6 nights). Prior to enrollment, your attending clinician will determine the required number of nights your dog will need to board at the VMTH.
  • Biopsies of your dogs’ tumor or lymph nodes will be required prior to treatment (Day -1) and then after treatment on the 1st, 2nd and 6th days after treatment begins. Each of these biopsy sessions will occur under anesthesia, either local (sedation with anesthetic) or general.
  • You will need to bring your dog in weekly for re-evaluation and subsequent blood draws (Day 8, 15, 22 and 29). Continuance on study beyond Day 29 will be based on clinical response to indenoisoquinoline therapy. All of these visits are required for inclusion in the study.

Benefits: Clients participating in this study will be given special financial considerations. Once enrolled in the study, all costs associated with this study will be covered. In the event any complications arise during the study period, their management will be covered by study funds up to $2000/per dog/per event. This would include any unanticipated hospitalizations. Once the study has been completed, a $1000 credit will be applied to your dog’s account at the VMTH that can be used for further treatment.

The benefit to your dog associated with this treatment is not known and toxicity is possible; however, possible benefits include future studies in dogs with cancer, as well as humans with cancer, will be in part based on information gained in this trial.

Owner Responsibilities: Owners are responsible for the cost associated with the diagnosis of the pet’s cancer as well as the cost of the initial consultation with the oncology service and blood work and urinalysis to determine eligibility. Owners are expected to make and keep all appointments, according to the clinical trial protocol.

Contact: The Oncology Clinical Trial Coordinators at oncologyclinicaltrials@ucdavis.edu

Lymphoma (B-cell): Improving Prognosis Prediction Methods

Title: Utility of proliferation indices as prognostic markers for diffuse large B cell lymphoma in dogs

Purpose of Study: As is true for human patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, recent data supports the notion that different subtypes of canine lymphoma carry different prognoses, which may warrant different therapies. However, some subtypes of canine lymphoma that look and are classified the same behave differently. Currently, there are few markers available to help predict the outcome in individual dogs diagnosed with common subtypes of lymphoma. The purpose of this study is to:

  • Find markers that will help to better predict prognosis in individual dogs with the most common subtype of lymphoma; and,
  • Determine if these markers can be assessed in fine needle aspirate cytology samples rather than needle-core histopathology samples (the gold standard).

Participation Requirements: Dogs with a confirmed diagnosis of B-cell lymphoma

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

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

To confirm the diagnosis of lymphoma, your dog will undergo lymph node fine needle aspiration and needle biopsy. If the lymph nodes are enlarged, one of the big lymph nodes in the hind leg (popliteal) or near the shoulder (prescapular) will be sampled. If possible, the same lymph node will be used for the needle biopsy. If not, one of the other lymph nodes in the hind leg (popliteal) or near the shoulder (prescapular) will be needle biopsied. As is standard of care for this procedure, a single suture may be placed or it may be left open (the decision will be at the discretion of the clinician).

Benefits: The costs associated with the biopsy will be covered by the study as well as any pain medications and antibiotics (if required). Suture removal will also be covered, but only if it is performed here at UCD.

We will provide you the results of your pet’s biopsy; however, there will be no direct therapeutic benefit to you or your dog for taking part in this trial. We are hoping that the knowledge gained will help us to better understand, manage and treat the most common subtype of this disease. Results from this study will ultimately help pet owners in the future be better informed about what to expect when their dog is diagnosed with lymphoma, and help veterinarians better recommend specific chemotherapy drugs for each particular dog.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will be responsible for reporting any (unlikely) complications from the procedure and to have the suture, if placed, removed in 7-14 days.

Contact: The Oncology Clinical Trial Coordinators at oncologyclinicaltrials@ucdavis.edu

Lymphoma (T-cell): Finding a Treatment

Title: Lomustine and AT-005 for canine T cell lymphoma

Purpose of Study: We are currently enrolling cases in a nationwide clinical trial to evaluate a monoclonal antibody (AT-005) that is conditionally licensed by the USDA to aid in the treatment of dogs with lymphoma. The study is designed to assess the benefit of adding AT-005 to a single-agent CCNU chemotherapy protocol for dogs with intermediate to high-grade T-cell lymphoma.

Participation Requirements: Dogs diagnosed with lymphoma that are naïve to treatment

Initial Evaluation for Participation: A diagnosis of T-cell lymphoma is required.

Procedures:

  • Confirmation that your dog has T-cell, non-indolent lymphoma
  • Prednisone, lomustine (chemotherapy), an antibiotic and a liver protectant will be prescribed. You will administer these medications at home for 2 cycles three weeks apart.
  • Three weeks after the second cycle, we will assess your dog’s remission status.
    • If the lymphoma has not improved, your dog will be removed from the study. The study will pay for up to $1200 to be used for further treatment of your dogs lymphoma at UC Davis.
    • If the lymphoma improves to a study-designated threshold, your dog will be randomized to receive either a monoclonal antibody OR a placebo control. Infusions will be given 2 times per week for 4 weeks and then every other week for 4 treatments. After the end of infusions, the dog will return monthly for assessments of remission status until relapse OR until 12 months have passed.
    • Fine needle aspirates of one lymph node will be obtained periodically throughout the study.

Benefits:

  • The study will cover all study-related costs, including the initial lymph node biopsy and flow cytometry analysis, and when comfirmed eligible, chemotherapy, antibody or placebo administration, exams, bloodwork and all other required diagnostics. Additionally, the study will cover up to $1200 for medical management of any trial-related side effects that may occur.
  • Your dog will receive lomustine chemotherapy that is proven effective in a portion of dogs with lymphoma. There is a 50:50 chance that your dog will receive the antibody with the hope of improving the duration of benefit provided by lomustine.

Owner Responsibilities:

  • Financial – Initial consultation, bloodwork/urinalysis, and thoracic radiographs
  • Logistics – Bringing your dog in for all scheduled treatments and follow-ups

Contact: The Oncology Clinical Trial Coordinators at oncologyclinicaltrials@ucdavis.edu

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Malignant Melanoma (Oral): Tumor Collection

Title: Pfizer-CCOGC Biospecimen Repository study

Purpose of Study: UC Davis in collaboration with Pfizer-CCOGC Biospecimen Repository is collecting samples to populate a tissue bank for future research studies. The goal of the CCOGC and UC Davis will be to populate the Pfizer-CCOGC Biospecimen Repository with diseased tissues and specific normal tissues from dogs with cancer over the next three years. The study is guided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Participation Requirements:

  • Owner consent to allow collection of the clinical specimens and to comply with follow-up and treatment requirements
  • General clinical evaluation, including medical history, physical exam, complete blood count, biochemical profile, and urinalysis
  • Histological diagnosis
  • Complete staging evaluation, to include cytology or histology of submandibular lymph nodes, thoracic radiographs
  • Histology of primary site

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

Procedures: After receiving consent from owners, a sample of the tumor is banked following the CCOGC criteria.

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 the visit.

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

Mast Cell Tumors: Assessing a Potential Treatment

Title: Phase 3 study to compare the efficacy of Masitinib to placebo in the treatment of grade II or III non-resectable mast cell tumors in dogs

Purpose of Study: Surgical removal is generally recommended as the first step in treatment of mast cell tumors; however, sometimes surgery is not possible due to the size or location of the tumor or due to financial limitations. In that situation, treatment with steroids, chemotherapy or targeted therapies such as Masitinib may be beneficial in controlling the disease. Preliminary studies of Masitinib in dogs showed that it caused tumor shrinkage in 50% of dogs with mast cell tumors and increased 1- and 2-year survival rates in dogs with nonresectable mast cell tumors compared to placebo. Based on this data, Masitinib has conditional approval by the FDA for treatment of non-resectable grade 2 or 3 mast cell tumors in dogs. The objective of the study is to evaluate the anti-cancer effects of Masitinib in comparison to a placebo in dogs with grade 2 or 3 mast cell tumors that have not been previously removed or treated with chemotherapy or radiation. If this study confirms these results, the drug will become fully approved.

Participation Requirements

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Contact Teri Guerrero.

Procedures: If your dog is enrolled, a small biopsy will be taken from the mast cell tumor to confirm grade and for additional testing. Your dog will then be randomly assigned to receive treatment with either Masitinib or a placebo with two-thirds of the dogs receiving Masitinib and one-third receiving placebo. You will not know whether you are giving the study drug or the placebo (even after you dog has completed the study). Your pet will come in every other week for examination, tumor measurement, blood work and imaging tests (x-rays and/or ultrasound) to check for cancer progression and/or side effects from the drug. No more than 1 tablespoon of blood will be drawn per visit. More invasive testing (fine needle aspiration) will only occur if your veterinarian is concerned about spread of the cancer or to monitor spread to a lymph node that has already occurred. Your dog cannot receive steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs during the study period, but can receive medications to treat nausea, diarrhea, infection, itchiness, and pain if needed.

Benefits: You are responsible for the initial consult visit fee at UCDavis. If you and your dog meet the inclusion/exclusion criteria, staging will be covered by study (Blood work, Biopsy, Bone Marrow Aspirates, Radiographs, Ultrasound) regardless if your dog qualifies.

Although not all tumors will respond to Masitinib, it is possible that the drug may help control your dog’s mast cell tumor. The information gathered from this study may help other dogs with mast cell tumors in the future by determining whether Masitinib is an effective treatment for non-resectable grade 2 or 3 mast cell tumors.

Owner Responsibilities: If you elect to participate in this study, you will be responsible for scheduling and keeping appointments every two weeks. If you have to miss an appointment, please try to reschedule as soon as possible by calling 530-752-1393 (press 3,3 to reach the Oncology Schedule Coordinator). You will also be responsible for giving your dog the study medication as directed every day and for reporting any side effects of the drug to your doctor in a timely manner.

Contact: The Oncology Clinical Trial Coordinators at oncologyclinicaltrials@ucdavis.edu

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Nasal cancer: Comparing Imaging Techniques and Assessing Vascular Therapies

Title: Nasal Tumors: Comparison of CT and MRI Findings in the Characterization of Canine Sinonasal Neoplasia and Assessment of Outcome with Vascular-Based Therapies (Embolization/Chemoembolization)

Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study is to prospectively evaluate dogs diagnosed with nasal tumors, including documentation of signalment, histologic diagnosis, treatment, and the results of a CT scan as compared to an MRI scan. We will also assess response to vascular-based therapies, such as embolization and chemoembolization.

Participation Requirements: Dogs with diagnosed nasal tumors

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

Procedures: If a CT scan is recommended to further characterize the dog’s suspected nasal tumor, an MRI scan will be performed immediately following the CT scan. The MRI scan will be performed under the same general anesthetic event as the CT scan. Additionally, options concerning vascular-based therapies (embolization and chemoembolization) will be discussed and offered.

Benefits: The MRI scan and the anesthesia associated with the MRI scan will be paid for by the study. The MRI scan will offer another imaging modality that your clinician can use to make therapeutic recommendations. 

Owner Responsibilities: The owner will be responsible for scheduling appointments (initial and 2-month follow-up) and keeping those appointments as required by protocol. Financial assistance for some treatments will also be discussed upon consent.

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

Nasal cancer: Using a Combination of Therapies for Treatment

Title: Nasal tumors: Intra-arterial Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy to Treat Nasal Carcinoma

Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study is to prospectively evaluate the response of nasal cancer to a combination of therapies (chemotherapy and radiation therapy) in dogs.

Participation Requirements: Dogs diagnosed with nasal tumors

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

Procedures: Dogs that are scheduled to receive radiation therapy for the treatment of nasal cancer can be enrolled in the study. Dogs will be placed into a group receiving radiation therapy alone or with chemotherapy.  Response to these treatments will be assessed with CT scans (done before and after treatment).

Benefits: The CT scans, chemotherapy administration, and part of the radiation therapy will be paid for by the study.

Owner Responsibilities: The owner will be responsible for providing follow-up information to the treating clinicians and returning the dog 4 weeks after initiation of radiation therapy for a second CT evaluation (the first is performed prior to treatment).

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

Primary Pulmonary Tumor: Tumor Collection

Title: Pfizer-CCOGC Biospecimen Repository study

Purpose of Study: UC Davis in collaboration with Pfizer-CCOGC Biospecimen Repository is collecting samples to populate a tissue bank for future research studies. The goal of the CCOGC and UC Davis will be to populate the Pfizer-CCOGC Biospecimen Repository with diseased tissues and specific normal tissues from dogs with cancer over the next three years. The study is guided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Participation Requirements:

  • Owner consent to allow collection of the clinical specimens and to comply with follow-up and treatment requirements
  • General clinical evaluation, including the medical history, physical exam, complete blood count, biochemical profile, and urinalysis
  • Clinical presentation consistent with pulmonary tumor (Histological diagnosis confirmed post collection).
  • Surgical excision or collection immediately following euthanasia

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

Procedures: After receiving consent from owners, a sample of the tumor is banked following the CCOGC criteria.

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 the visit.

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

Prostate cancer: Evaluating Embolization as a Treatment Option

Title: Evaluation of the Use of Embolization in the Treatment of Prostatic Neoplasia

Purpose of Study: The purpose of this project is to describe the procedure of prostatic artery embolization in a group of dogs with naturally-occurring prostate cancer. A secondary objective is to evaluate the effect that prostatic artery embolization has on clinical signs and the size of the tumor.

Participation Requirements: Dogs with prostate cancer

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

Procedures: Dogs will undergo prostatic artery embolization. Pre-procedural ultrasound imaging and computed tomographic findings will be compared to post-procedural ultrasound imaging and computed tomographic findings. Complications associated with the procedure will be recorded and owners will receive a questionnaire to assess the clinical signs of the dog both pre- and post-procedure.

Benefits: The benefits of enrolling in this study include financial support for both pre- and post-procedure diagnostics. Additionally, funding from this grant will be applied towards the procedure. We hope that the data acquired in this study will allow us to advance the treatment of cancer in both dogs and people.

Owner Responsibilities: The owner will be responsible for scheduling appointments (initial and 1 month follow-up) and keeping those appointments as required by protocol.

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

Prostate, Urethra and/or Bladder Tumors: Evaluating Urodynamic Testing

Title: Prospective Evaluation of Urodynamic Testing in Dogs Undergoing Urethral Stent Placement to Relieve Malignant Urethral Obstruction

Purpose of Study: The purpose of this project is to determine the urethral and bladder pressures of dogs with cancer-induced urethral obstructions and in dogs with urethral stents.

Participation Requirements: Dogs with tumors causing obstruction of the urethra (bladder, urethra and prostate)

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

Procedures: Urodynamic studies will be performed at the time of stent placement. Following the urodynamic studies, a urethral stent will be placed. At 3 weeks post-stent placement, canine continence scores will be obtained from clients regarding the dog’s voiding habits and urodynamic studies will be performed again.

Benefits: The goal of placing the stent is to improve the dog’s quality of life. All anesthetic episodes (2) will be paid for by the study. Additionally, all charges associated with the bladder and urethral pressure assessment will be paid for by the study. There are 2 major study benefits:

  1. We will be able to inform clients of the pressures in their dog’s bladder and urethra and discuss the possible implications of this; and,
  2. Financial compensation.

Owner Responsibilities: The owner will be responsible for scheduling appointments (initial and 3 weeks after stent placement) and keeping those appointments as required by protocol. Additionally, the owner will need to fill out forms related to their dog’s continence status.

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

Urethra/Bladder Tumors: Determining Tumor Size with Imaging

Title: Bladder/Urethra Tumors: Assessment and Comparison of Lower Urinary Tract Neoplasia Size and Location with Multiple Imaging Modalities

Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study is to prospectively evaluate dogs with bladder and urethral tumors and assess the best means for determining tumor size. The overarching goal is to improve our ability to treat these tumors with urethral stenting.

Participation Requirements: Dogs with bladder or urethral tumors

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

Procedures: Dogs that are undergoing urethral stenting will undergo trans-rectal ultrasound (in addition to abdominal ultrasound) and MRI evaluation of the bladder/urethral tumor in order to determine tumor size and location.

Benefits: The MRI scan, the trans-rectal ultrasound and the anesthesia associated with these diagnostics will be paid for by the study. The MRI scan and trans-rectal ultrasound will offer additional imaging modalities that your clinician can use to make therapeutic recommendations.

Owner Responsibilities: The owner will be responsible for providing follow-up information to the treating clinicians.

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

NEW! 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.

Participation Requirements: In order to participate in this study, your pet must have a malignant soft tissue or bony mass. Tumor types that are likely to be amenable to this treatment include: lung tumors, liver tumors, kidney tumors, adrenal tumors, bone tumors, metastatic lymph nodes. 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: In return for participation in this study, your dog will receive free follow-up imaging at 1 month post-treatment (type of imaging dependent on location and type of tumor).

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.

Contact: Call 530-752-1393 and ask to speak to the Soft Tissue Surgery scheduling coordinators (Gigi, Conni, or Caleb) to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michele Steffey

NEW! Variety of Tumors: Sentinel Lymph Node Mapping

Title: Identification of sentinel lymph nodes with intraoperative fluorescence

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 natural disease processes.

Participation Requirements: Dogs scheduled for surgery to treat their primary tumor, and for whom clients are interested in improving their pet’s staging information by lymph node biopsy. Dogs most likely to benefit from this technique include those with primary lung tumors, mast cell tumors, oral cancers, and carcinomas in general, as these are types of tumors that tend to exhibit spread by the lymphatic system. Tumors may be external (skin associated) or internal. Dogs with severe kidney or liver disease are not eligible to participate.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Evaluation by Dr. Michele Steffey on the Soft Tissue Surgery Service.

Procedures: The best fluorophore for your pet’s tumor will be administered either subcutaneously or intravenously, at a dose and timing considered to be optimal by your attending veterinarian.

Benefits: Preliminary, not yet published results have demonstrated that the fluorescent imaging is very helpful in locating the important lymph nodes at surgery, which often reduces the amount of dissection needed, and may reduce the amount of time under anesthesia. The purpose of this study is to aid in identifying lymph nodes for improved staging (lymph node biopsy) at the time your pet’s primary tumor is removed. It is hoped, but is not known, if there will be a specific benefit to your individual pet. Depending upon your pet’s specific tumor type and the biopsy results, use of this technique and lymph node biopsy may or may not impact the postoperative treatment recommendations provided to your dog.

Owner Responsibilities: 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.

Contact: Call 530-752-1393 and ask to speak to the Soft Tissue Surgery scheduling coordinators (Gigi, Conni, or Caleb) to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michele Steffey.

NEW! 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.

Participation Requirements: Dogs 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. Dogs 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.

Contact: Call 530-752-1393 and ask to speak to the Soft Tissue Surgery scheduling coordinators (Gigi, Conni, or Caleb) to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michele Steffey.

Eyes (Ophthalmology)
Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy: Understanding the Disease in Boston Terriers

Title: Phenotype and Genotype of Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy in Boston Terriers

Purpose of Study: Corneal endothelial dystrophy (CED) is a devastating disease in dogs that can result in blindness and severe ocular pain from secondary complications. The endothelial cells comprise the most inner aspect of the cornea and are responsible for maintaining a proper fluid balance. This function is critical to ensuring that the cornea remains transparent for vision. In many animals, including dogs, corneal endothelial cells have a very limited capacity to regenerate following injury. In canine patients with CED, the endothelial cells degenerate until the cells still remaining can no longer function properly. This results in swelling of the cornea (edema) which results in decreased vision as well as formation of small fluid-filled blisters (bullae) on the cornea which can rupture and cause ocular discomfort. There are palliative treatments such as hypertonic saline to decrease corneal bullae formation but the only definitive treatment for this condition is a corneal transplant (penetrating keratoplasty). Unfortunately, corneal transplants are rarely performed in canine patients with CED due to the expense of the surgery and follow-up care, relatively high risk of complications, and lack of appropriate donor tissue.

Several dog breeds, including Boston Terriers, are seen more commonly for CED in comparison to other breeds. This observation suggests that this disease may have a genetic component. A similar condition called Fuch’s endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) exists in humans and several genes associated with FECD have been identified. We propose to identify the region of the dog genome associated with CED in the Boston Terrier. In order to do this, we will perform thorough eye examinations and use non-invasive advanced imaging techniques to examine Boston Terriers with CED and age-matched control dogs. We will collect blood from these dogs to obtain DNA. The entire canine genome will be evaluated for an association with CED. This work will be used to identify the gene(s) responsible for this condition in Boston Terriers. The ultimate goal will be to develop a genetic test for CED in Boston Terriers and possibly other breeds, such as Chihuahuas, Dachshunds, and German Short Haired Pointers with an increased risk of CED.

Participation Requirements:

  • Boston Terriers with Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy
  • Healthy Boston Terriers (>7 years of age)

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Dogs must receive a diagnosis by a veterinary ophthalmologist for corneal endothelial dystrophy.

Procedures:

  • Ophthalmic examination
  • Noninvasive advanced corneal imaging with confocal microscopy and spectral domain-optical coherence tomography

NOTE: Sedation is required for these procedures.

Benefits: Benefits include an ophthalmic examination at no cost with thorough characterization of disease to aid in monitoring for progression.

Owner Responsibilities: No ophthalmic medications can be administered 48 h prior to examination. Food cannot be given in the morning in preparation for sedation.

Contact: Dr. Sara Thomasy (smthomasy@ucdavis.edu or (530) 752-1770)

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Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy: Understanding the Disease in German Shorthaired Pointers

Title: Phenotype and Genotype of Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy in German Shorthaired Pointers

Purpose of Study: Corneal endothelial dystrophy (CED) is a devastating disease in dogs that can result in blindness and severe ocular pain from secondary complications. The endothelial cells comprise the most inner aspect of the cornea and are responsible for maintaining a proper fluid balance. This function is critical to ensuring that the cornea remains transparent for vision. In many animals, including dogs, corneal endothelial cells have a very limited capacity to regenerate following injury. In canine patients with CED, the endothelial cells degenerate until the cells still remaining can no longer function properly. This results in swelling of the cornea (edema) which results in decreased vision as well as formation of small fluid-filled blisters (bullae) on the cornea which can rupture and cause ocular discomfort. There are palliative treatments such as hypertonic saline to decrease corneal bullae formation but the only definitive treatment for this condition is a corneal transplant (penetrating keratoplasty). Unfortunately, corneal transplants are rarely performed in canine patients with CED due to the expense of the surgery and follow-up care, relatively high risk of complications, and lack of appropriate donor tissue.

Several dog breeds, including German Shorthaired Pointers, are seen more commonly for CED in comparison to other breeds. This observation suggests that this disease may have a genetic component. A similar condition called Fuch’s endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) exists in humans and several genes associated with FECD have been identified. We propose to identify the region of the dog genome associated with CED in the German Shorthaired Pointer. In order to do this, we will perform thorough eye examinations and use non-invasive advanced imaging techniques to examine German Shorthaired Pointers with CED and age-matched control dogs. We will collect blood from these dogs to obtain DNA. The entire canine genome will be evaluated for an association with CED. This work will be used to identify the gene(s) responsible for this condition in German Shorthaired Pointers. The ultimate goal will be to develop a genetic test for CED in German Shorthaired Pointers and possibly other breeds, such as Chihuahuas, Dachshunds, and Boston Terriers with an increased risk of CED.

Participation Requirements:

  • German Shorthaired Pointers with Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy
  • Healthy German Shorthaired Pointers (>7 years of age)

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Dogs must receive a diagnosis by a veterinary ophthalmologist for corneal endothelial dystrophy.

Procedures:

  • Ophthalmic examination
  • Noninvasive advanced corneal imaging with confocal microscopy and spectral domain-optical coherence tomography

NOTE: Sedation is required for these procedures.

Benefits: Benefits include an ophthalmic examination at no cost with thorough characterization of disease to aid in monitoring for progression.

Owner Responsibilities: No ophthalmic medications can be administered 48 h prior to examination. Food cannot be given in the morning in preparation for sedation.

Contact: Dr. Sara Thomasy (smthomasy@ucdavis.edu or (530) 752-1770)

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ON HOLD! Dry Eye Syndrome (Keratoconjunctivitis sicca): Using Stem Cells as a Treatment

Title: Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy for the Treatment of Dry Eye in Dogs

Purpose of Study: Dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca) is a common ocular disease in dogs that leads to discomfort and vision loss. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been proven to reduce inflammation and differentiate into a variety of cell types. Since the most common cause of dry eye in dogs is an immune-mediated inflammatory response targeted against tear producing glands, this study was designed to determine if treatment with MSCs will cause local, long term control of tear gland inflammation and dry eye.

Dry Eye Syndrome (Keratoconjunctivitis sicca): Understanding the Genetics in West Highland White Terriers

Title: The Genetics of Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca in West Highland White Terriers

Purpose of Study: Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) or dry eye is a devastating disease that causes ocular pain and potentially blindness. It is seen more frequently in West Highland White Terriers in comparison to many other breeds. We are interested identifying the genetic components of this disease as well as characterizing this disease better with examination and testing of the tear film and ocular surface and in select patients using advanced imaging techniques.

Participation Requirements:

  • West Highland White Terriers with Dry Eye Syndrome (affected); or,
  • West Highland White Terriers >7 years of age with no ocular abnormalities (control)

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Affected patients must receive a diagnosis by a veterinary ophthalmologist for dry eye. Dogs without ocular disease (controls) require no prior initial examination.

Procedures:

  • Routine ophthalmic examination and tear film tests
  • Blood collection for DNA analysis
  • Tears will be collected from the conjunctival sac using a blunt-tip needle attached to a syringe from both eyes. Tear collection will be performed at a separate time from the initial ophthalmic examination and tests.
  • Conjunctival biopsy – Two (2) minutes after regional anesthesia is applied, a small (approximately 5 mm x 2 mm) piece of conjunctiva will be removed from inside the lower eyelid.
  • Select patients only:
    • Advanced imaging: Spectral domain optical coherence tomography (non-contact imaging) and confocal biomicroscopy (imaging in which a gel on the instrument contacts the cornea) will also be performed to carefully image the cornea along with digital slit lamp photography.
    • Sedation for advanced imaging: In order to keep dogs relaxed and comfortable but awake for the advanced imaging, your dog will be given a mild sedative. The sedation chosen for your pet will depend on your dog’s age and health status.

Benefits: There will be no cost to you for your participation in this study and your dog will receive a very thorough eye examination at no charge. Results from this study will allow us to better predict the onset and progression of this disease. If a gene that causes this disease is found, then we may be able to develop a genetic test to know which dogs have or do not have this disease.

Owner Responsibilities: Although there is no cost to participate in the study, you will need to cover any costs due to complications from sedation, blood sampling, or examination (including corneal ulceration). Additionally, please do not administer any medications to treat your dog’s dry eye for two weeks prior to the appointment other than the lubricant provided to you. If your dog is participating in the advanced imaging, please do not feed your dog the morning of the appointment (water is fine), as the sedation administered can cause vomiting.

Contact: Dr. Sara Thomasy (smthomasy@ucdavis.edu or (530) 752-1770)

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Glaucoma: Understanding the Disease

Title: Understanding Glaucoma in Dogs through Evaluation of the Trabecular Meshwork

Purpose of Study: Glaucoma exists in many forms, but the basic fundamentals of the disease are simple. Fluid goes into the eye and cannot drain out at the same rate it is produced. This causes an increase in intraocular pressure. The increase in pressure affects other functions in the eye (especially retinal function) and can cause blindness as well as pain. Our lab recently demonstrated that the biophysical properties of the trabecular meshwork (the primary drainage pathway from the eye) are markedly altered in human eyes with glaucoma. It is of great interest to us to determine if there is a similar relationship in dogs with glaucoma.

Participation Requirements: Dogs that have been diagnosed with glaucoma and are scheduled to have a routine enucleation (removal of the eye) at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH).

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Confirmed diagnosis of Primary Glaucoma

Procedures: At the time the eye is removed from the patient but before it is placed in a fixative, the eye will be evaluated and a small tissue section will be obtained from the drainage angle of the eye for tissue analysis. The sample collected will consist of a 3-5 mm section of the iridocorneal angle (including cornea and sclera) that contains the primary outflow pathway for fluid from the eye (the trabecular meshwork). Immediately following resection of this sample, the eye will be placed in fixative and submitted for histological evaluation as planned.

Benefits: Analysis of the sample will allow us to evaluate the drainage pathway of a blind painful eye with glaucoma and will greatly contribute to our understanding of glaucoma in dogs. It may also point to new treatment options for this common, blinding and painful disease in dogs. The cost of the histo-pathological exam of the enucleated globe will be paid for by the study (saving the client approx. $70).

Owner Responsibilities: The client’s bill will be reduced by the cost of the histo-pathologic evaluation.

Contact: Monica Motta (mjmotta@ucdavis.edu or 530-752-0926)

Glaucoma: Examining Instrumentation for Diagnostic Capabilities

Title: Evaluation of Ocular Imaging Instrumentation for use in Vision Sciences

Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study is to evaluate ophthalmic imaging equipment and determine if the equipment can provide greater diagnostic capabilities and improve overall animal care and diagnostics.

Participation Requirements: Dogs that have been diagnosed with primary glaucoma and are scheduled to have a routine enucleation (removal of the eye) at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH).

Initial Evaluation for Participation: A complete ophthalmic exam.

Procedures: If an ocular contact instrument (Confocal, Pachymeter, A-Scan or Osmometer) is used for examination, a fluorescein stain will be done following the procedure to ensure an ulcer was not created. Sedation and/or anesthesia will be evaluated only if your dog is already undergoing sedation and/or anesthesia for routine care. Anesthetic time may be minimally (if at all) increased to complete the imaging examination.

Benefits: A better understanding of the use of ocular imaging instrumentation in various species will help provide a greater understanding of the diagnostic capability in those species and aid in improving patient care and diagnostics overall. Equipment that would provide a highly advanced diagnosis has the potential to minimize advancement in ocular disease/discomfort and detect severe or chronic conditions prior to severe complications.

Owner Responsibilities: Cost of additional imaging (Digital SL, OCT, Fundic, Confocal, Pachymetry, Osmometry or A-Scan U/S) beyond standard examination requirements will be covered by the study; however, the owner will be responsible for fees associated with the initial/examination visit and all sedation and/or anesthetic charges.

Contact: Monica Motta (mjmotta@ucdavis.edu or 530-752-0926)

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 dog 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 pet’s cornea in order to see what type of infection your pet has. 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 dog 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: Dogs showing clinical signs of infectious keratitis

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures: After your dog is randomly assigned to one of two groups, a veterinarian will have a corneal sample taken from the affected eye of your dog 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 dog 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 dog 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)

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UPDATED! Inherited Myopia (Near-sightedness): Understanding the Disease in Labrador Retrievers

Title: Genetic Investigation of Inherited Myopia in the Labrador Retriever

Purpose of Study: Myopia, or near-sightedness, is an inherited condition in the Labrador retriever, affecting about 15% of the breed. We propose to identify the region of the dog genome associated with myopia in the Labrador retriever. In order to do this, we will collect DNA samples (blood), A-scan, and quantitative noninvasive measurements of the refractive state (where the eye is focused). The entire genome will be evaluated for an association with myopia.

Participation Requirements: Purebred Labrador Retrievers (one-time participation only, please!)

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None

Procedures:

  • An eye exam to test if your dog is near-sighted, during which your dog will be restrained by trained personnel
  • Collection of a small blood sample for DNA testing, which may require hair to be shaved so we can access a vein
  • A routine, non-invasive amplitude modulation scan (A-scan) to determine the length of your dog’s ocular globe and if there are any flaws

Benefits: There is no charge for you to allow your dog to participate in this clinical trial. All costs associated with the study will be paid by the sponsor/department. You will receive a free eye examination by a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist.

We cannot promise any benefits to your dog or other animals from your taking part in this clinical trial. Although there will be no direct medical benefit to your dog, results from this study will benefit science and the discovery of inherited myopia in Labrador retrievers.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will be responsible for bringing your dog in to the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital for testing on the scheduled date you are provided (NOTE: Your dog’s participation will not to exceed six (6) hours).

Contact: Monica Motta (530-752-3510 or mjmotta@ucdavis.edu)

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Nasolacrimal Apparatus Blockage: A multidisciplinary, minimally invasive treatment

Title: Stenting as a Treatment for Nasolacrimal Apparatus Obstruction

Purpose of Study: Tears from the ocular surface are drained from the eye through several important structures collectively known as the nasolacrimal apparatus (NLA). This frequently becomes blocked and sometimes infected leading to discomfort, tear staining, eye discharge, and skin inflammation, all of which are associated with a decreased quality of life. Clinically, NLA obstructions can be very frustrating to treat and can often lead to permanent obstruction.

We have established a team at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital consisting of specialists with expertise in Ophthalmology, Internal Medicine, Endoscopy, Diagnostic Imaging, and Interventional Radiology and have utilized fluoroscopy to successfully treat NLA obstruction in dogs. We have utilized fluoroscopy, CT, and endoscopy and capitalized on improvements in instrumentation and minimally invasive techniques developed for catheterization of other challenging locations such as the ureters to successfully treat NLA obstruction.

To date, our team has successfully cannulated the nasolacrimal duct of 5 dogs and 1 horse referred for NLA obstruction, all of which we have managed and monitored for at least 8 weeks here at the VMTH. The initial clinical response in these patients has been extremely encouraging with all 6 cases demonstrating what the owners define as complete resolution of signs.

Based upon the success of this initial pilot study, we have initiated a clinical trial to recruit and treat more cases and to evaluate more objective outcome measures.

Participation Requirements: Dogs demonstrating signs of nasolacrimal apparatus (NLA) blockage

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None

Procedures: After an initial examination at the UCD VMTH to ensure the patient meets study entry criteria, owners will provide informed consent and complete a questionnaire concerning their dog’s signs. Patients will then undergo initial testing including CT scanning of the NLA, and NLA stenting using endoscopy and fluoroscopy. The stent will be left in position for at least 6 weeks. After stent removal, similar testing including CT scanning will again be performed, and owners will repeat the same questionnaire. Diagnostic test results from before and after stenting will be compared. Some financial subsidization of case management costs is available through the clinical trial.

Benefits: The study will subsidize costs associated with the second CT scan. Based upon results from the 6 patients in the pilot study, it is possible but not assured that your pet will have reduction or resolution of signs associated with NLA obstruction. Information acquired during this study will allow us to advance the treatment for NLA blockage for veterinary patients worldwide.

Owner Responsibilities: You will be responsible for all costs except those associated with the repeat CT scan following stent removal. Additionally, you will need to bring your dog to the VMTH for all scheduled appointments including a follow-up visit at least 6-8 weeks after the procedure. Lastly, you will be required to complete questionnaires prior to and after the NLA stenting procedure

Contact: Please call 530-752-3937 to schedule your initial visit to the UC Davis Veterinary Ophthalmology Service

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NEW!  Spontaneous Chronic Corneal Epithelial Defect: Understanding the Genetics in Boxers

Title: Phenotype and Genotype of SCCED (Spontaneous Chronic Corneal Epithelial Defect) in Boxers

Purpose of Study: Spontaneous Chronic Corneal Epithelial Defects (SCCEDs) or indolent ulcers cause ocular discomfort and require multiple procedures to assist in their healing. It is seen more frequently in Boxers in comparison to many other breeds. We are interested in characterizing this disease better with advanced imaging techniques and identifying the genetic components of this disease.

Participation Requirements:

  • Boxers that have or had SCCED (affected)
  • Boxers that have never had corneal ulcers over 8 years of age

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None

Procedures: For all dogs, we will:

  • Perform a routine eye exam
  • Examine the back of the eye following dilation
  • Stain the eyes with fluorescein to assess for corneal ulcers and digitally photograph the eyes
  • Collect blood for genetic analysis

Select patients will also receive ultrasonic pachymetry, advanced imaging under sedation, including spectral domain optical coherence tomography (non-contact imaging) and confocal biomicroscopy (imaging in which a gel on the instrument contacts the cornea) to carefully image the cornea, as well as digital slit lamp biomicroscopy to examine and digitally photograph the patient’s eyes.

The examination and advanced imaging may be performed annually in order to track progression of the disease in affected dogs and to monitor corneal health in the case of control dogs.

Benefits: The study will cover all costs of the study and up to $200 of the costs of any complications from the sedation, blood sampling or the imaging.

Your dog will receive a thorough eye examination at no charge. Additional benefits could also include the ability to better predict the onset and progression of this disease. If a gene that causes this disease is found, then we may be able to develop a genetic test to know which dogs have or do not have this disease.

Owner Responsibilities: You will be responsible for bringing your dog in for the ophthalmic exam and blood collection, but if asked to do the advanced imaging, you may have to bring your dog in annually (for 1-2 years). Additionally, you will be responsible for withholding any ocular medications for 48 h prior to the appointment. If your dog is selected for the advanced imaging under sedation, you will be responsible for withholding food (but not water) from your dog the morning of the appointment.

Contact: Dr. Sara Thomasy [smthomasy@ucdavis.edu or (530) 752-1770]

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Genetics
Addison's Disease in Any Breed

Title: Canine Genetic Disease Project - Addison's Disease

Purpose: Addison’s Disease or Hypoadrenocorticism is a deficiency in the secretion of both glucocorticoids and mineralcorticoids from the adrenal cortex. The cause is unknown; however, there appears to be an immune mediated destruction of the adrenal gland in most cases. Symptoms include inappetance, vomiting, lethargy and weakness. An ACTH stimulation test to evaluate the ability of the adrenal gland to secrete cortisol can be used for diagnosis. Affected dogs show low cortisol concentrations, and no increase in cortisol following the ACTH test. Treatment for this disease includes fluid therapy, replacement of glucocorticoids and mineralcorticoids, and hormone therapy.

The overall purpose of this study is three-fold:

  • To evaluate the mode of inheritance of canine diseases;
  • To identify the genes responsible for disease expression; and,
  • To join the tools of statistics with the promise of molecular genetics.

Participation Requirements:

  • Bearded Collie, Great Dane, Leonberger, Portuguese Water Dog, Standard Poodle & West Highland White Terrier of all ages diagnosed with Addison’s Disease
  • Healthy dogs of the above-mentioned breeds (> 7 years old)

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures: The only procedure required is the collection and submission of a blood sample for DNA extraction. Instructions for sample submission, questionnaire regarding your dog’s health and owner informed consent document can be found here. Frequently asked questions and answers can be found here.

Benefits: There is no guarantee that your dog will benefit from its participation in this study. However, such participation may provide veterinarians and researchers with additional information and a better understanding of canine diseases, which could ultimately influence the course of treatment or genetic testing to help your dog and other animals in the future.

Owner Responsibilities: The owner or referring veterinarian needs to collect and submit a blood sample.

Contact: For more information, please contact Dr. Anita Oberbauer amoberbauer@ucdavis.edu), Dr. T.R. Famula (trfamula@ucdavis.edu), or Janelle Belanger (jmbelanger@ucdavis.edu).

Brain Tumors in Brachycephalic Breeds

Title: Genome wide association in canine primary brain tumors

Purpose: Brachycephaly, a trait characterized by a short muzzle and wide head, is associated with brain tumors and respiratory problems. This trait is found in several breeds, including Boxers, Bulldogs, and Boston Terriers We are attempting to uncover the genetic cause for brachycephaly in dogs while looking for genes linked to brachycephaly that may increase the risk of developing a brain tumor.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Examination by Dr. Dickinson

Procedures: We are collecting DNA from dogs known or suspected to have a brain tumor. For information, please contact Dr. Dickinson (pjdickinson@ucdavis.edu) or Christy Chessman (530-752-1393 or 530-754-0606).

Benefits: There is no direct benefit to you or your dog; however, identification of these genes may allow for:

  • Selective breeding to reduce the frequency of brain tumors in brachycephalic dogs
  • Possible new therapies targeting defective genes

For dogs with confirmed tumors, we can discuss treatment options and available clinical trials that could help treat your dog's tumor.

Owner Responsibilities: Please contact Dr. Dickinson (pjdickinson@ucdavis.edu) or Christy Chessman (530-752-1393 or 530-754-0606).

Contact: For information, please email Dr. Dickinson at pjdickinson@ucdavis.edu or call Christy Chessman (530-752-1393 or 530-754-0606).

Cleft Lip and/or Palate in Any Breed

Title: Understanding the genetic basis of cleft lip and/or cleft palate in dogs

Purpose of Study: Cleft lip and/or cleft palate are developmental defects that result in the failure of the roof of the mouth to properly form. This results in an inability to properly nurse and often leads to euthanasia. The aim of this study is to identify the genes responsible for these birth defects and prevent them in future litters.

Participation Requirements: Dogs must have a cleft lip and/ or cleft palate.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures: Whole blood samples from dogs with cleft lip and/or cleft palate, parents, and littermates will be collected. The cleft will also be photographed.

Benefits: Understanding the genetic basis of such a defect will allow for the prevention of it in future litters. There are no direct benefits to participating in this study.

Owner Responsibilities: Owners need only to submit samples along with a signed consent form.

Contact: Zena Wolf (ztwolf@ucdavis.edu)

Epilepsy in Multiple Breeds

Title: Canine Genetic Disease Project - Epilepsy

Purpose: Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes abnormal bursts of electrical activity in the brain (lasting from seconds to minutes). Seizures are characterized by jerking of the limbs, anxiety, salivation, vocalizing, and loss of bodily functions (urination/defecation). Epilepsy can be caused by metabolic disorders, infectious diseases, brain injury, toxins, or brain tumors. A genetic seizure condition in dogs can occur called idiopathic (of unknown cause) or inherited epilepsy. Since a dog with idiopathic epilepsy shows no recognizable abnormalities, it is assumed to be an inherited condition in most breeds and demonstrated to be heritable in some breeds. Treatment of seizures is usually two-fold which includes treatment of the underlying problem (infection, tumor, injury) and reducing or eliminating the seizure episodes with anticonvulsant medication.

The overall purpose of this study is three-fold:

  • To evaluate the mode of inheritance of canine diseases;
  • To identify the genes responsible for disease expression; and,
  • To join the tools of statistics with the promise of molecular genetics.

Participation Requirements:

  • Belgian Tervuren, Belgian Sheepdog, English Mastiff, Giant Schanuzer, and Poodles (Standard, Miniature, and Toy) of all ages diagnosed with Epilepsy
  • Healthy dogs of the above-mentioned breeds (> 7 years old)

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures: The only procedure required is the collection and submission of a blood sample for DNA extraction. Instructions for sample submission, questionnaire regarding your dog’s health and owner informed consent document can be found here. Frequently asked questions and answers can be found here.

Benefits: There is no guarantee that your dog will benefit from its participation in this study. However, such participation may provide veterinarians and researchers with additional information and a better understanding of canine diseases, which could ultimately influence the course of treatment or genetic testing to help your dog and other animals in the future.

Owner Responsibilities: The owner or referring veterinarian needs to collect and submit a blood sample.

Contact: For more information, please contact Dr. Anita Oberbauer amoberbauer@ucdavis.edu), Dr. T.R. Famula (trfamula@ucdavis.edu), or Janelle Belanger (jmbelanger@ucdavis.edu).

Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy in Any Breed

Title: Identifying the genes responsible for hypertrophic osteodystrophy in Weiaraners and other susceptible breeds

Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study is to identify the molecular basis for the bone disease, hypertrophic osteodystrophy.

Participation Requirements: Any dog diagnosed with HOD can be included.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Radiographic images suggestive of a diagnosis of HOD, together with patient signalment, history and response to treatment are required in order to participate in the study.

Procedures: The only procedure involved a DNA extraction analysis of a blood sample submitted by the owner.

Benefits: There are no direct benefits for enrolling your dog in this study; however, there is a long-term benefit for susceptible breeds, such as the Weimaraner. Once the gene(s) and mutation(s) that predispose Weimaraners to HOD are identified, breeders will be able to select against HOD.

Owner Responsibilities: The owner only needs to submit a blood sample in an EDTA tube from their affected dog for DNA extraction.

Contact: Dr. Noa Safra (nsafra@ucdavis.edu)

Myasthenia Gravis in Any Breed

Title: MHC Haplotyping of dogs 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 dogs, it may allow us to identify dogs at risk before the development of disease, and it may allow us to develop new treatments. The purpose of this study is to determine if dogs with acquired myasthenia gravis have a similar genes (MHC haplotype). We will use DNA collected from blood cells to do the genetic analysis. The genetic analysis will be done in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

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

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures: The only procedure involved a DNA analysis of a blood sample submitted by the owner (at least 5 mls) in 1-2 EDTA tubes.

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

Owner Responsibilities: The owner only needs to send in a blood sample that has been collected in 1-2 tubes of EDTA by over-night FedEx, Monday to Thursday.

Contact: Contact Dr. Vernau at (530) 752-1393, (530) 304-9450, or kmvernau@ucdavis.edu

Pulmonary Hypertension in Any Breed

Title: The Role of Genetics in Canine Pulmonary Hypertension and the Response to Standard Treatment with Sildenafil

Purpose: We are investigating the role of a common canine genetic variant on the condition of pulmonary hypertension. This genetic variant is being evaluated to see if it impacts the severity of disease or the response to the oral medication, sildenafil citrate, the most commonly used drug for the treatment of this condition. Information provided by this study will provide better guidelines for the treatment of dogs with pulmonary hypertension.

Participation Requirements: Dogs diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension

Initial Evaluation for Participation: 

  • Diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension confirmed by a complete echocardiographic study that was done by the UC Davis VMTH Cardiology service; and,
  • A recommendation from the veterinarian to give oral sildenafil for treatment of the condition.

Procedures: If you agree to be involved in this study:

  • Initial visit: We will collect a small blood sample and then perform a non-invasive assessment of blood flow, which will involve shaving a small area (the size of a postage stamp). You will be asked to give the sildenafil orally to your dog as prescribed by your veterinarian.
  • 25-35 days later: We need you to return to the hospital while your pet is receiving the medication to have the echocardiogram, blood sampling and shaved patch for vascular function assessment performed again.
  • You (the owner) will be asked to fill out a brief health questionnaire for your dog at each visit.

Benefits: There is no charge for you to allow your dog to participate in this clinical trial. The study will cover all costs associated with the diagnostic tests, examination fees and the 1-month supply of sildenafil medication. You will be responsible for covering costs associated with any adverse effects that your dog experiences secondary to the prescribed medication.

We cannot promise any benefits to your dog or other animals from your taking part in this clinical trial; however, possible benefits include better understanding of the disease process and mechanisms for predicting patients response to medical therapy.

Owner Responsibilities: You will be asked to complete two brief questionnaires (one at each visit), administer all prescribed medications for at least 30 days, and return while your pet is receiving this medication for a reevaluation appointment at the end of the 30-day period.

Contact: For more information, please contact Dr. Joshua Stern at jstern@ucdavis.edu or 530-752-2475

UPDATED! Inherited Myopia (Near-sightedness): Understanding the Disease in Labrador Retrievers

Title: Genetic Investigation of Inherited Myopia in the Labrador Retriever

Purpose of Study: Myopia, or near-sightedness, is an inherited condition in the Labrador retriever, affecting about 15% of the breed. We propose to identify the region of the dog genome associated with myopia in the Labrador retriever. In order to do this, we will collect DNA samples (blood), A-scan, and quantitative noninvasive measurements of the refractive state (where the eye is focused). The entire genome will be evaluated for an association with myopia.

Participation Requirements: Purebred Labrador Retrievers (one-time participation only, please!)

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None

Procedures:

  • An eye exam to test if your dog is near-sighted, during which your dog will be restrained by trained personnel
  • Collection of a small blood sample for DNA testing, which may require hair to be shaved so we can access a vein
  • A routine, non-invasive amplitude modulation scan (A-scan) to determine the length of your dog’s ocular globe and if there are any flaws

Benefits: There is no charge for you to allow your dog to participate in this clinical trial. All costs associated with the study will be paid by the sponsor/department. You will receive a free eye examination by a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist.

We cannot promise any benefits to your dog or other animals from your taking part in this clinical trial. Although there will be no direct medical benefit to your dog, results from this study will benefit science and the discovery of inherited myopia in Labrador retrievers.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will be responsible for bringing your dog in to the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital for testing on the scheduled date you are provided (NOTE: Your dog’s participation will not to exceed six (6) hours).

Contact: Monica Motta (530-752-3510 or mjmotta@ucdavis.edu)

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NEW! Spontaneous Chronic Corneal Epithelial Defect in Boxers

Title: Phenotype and Genotype of SCCED (Spontaneous Chronic Corneal Epithelial Defect) in Boxers

Purpose of Study: Spontaneous Chronic Corneal Epithelial Defects (SCCEDs) or indolent ulcers cause ocular discomfort and require multiple procedures to assist in their healing. It is seen more frequently in Boxers in comparison to many other breeds. We are interested in characterizing this disease better with advanced imaging techniques and identifying the genetic components of this disease.

Participation Requirements:

  • Boxers that have or had SCCED (affected)
  • Boxers that have never had corneal ulcers over 8 years of age

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None

Procedures: For all dogs, we will:

  • Perform a routine eye exam
  • Examine the back of the eye following dilation
  • Stain the eyes with fluorescein to assess for corneal ulcers and digitally photograph the eyes
  • Collect blood for genetic analysis

Select patients will also receive ultrasonic pachymetry, advanced imaging under sedation, including spectral domain optical coherence tomography (non-contact imaging) and confocal biomicroscopy (imaging in which a gel on the instrument contacts the cornea) to carefully image the cornea, as well as digital slit lamp biomicroscopy to examine and digitally photograph the patient’s eyes.

The examination and advanced imaging may be performed annually in order to track progression of the disease in affected dogs and to monitor corneal health in the case of control dogs.

Benefits: The study will cover all costs of the study and up to $200 of the costs of any complications from the sedation, blood sampling or the imaging.

Your dog will receive a thorough eye examination at no charge. Additional benefits could also include the ability to better predict the onset and progression of this disease. If a gene that causes this disease is found, then we may be able to develop a genetic test to know which dogs have or do not have this disease.

Owner Responsibilities: You will be responsible for bringing your dog in for the ophthalmic exam and blood collection, but if asked to do the advanced imaging, you may have to bring your dog in annually (for 1-2 years). Additionally, you will be responsible for withholding any ocular medications for 48 h prior to the appointment. If your dog is selected for the advanced imaging under sedation, you will be responsible for withholding food (but not water) from your dog the morning of the appointment.

Contact: Dr. Sara Thomasy [smthomasy@ucdavis.edu or (530) 752-1770]

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Addison's Disease in Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers

Title: Canine Addison’s Disease

Purpose: Addison’s disease in the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (NSDTR) has a complicated presentation, as the disease manifests as early as 7 weeks of age and as old as 11 years, and in some cases, can be observed in conjunction with other diseases (e.g., hypothyroidism, immune-mediated polyarthritis, and various eye problems). Sequencing of the canine genome allowed scientists to create powerful new tools (e.g., SNP arrays) to investigate inherited diseases. Previous studies found a significantly associated chromosomal region in dogs affected with Addison’s disease under 1 year of age. We are currently investigating a candidate causal mutation for the juvenile onset form of the disease within that same region.

Participation Requirements:

  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers (adults and puppies) diagnosed with Addison’s disease
  • Puppies of other breeds diagnosed with Addison’s disease

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures: The only procedure required is the collection and submission of a blood sample for DNA extraction. Please contact Dr. Danika Bannasch (dlbannasch@ucdavis.edu) or Emily Brown (eabrown@ucdavis.edu) for more information about submitting samples.

Benefits: There is no direct benefit of this study for you or your dog at this time; however, gaining a better understanding of the genetic etiology of juvenile and adult onset Addison’s Disease may lead to the development of a DNA based test that will allow breeders to make informed breeding decisions.

Owner Responsibilities: The owner or referring veterinarian needs to collect and submit a blood sample.

Contact: For more information, please contact Dr. Danika Bannasch dlbannasch@ucdavis.edu) or Emily Brown (eabrown@ucdavis.edu).

Autoimmune Diseases in Italian Greyhounds

For information, please visit the Italian Greyhound Autoimmune Study webpage through the UC Davis Center for Companion Animal Health.

Documenting Genetic Diversity in Brittanys

For information, please visit the Brittany Genetic Research webpage through the UC Davis Center for Companion Animal Health.

Symmetrical Lupoid Onychodystrophy in Bearded Collies

Title: Canine Genetic Disease Project - Symmetrical Lupoid Onychodystrophy

Purpose: Symmetrical Lupoid Onychodystrophy (SLO) is a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes a loss of toenails in many breeds, including Bearded Collies. The age of onset is typically between 3-8 years of age affecting 1-2 nails and eventually progressing to all nails. Scientists believe that heredity may be one of the contributing causes of this disease.

The overall purpose of this study is three-fold:

  • To evaluate the mode of inheritance of canine diseases;
  • To identify the genes responsible for disease expression; and,
  • To join the tools of statistics with the promise of molecular genetics.

Participation Requirements:

  • Bearded Collies of all ages diagnosed with SLO
  • Healthy Bearded Collies (> 8 years old)

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures: The only procedure required is the collection and submission of a blood sample for DNA extraction. Instructions for sample submission, questionnaire regarding your dog’s health and owner informed consent document can be found here. Frequently asked questions and answers can be found here.

Benefits: There is no guarantee that your dog will benefit from its participation in this study. However, such participation may provide veterinarians and researchers with additional information and a better understanding of canine diseases, which could ultimately influence the course of treatment or genetic testing to help your dog and other animals in the future.

Owner Responsibilities: The owner or referring veterinarian needs to collect and submit a blood sample.

Contact: For more information, please contact Dr. Anita Oberbauer amoberbauer@ucdavis.edu), Dr. T.R. Famula (trfamula@ucdavis.edu), or Janelle Belanger (jmbelanger@ucdavis.edu).

Dry Eye Syndrome in West Highland White Terriers

Title: The Genetics of Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca in West Highland White Terriers

Purpose of Study: Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) or dry eye is a devastating disease that causes ocular pain and potentially blindness. It is seen more frequently in West Highland White Terriers in comparison to many other breeds. We are interested identifying the genetic components of this disease as well as characterizing this disease better with examination and testing of the tear film and ocular surface and in select patients using advanced imaging techniques.

Participation Requirements:

  • West Highland White Terriers with Dry Eye Syndrome (affected); or,
  • West Highland White Terriers >7 years of age with no ocular abnormalities (control)

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Affected patients must receive a diagnosis by a veterinary ophthalmologist for dry eye. Dogs without ocular disease (controls) require no prior initial examination.

Procedures:

  • Routine ophthalmic examination and tear film tests
  • Blood collection for DNA analysis
  • Tears will be collected from the conjunctival sac using a blunt-tip needle attached to a syringe from both eyes. Tear collection will be performed at a separate time from the initial ophthalmic examination and tests.
  • Conjunctival biopsy – Two (2) minutes after regional anesthesia is applied, a small (approximately 5 mm x 2 mm) piece of conjunctiva will be removed from inside the lower eyelid.
  • Select patients only:
    • Advanced imaging: Spectral domain optical coherence tomography (non-contact imaging) and confocal biomicroscopy (imaging in which a gel on the instrument contacts the cornea) will also be performed to carefully image the cornea along with digital slit lamp photography.
    • Sedation for advanced imaging: In order to keep dogs relaxed and comfortable but awake for the advanced imaging, your dog will be given a mild sedative. The sedation chosen for your pet will depend on your dog’s age and health status.

Benefits: There will be no cost to you for your participation in this study and your dog will receive a very thorough eye examination at no charge. Results from this study will allow us to better predict the onset and progression of this disease. If a gene that causes this disease is found, then we may be able to develop a genetic test to know which dogs have or do not have this disease.

Owner Responsibilities: Although there is no cost to participate in the study, you will need to cover any costs due to complications from sedation, blood sampling, or examination (including corneal ulceration). Additionally, please do not administer any medications to treat your dog’s dry eye for two weeks prior to the appointment other than the lubricant provided to you. If your dog is participating in the advanced imaging, please do not feed your dog the morning of the appointment (water is fine), as the sedation administered can cause vomiting.

Contact: Dr. Sara Thomasy (smthomasy@ucdavis.edu or (530) 752-1770)

Sebaceous Adenitis in Poodles

Title: A search for possible genetic associations with sebaceous adenitis, an autoimmune disease that destroys hair follicles and leads to hair loss

Purpose of Study: Sebaceous adenitis is a skin disease that is seen in many breeds but most prevalent in the Standard Poodle, Havanese, Akita, and English Springer Spaniel. We aim to determine whether risk for sebaceous adenitis in Standard Poodles can be associated with a specific genetic makeup.

Participation Requirements: Dogs must have a confirmed diagnosis of Sebaceous Adenitis in addition to normal parents or siblings.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures: The only procedure involved a DNA analysis of either 1) a whole blood sample (at least 5 mls) that is not clotted in a sterile tube, or 2) a buccal swab. Please contact Ms. Katy Roberston (krrobertson@ucdavis.edu) for a buccal swab kit. Directions for collection are included on the second page of the study form.

Benefits: There is no direct benefit of this study for you or your dog at this time; however, if a genetic association can be identified, a test could be developed that would predict which dogs carry the trait and may pass it on to their offspring and which dogs may develop the disease in their lifetime.

Owner Responsibilities: The owner only needs to send in the study form in addition to a blood sample or buccal swab per the instructions on the study form.

Contact:

NEW! Ectopic Ureters in Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers and Newfoundlands

Title: Ectopic Ureters in Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers and Newfoundlands

Purpose: The ureters are the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder for the purpose of moving urine out of the body. Sometimes when a puppy is developing during embryogenesis, the ureters do not connect properly into the bladder. When this occurs the ureters are called ectopic. We propose to identify the region of the dog genome associated with ectopic ureters. In order to do this, we will collect blood samples.

Participation Requirements: Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Newfoundlands diagnosed with ectopic ureters

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures: The only procedure required is the collection and submission of a blood sample for DNA extraction. For more information about submitting samples, please contact Miriam Aguilar (miraguilar@ucdavis.edu) for Labrador Retrievers and Newfoundlands and Eric Ontiveros (esontiveros@ucdavis.edu) for Golden Retrievers.

Benefits: Although there is no direct medical benefit to your dog, results from this study will benefit science and the discovery of inherited ectopic ureters in the Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, and Newfoundland. Results from this study may lead to the development of a DNA based test that will allow breeders to make informed breeding decisions.

Owner Responsibilities: The owner or referring veterinarian needs to collect and submit a blood sample.

Contact: For more information about submitting samples, please contact:

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Heart (Cardiology)
NEW! Abnormal/Rapid Heartbeat (Ventricular Arrhythmia): Assessing Treatment

Title: Acute effects of sotalol on echocardiographic indices of ventricular function in dogs with ventricular tachyarrhythmias

Purpose: Sotalol is considered by most veterinary cardiologists to be one of the most effective and well-tolerated medications for longterm control of potentially life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias (abnormal and rapid heartbeats arising from the pumping chambers). Sotalol may decrease heart function (pumping ability) but it is currently unknown to what extent, if any, it does so. Therefore, the purpose of this clinical trial is to determine the effect of a single standard dose of sotalol on heart function and rhythm in dogs diagnosed with ventricular arrhythmias.

Participation Requirements: Dogs that have been diagnosed with a ventricular arrhythmia (abnormal and rapid heartbeats originating in the pumping chambers of the heart)

Initial Evaluation for Participation:  Dogs should be evaluated for the presence of ventricular tachyarrhythmias by a veterinarian. Dogs will be considered ineligible for the study if they weigh less than 10 kg (20 lbs), are already taking sotalol, are taking heart medications that affect heart function (e.g., pimobendan or beta-blockers), and if they are affected with significant kidney disease.

Procedures: Please note that no diagnostic test or therapeutic intervention will be withheld or delayed for any reason for the purposes of this study and no “experimental” tests or drugs will be used in this study.

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

  • Review of your dog’s medical history, medication history, and any clinical signs (symptoms) your dog may be experiencing with your dog’s attending clinician
  • Completion of a physical examination with particular attention paid to the cardiovascular system
  • Complete echocardiogram (cardiac ultrasound) without the use sedatives. Echocardiograms involve your dog being gently restrained while lying on their side and usually last 20-25 minutes.
  • Immediately following this echocardiogram, your dog will be administered a single standard dose (2 mg/kg) of sotalol by mouth after which your dog will be monitored in the cardiology service room or patient care ward by direct observation.
  • 2-4 hours after your dog received the sotalol medication (allows time for the drug to take effect), your dog will have the exact same echocardiogram performed, after which your dog’s participation in the clinical trial will be completed.
  • Blood collection (2 mL) to look for genetic mutations that may cause a lack of response to the drug.

It is important to understand that this study is not a therapeutic trial; it is a study assessing the acute effects of sotalol on heart function and rhythm following a single dose of the sotalol medication. At the conclusion of your dog’s visit to the VMTH the veterinarian in charge of your dog’s care (attending clinician) may or may not recommend that your dog be sent home on the sotalol medication for longterm therapy. It is possible that a more thorough evaluation of your dog’s heart rhythm with a 24-hour Holter (ECG/”EKG”) monitor is warranted to help determine if long-term therapy is necessary. Please understand that not all ventricular arrhythmias require a long-term antiarrhythmic medication.

Benefits: It is considered standard-of-care to have an echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) performed in dogs with ventricular arrhythmias. If you agree to have your dog participate in this study, the study will cover $159 of the echocardiogram (you will need to pay the remaining $171). The remainder of the cost of your dog’s visit (to be discussed with the attending clinician) will be your responsibility. If adverse events occur directly as a result of the study and your dog requires further care (e.g., hospitalization, monitoring, treatment(s)/medication(s), etc.), the clinical cardiology service will cover up to $3,000 of your dogs care.

We cannot promise any benefits to your dog or other animals from your taking part in this clinical trial; however, possible benefits include allowing us to better guide medical care for your dog and future dogs affected with arrhythmias.

Owner Responsibilities: You will be responsible for bringing your dog in for your scheduled appointment (which will last approximately ½ of the day or 4 hours), covering the $171 of the first echocardiogram, the appointment fee ($140) and whatever else is discussed between you and the attending clinician regarding the management of your dog’s heart disease.

Contact: For questions or any research-related injuries or adverse events, please contact the Principal Investigator, Dr. Lance C. Visser, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Cardiology) at (616) 633-6231 or lcvisser@ucdavis.edu.

To schedule an appointment, please contact Pam McInnis at pjmcinnis@ucdavis.edu.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Pulmonary Hypertension: Understanding the Genetics

Title: The Role of Genetics in Canine Pulmonary Hypertension and the Response to Standard Treatment with Sildenafil

Purpose: We are investigating the role of a common canine genetic variant on the condition of pulmonary hypertension. This genetic variant is being evaluated to see if it impacts the severity of disease or the response to the oral medication, sildenafil citrate, the most commonly used drug for the treatment of this condition. Information provided by this study will provide better guidelines for the treatment of dogs with pulmonary hypertension.

Participation Requirements: Dogs diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension

Initial Evaluation for Participation: 

  • Diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension confirmed by a complete echocardiographic study that was done by the UC Davis VMTH Cardiology service; and,
  • A recommendation from the veterinarian to give oral sildenafil for treatment of the condition.

Procedures: If you agree to be involved in this study:

  • Initial visit: We will collect a small blood sample and then perform a non-invasive assessment of blood flow, which will involve shaving a small area (the size of a postage stamp). You will be asked to give the sildenafil orally to your dog as prescribed by your veterinarian.
  • 25-35 days later: We need you to return to the hospital while your pet is receiving the medication to have the echocardiogram, blood sampling and shaved patch for vascular function assessment performed again.
  • You (the owner) will be asked to fill out a brief health questionnaire for your dog at each visit.

Benefits: There is no charge for you to allow your dog to participate in this clinical trial. The study will cover all costs associated with the diagnostic tests, examination fees and the 1-month supply of sildenafil medication. You will be responsible for covering costs associated with any adverse effects that your dog experiences secondary to the prescribed medication.

We cannot promise any benefits to your dog or other animals from your taking part in this clinical trial; however, possible benefits include better understanding of the disease process and mechanisms for predicting patients response to medical therapy.

Owner Responsibilities: You will be asked to complete two brief questionnaires (one at each visit), administer all prescribed medications for at least 30 days, and return while your pet is receiving this medication for a reevaluation appointment at the end of the 30-day period.

Contact: For more information, please contact Dr. Joshua Stern at jstern@ucdavis.edu or 530-752-2475

Internal Medicine
Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Evaluating a Stem Cell Therapy

Title: Immunomodulation by Mesenchymal Stem Cells In Canine Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Purpose of Study: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in dogs often involves lifelong steroid therapy, which holds the risk for a variety of potentially serious complications. Because of the ability to regulate immune responses and facilitate tissue regrowth or repair, we believe that fat-derived, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) may help to decrease the abnormal immune response and the accompanying inflammation. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of a new stem cell therapy for canine IBD and better understand how stem cells work to limit inflammation and repair gut tissue.

Participation Requirements: Dogs suspected of having inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), specifically adult dogs with chronic, idiopathic, diarrhea (>3 weeks) that have failed dietary management (4-6 weeks) and empiric antimicrobial therapy (minimum 2 week course of metronidazole and/or Tylosin therapy) for their disease.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Prior to enrollment, dogs will have received the full diagnostic work-up that includes a fecal screen for endoparasites, a CBC, serum biochemistry profile, urinalysis, measurement of serum B12 and folate concentrations, and abdominal ultrasound. Additional screening tests will be performed at the discretion of the attending gastroenterologist.

  • Exclusion criteria - Dogs previously (< 2 months) or currently treated with corticosteroids and/or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) will be excluded from the study.

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

  • Visit 1: On the day of study enrollment, your dog will have belly fat and full thickness gut biopsies collected via a minimally invasive surgery performed under general anesthesia. Prior to anesthesia, we will collect approximately 20ml of blood. During the procedure, we will collect a golf ball-sized amount (10-20 grams) of abdominal fat and the draining lymph node.
  • Visit 2: Two to three weeks after fat harvest, your dog will either receive the placebo or a dose of 25 million MSCs given by intravenous infusion. Dogs receiving the placebo will also receive the medical standard-of-care (steroid therapy) at the same time points as treatment group dogs.
  • Visit 3: Two weeks after the first treatment, your dog will receive a second injection of either stem cell treatment or placebo according to their group assignment. At this time, we will clinically examine your dog and collect about 20ml of blood.
  • Visit 4: Two weeks after the second treatment, we will clinically examine your dog and collect about 20ml of blood. Afterwards, your dog will be anesthetized and undergo a minimally invasive endoscopic examination of its gut with a flexible endoscope. Partial thickness gut biopsies and ultrasound guided abdominal lymph node aspirates will be collected at this time.
  • Follow-up: You will then be asked to return for clinical follow-up and blood sampling 2 more times within a 4-week interval.

Benefits: We cannot promise any benefits to your dog or other animals from your taking part in this clinical trial; however, possible benefits include the potential of your dog to achieve a state of remission from IBD without the use of steroid therapy. Moreover, this study may help us to further target specific use of stem cells for other dogs or even humans that suffer from inflammatory bowel disease.

Owner Responsibilities: You are only responsible for covering the cost of an endoscopic examination had your dog not been enrolled in the study (i.e., the standard-of-diagnosis that your dog would have received at the time of the first visit). The study will cover everything else, including the examination fees, cost of biopsy processing and interpretation, the difference between the costs of the laparoscopic and endoscopic (standard-of-diagnosis) procedures performed at the first visit, and procedures involved with fat harvest and stem cell expansion, the second endoscopic procedure, and ultrasound guided abdominal lymph node aspirate.

Contact: Dr. Amir Kol (akol@ucdavis.edu)

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Ectopic ureters: Evaluating Laser Ablation as a Treatment Option

Title: Evaluation of the Use of Cystoscopic-Guided Laser Ablation in the Treatment of Canine Ureteral Ectopia

Purpose of Study: To evaluate urethral pressure profiles (UPPs) in patients undergoing laser ablation of their ectopic ureters. The goal is to determine if pre-treatment UPP values can help to predict continence rates after laser ablation.

Participation Requirements: Any dog with ectopic ureters that will be undergoing laser ablation may be included in the study. Owners must give approval for pre-treatment UPP measurements to be performed.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Patients must undergo evaluation and diagnostic workup for ectopic ureters and there must be a high clinical suspicion that the patient has an ectopic ureter.

Procedures: The procedures that will be performed as part of this study are currently utilized in the diagnostic workup and treatment of ureteral ectopia, and include:

  • Urethral pressure profilometry (UPP) - Performed in a manner similar to what has been described previously and involves the placement of a urinary catheter into the urethra via a transvulvar approach (non-invasive).
  • Cystoscopic-guided laser ablation procedure - Performed via a transvulvar approach and involves the use of a laser to ablate the intramural portion of ectopic ureteral tissue.

Benefits: The benefits of enrolling in this study include financial support for pre-procedure diagnostics as well as support towards the performance of the cystoscopic-guided laser ablation procedure. Additionally, funding from this grant will be applied towards the anesthetic event.

Owner Responsibilities: Owners will need to give their approval for urethral pressure profilometry evaluation.

Contact: Dr. Carrie Palm (cpalm@ucdavis.edu)

Hiatal Hernia / Brachycephalic Obstructor Syndrome: Assessing a Surgical Treatment

Title: Effect of Surgical Treatment of Brachycephalic Obstructor Syndrome on the Lower Esophageal Area of Brachycephalic Dogs with Evidence of Hiatal Herniation and Gastroesophageal Reflux

Purpose of Study: We believe that brachycephalic dogs have a tendency to develop hiatal herniation (HH) with greater frequency than non-brachycephalic dogs. Dogs with relative obstruction of the upper airways may generate a decreased pressure in their chest during inspiration (breathing in) that results in the upper part of the stomach being sucked into the chest (HH). This can lead to clinical signs including regurgitation, esophageal stricture formation and aspiration pneumonia if severe. We hypothesize that, if the upper airway obstruction in these dogs can be alleviated, improvement in their respiratory compromise might be seen as well as a reduction in the severity of their HH.

Participation Requirements:

  • Brachycephalic breed (dogs with broad short skulls)
  • No evidence of other upper airway obstructive pathology (especially tracheal collapse and hypoplastic trachea)
  • No previous brachycephalic surgery
  • Evidence of hiatal herniation on fluoroscopic imaging (performed pre-operatively)

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Initial evaluation and discussion for entry into the study can be arranged by making an appointment with our Internal Medicine or Soft Tissue Surgery or by contacting Dr. Phil Mayhew directly (contact information below).

Procedures: Both visits outlined below require hospitalization for 2-4 days at the VMTH.

  • First visit:
    • Day 1: You will be asked to fill out a questionnaire about your dog’s clinical signs. We will give your dog a local anesthetic, place a small catheter down your dogs nose, and give your dog a small amount of water to swallow, so we can trace the pressure profile of your dog’s esophagus (known as high-resolution manometry or HRM study). We will then perform a barium esophagram, which involves imaging of your dog using a fluoroscope (moving x-ray machine) after he/she swallows water and food boluses. Finally, we will place a small pH-monitoring probe in you dog’s nose that will remain in place for no longer than 24-hours for continuous monitoring of the esophageal pH and will be removed prior to surgery the following day.
    • Day 2: Your dog will be prepared for surgery and given general anesthesia. Prior to surgery, we will take measurements of your dog’s lower esophageal area (impedance planimetry or Endoflip), which involves inflation of a very low-pressure balloon within the lower esophagus, and perform an upper gastrointestinal endoscopic study immediately before upper airway surgery.
  • 30 – 60 days post-surgery visit: You will need to bring your dog in for another visit between 30 and 60 days after surgery. During this visit, we need to repeat the questionnaire and the procedures outlined above to gauge the response to surgery.

Benefits: The trial will pay for all of the diagnostic tests associated with the study, including costs associated with the HRM and esophagram studies, Endoflip measurements, pH impedance studies, endosocopic studies, biopsy procedures, pathology fees as well as the hospitalization and anesthesia fees associated with the second visit to the hospital at 30-60 days post-operatively. The owner will have to cover the surgical procedure, hospitalization and any possible complications associated with the surgical procedure and recovery during the first visit.

We cannot promise any benefits to your dog or other animals from your taking part in this clinical trial; however, possible benefits include a better understanding of your dogs presence or absence of hiatal herniation which may aid in longer-term management of this component of his or her clinical signs. Results from this study may influence treatment of other dogs with similar conditions going forward.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will be responsible for bringing the dog to the VMTH for the study-related visits for the duration of the time stipulated and for providing the clinical information stipulated.

Contact:

  • Please call (530) 752-1393 to make an appointment with Soft Tissue Surgery or Internal Medicine for Dr. Phil Mayhew's study
  • Email Dr. Phil Mayhew directly at philmayhew@gmail.com
Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunts: Assessing a New Treatment Technique

Title: Assessment of Outcome in Dogs Undergoing Percutaneous Transvenous Coil Embolization to Treat Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunts

Purpose of Study: The purposes of this project are to:

  1. Evaluate serum bile acid concentrations and hepatic biochemical functional parameters (BUN, albumin, cholesterol, glucose, and bilirubin) in dogs with intrahepatic portosystemic shunts both pre- and post-treatment to objectively evaluate each patient for improvement in hepatic function.
  2. Assess the improvement in the clinical signs of dogs with IHPSS after the performance of PTCE.
  3. To perform imaging studies pre- and post-PTCE that provide objective assessment of outcome associated with the PTCE procedure.

Participation Requirements: Dogs with intrahepatic portosystemic shunts

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

Procedures: Dogs with a diagnosis of intrahepatic portosystemic shunts (IHPSS) will be enrolled in the study. The dog will undergo percutanous transvenous coil embolization (PTCE) to treat his/her IHPSS. Prior to and after this procedure, diagnostics including bloodwork, nuclear scintigraphy, abdominal ultrasound and computed tomography (CT) scan will be performed and compared.

Benefits: Enrolling a dog in this study results in a significant financial incentive towards diagnostics that would be recommended for the dog whether or not he/she is enrolled in the study. This benefit includes payment of the preoperative CT scan and the postoperative bloodwork (1 chemistry panel at 3 months postoperative), ultrasound (1 at 3 months postoperative), nuclear scintigraphy scan (1 at 3 months postoperative) and CT scan (1 at 3 months postoperative).

Owner Responsibilities: Return the patient 3 months after treatment for further assessment.

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

Large Bowel Disease: Evaluating a New Diagnostic Tool

Title: Evaluation of CT as a diagnostic tool for large bowel disease in dogs

Purpose of Study: We are evaluating the benefits of a novel CT protocol for large bowel disease. Surgical planning for conditions of the large bowel can be difficult as there are many ways to surgically approach lesions of the large bowel. Appropriate surgical planning plays a large role in the success of the procedure. While existing imaging methods provide some information about the lesion, there are sometimes major limitations to the information provided. Three-dimensional imaging, such as CT, is likely to improve our understanding of the disease and, our surgical planning in cases of mass lesions.

Participation Requirements:

  • Dogs experiencing clinical signs of large bowel disease (colon or rectum)
  • As the owner, you have elected to have a colonoscopy and biopsies performed under general anesthesia for diagnosis of the underlying disease

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Evaluation by the UCDavis VMTH Internal Medicine Service

Procedures: If you agree to participate, your dog will be anesthetized according to standard of care recommended by the Anesthesia Service. Prior to your dog’s scheduled colonoscopy, your dog will go to CT for the imaging scan using a new technique. He/she will then proceed for his/her colonoscopy/biopsy procedure as planned.

Benefits: There is no charge for you to allow your dog to participate in this clinical trial as all costs associated with the study, including the CT scan and additional anesthesia time needed to perform the CT imaging will be paid by the sponsor/department. You will additionally receive an additional $150 subsidy on your bill toward the cost of the colonoscopy procedure.

We cannot promise any benefits to your dog or other animals from your taking part in this clinical trial; however, possible benefits include improved methods of diagnosis of large bowel disease or improved surgical planning for focal large bowel problems.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will be responsible for bringing your dog to the U.C. Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) for his/her scheduled colonoscopy procedure and for covering the standard costs of the colonoscopy/biopsy/regular medical care as part of the diagnosis of your dog’s disease.

Contact: If you are interested in participating in this clinical trial, please schedule an appointment with the UCD VMTH Internal Medicine Service at 530-752-1393. For specific procedure questions, have your veterinarian contact Dr. Michele Steffey at 530-752-1393 and following the prompts for Surgery.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

NEW! 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.

Participation Requirements: In order to participate in this study, your pet must have a malignant soft tissue or bony mass. Tumor types that are likely to be amenable to this treatment include: lung tumors, liver tumors, kidney tumors, adrenal tumors, bone tumors, metastatic lymph nodes. 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: In return for participation in this study, your dog will receive free follow-up imaging at 1 month post-treatment (type of imaging dependent on location and type of tumor).

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.

Contact: Call 530-752-1393 and ask to speak to the Soft Tissue Surgery scheduling coordinators (Gigi, Conni, or Caleb) to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michele Steffey

Mouth (Dentistry and Oral Surgery)
Dental Disease: Assessing Better Diagnostics in Brachycephalic Dogs

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

Participation Requirements: Brachycephalic dogs diagnosed with dental 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 dog 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 dog 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 of the CBCT scan, you will be responsible for bringing your dog to DOSS and paying for all other fees associated with your dog’s visit and treatment.

Contact:

Dentistry and Oral Surgery Service
Tel: (530) 752-2470
Dr. Sophie Döring (Resident) (doering@ucdavis.edu)

Discolored Teeth: Evaluating Tooth Vitality

Title: Thermal assessment of pulp vitality of discolored canine teeth in dogs

Purpose of Study: To date, we relied on clinical assessment and dental radiographs of discolored teeth to decide whether or not those teeth require treatment. Both modalities have limitations. With the use of a newly developed diagnostic tool called the TOTEM device, we will hopefully be able to assess tooth vitality much more accurately via tooth temperature. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to evaluate the clinical application of the TOTEM device to assess tooth vitality.

Participation Requirements: Dogs with discolored canine teeth.

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

  • General anesthesia, clinical assessment and intraoral radiographs
  • Thermal assessment of the pulp vitality of the discolored canine tooth, which will take approximately 10 minutes
  • Appropriate, standard treatment (e.g., monitoring, extraction or root canal treatment)

Benefits: There is no charge for you to allow your dog to participate in this clinical trial as you will not be charged for the thermal measurement. However, you will need to pay the invoice that will be issued to you by the Dentistry and Oral Surgery Service for the regular diagnostics and the treatment of your dog.

At this point in the clinical trial we cannot promise any benefits to your dog or other animals. However, we are confident that this diagnostic tool will help to increase the accuracy of future treatment planning in regards to discolored teeth, no matter the species. Ultimately, our aim is to establish a new tool for diagnosis and treatment planning in regards to discolored teeth in dogs, but also in other animals.

Owner Responsibilities: Although the study will cover the costs for the thermal assessment of the discolored tooth, you will be responsible for bringing your dog to the Dentistry and Oral Surgery Service and paying for all costs associated with standard dental care.

Contact: Dentistry and Oral Surgery Service (530) 752-2470

Skin (Dermatology)
NEW! Pemphigus Foliaceus: Finding a New Treatment

Title: A Pilot Study of the Efficacy of a Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor (BTKi) in the Treatment of Dogs with Pemphigus Foliaceus (PF)

Purpose of Study: Although it is a rare skin disease, pemphigus foliaceus (PF) is the most common form of pemphigus and probably the most common cutaneous autoimmune disease in the dog. The goal of this study is to assess the efficacy of a Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase inhibitor (BTKi) as a therapy for canine pemphigus foliaceus (as pills which can also be crushed into powder in food if necessary).

Participation Requirements: Dogs weighing over 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms) that are:

  • Suspected of having or have been previously diagnosed with PF that are naïve to treatment; or,
  • Diagnosed with PF but have failed to improve with standard treatment.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures: We will collect a punch skin biopsy (using a local anesthetic and under sedation if needed) or review the histopathology report of a previously collected biopsy to confirm PF diagnosis. If the biopsy test results have confirmed the diagnosis of PF and you agree to let your dog participate in this study, the following will happen:

  • Week 1: We will perform a physical examination, collect a blood and urine sample to confirm no abnormalities, and take photographs of the lesions. This visit will require a serial blood draw to examine the drug levels in the body over a 24-hour period after the administration of one dose of the BTKi, which means that you will need to leave your dog at the VMTH for up to two nights.
  • Weeks 2, 8, 12, 16: We will perform a physical examination, collect a blood and/or urine sample, and take photographs of the lesions. No overnight stay required.
  • Weeks 4, 20:We will perform a physical examination, collect a blood and urine sample, get a skin biopsy (using a local anesthetic and under sedation if needed), and take photographs of the lesions. No overnight stay required.

Benefits: If the initial skin biopsy confirms the diagnosis of pemphigus foliaceus, the sponsor will pay for the cost of the skin biopsy and the office visit (as a credit to your account), and cover all other costs associated with this study as well as any expenses incurred as a result of adverse reactions to the experimental drug (up to $4800). Additionally, upon completion, you will be compensated $200 for taking part in this study.

We cannot promise any benefits to your dog or other animals from your taking part in this clinical trial; however, possible benefits include control of your dog’s PF while on the drug. Additionally, we hope to get a general understanding of the benefit of this drug and others closely related to it in dogs with PF and similar diseases.

Owner Responsibilities: We expect that participation in this clinical trial will last for 20 weeks. You will need to bring your dog in to scheduled appointments every week for the first month (except Week 3) and then every month after that for the next four (4) months. Additionally, you will need to give your dog the prescribed drug as instructed by the Dermatology Service at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.

If the diagnosis is not confirmed, you will be responsible for the cost of the skin biopsy and the office visit. For more information about possible costs, please contact the investigator.

Contact:

Dermatology Office: (530) 754-5908
Dr. Stephen White (sdwhite@ucdavis.edu)
Dr. Catherine Outerbridge (caouterbridge@ucdavis.edu)

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Soft Tissue Surgery
Bloat (Gastric Dilation and Volvulus): Investigating a Preventative Surgical Technique

Title: A Radiologic Percutaneous Gastropexy Technique in Dogs

Purpose of Study: Commonly referred to as "bloat", gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV) is a life-threatening syndrome that occurs when a dog’s stomach becomes distended with air and/or food and rotates. The rotation of the stomach restricts outflow of stomach contents and more importantly causes a reduction in the blood flow to the stomach wall causing death of the tissues. This disease is considered universally fatal if left untreated. Additionally, if the stomach wall is devitalized from lack of blood flow, significant post-operative care may be necessary making this surgery cost prohibitive for many owners and resulting in humane euthanasia. Performing a gastropexy has been shown to virtually eliminate the possibility of a subsequent torsion. Therefore, the goal of this study is to the evaluate if a minimally invasive gastropexy (using a T-fastener) is a viable method of performing gastropexies in dogs predisposed to developing GDV.

Participation Requirements: Dog breeds that are predisposed to gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV)

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

Procedures: Your dog will undergo non-invasive ultrasound evaluations before the procedure as well as 2 days and then 2 months after the procedure. During the procedure, your dog will be anesthetized and a T-fastener gastropexy will be performed utilizing radiography/fluoroscopy (real time “x-rays”).

Benefits: All costs associated with the study will be paid by the sponsor/department with the exception of the anesthesia (average of $300-500) and any complications that may occur as part of that procedure. For more information about possible costs, please contact the investigator.

We cannot promise any benefits to your dog or other animals from your taking part in this clinical trial; however, direct benefits of enrolling in this study include financial support for the ultrasound and procedure. We hope that the data acquired in this study will allow us to advance the treatment of our canine patients.

Owner Responsibilities: You are responsible for cost of anesthesia (average of $300-500) and any complications that may occur as part of that procedure. Dogs enrolled in this study will need an ultrasound performed before the procedure as well as 2 days post-procedure and 2 months post-procedure. If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will need to bring your dog in for an ultrasonographic evaluation 2 days post-procedure and 2 months post-procedure.

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

Printable Flyer (PDF)

UPDATED! Imaging: Sentinel Lymph Node Mapping

Title: Identification of sentinel lymph nodes with intraoperative fluorescence

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 natural disease processes.

Participation Requirements: Dogs scheduled for surgery to treat their primary tumor, and for whom clients are interested in improving their pet’s staging information by lymph node biopsy. Dogs most likely to benefit from this technique include those with primary lung tumors, mast cell tumors, oral cancers, and carcinomas in general, as these are types of tumors that tend to exhibit spread by the lymphatic system. Tumors may be external (skin associated) or internal. Dogs with severe kidney or liver disease are not eligible to participate.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Evaluation by Dr. Michele Steffey on the Soft Tissue Surgery Service.

Procedures: The best fluorophore for your pet’s tumor will be administered either subcutaneously or intravenously, at a dose and timing considered to be optimal by your attending veterinarian.

Benefits: Preliminary, not yet published results have demonstrated that the fluorescent imaging is very helpful in locating the important lymph nodes at surgery, which often reduces the amount of dissection needed, and may reduce the amount of time under anesthesia. The purpose of this study is to aid in identifying lymph nodes for improved staging (lymph node biopsy) at the time your pet’s primary tumor is removed. It is hoped, but is not known, if there will be a specific benefit to your individual pet. Depending upon your pet’s specific tumor type and the biopsy results, use of this technique and lymph node biopsy may or may not impact the postoperative treatment recommendations provided to your dog.

Owner Responsibilities: 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.

Contact: Call 530-752-1393 and ask to speak to the Soft Tissue Surgery scheduling coordinators (Gigi, Conni, or Caleb) to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michele Steffey.

Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunts: Assessing a New Treatment Technique

Title: Assessment of Outcome in Dogs Undergoing Percutaneous Transvenous Coil Embolization to Treat Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunts

Purpose of Study: The purposes of this project are to:

  1. Evaluate serum bile acid concentrations and hepatic biochemical functional parameters (BUN, albumin, cholesterol, glucose, and bilirubin) in dogs with intrahepatic portosystemic shunts both pre- and post-treatment to objectively evaluate each patient for improvement in hepatic function.
  2. Assess the improvement in the clinical signs of dogs with IHPSS after the performance of PTCE.
  3. To perform imaging studies pre- and post-PTCE that provide objective assessment of outcome associated with the PTCE procedure.

Participation Requirements: Dogs with intrahepatic portosystemic shunts

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

Procedures: Dogs with a diagnosis of intrahepatic portosystemic shunts (IHPSS) will be enrolled in the study. The dog will undergo percutanous transvenous coil embolization (PTCE) to treat his/her IHPSS. Prior to and after this procedure, diagnostics including bloodwork, nuclear scintigraphy, abdominal ultrasound and computed tomography (CT) scan will be performed and compared.

Benefits: Enrolling a dog in this study results in a significant financial incentive towards diagnostics that would be recommended for the dog whether or not he/she is enrolled in the study. This benefit includes payment of the preoperative CT scan and the postoperative bloodwork (1 chemistry panel at 3 months postoperative), ultrasound (1 at 3 months postoperative), nuclear scintigraphy scan (1 at 3 months postoperative) and CT scan (1 at 3 months postoperative).

Owner Responsibilities: Return the patient 3 months after treatment for further assessment.

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

Large Bowel Disease: Evaluating a New Diagnostic Tool

Title: Evaluation of CT as a diagnostic tool for large bowel disease in dogs

Purpose of Study: We are evaluating the benefits of a novel CT protocol for large bowel disease. Surgical planning for conditions of the large bowel can be difficult as there are many ways to surgically approach lesions of the large bowel. Appropriate surgical planning plays a large role in the success of the procedure. While existing imaging methods provide some information about the lesion, there are sometimes major limitations to the information provided. Three-dimensional imaging, such as CT, is likely to improve our understanding of the disease and, our surgical planning in cases of mass lesions.

Participation Requirements:

  • Dogs experiencing clinical signs of large bowel disease (colon or rectum)
  • As the owner, you have elected to have a colonoscopy and biopsies performed under general anesthesia for diagnosis of the underlying disease

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Evaluation by the UCDavis VMTH Internal Medicine Service

Procedures: If you agree to participate, your dog will be anesthetized according to standard of care recommended by the Anesthesia Service. Prior to your dog’s scheduled colonoscopy, your dog will go to CT for the imaging scan using a new technique. He/she will then proceed for his/her colonoscopy/biopsy procedure as planned.

Benefits: There is no charge for you to allow your dog to participate in this clinical trial as all costs associated with the study, including the CT scan and additional anesthesia time needed to perform the CT imaging will be paid by the sponsor/department. You will additionally receive an additional $150 subsidy on your bill toward the cost of the colonoscopy procedure.

We cannot promise any benefits to your dog or other animals from your taking part in this clinical trial; however, possible benefits include improved methods of diagnosis of large bowel disease or improved surgical planning for focal large bowel problems.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will be responsible for bringing your dog to the U.C. Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) for his/her scheduled colonoscopy procedure and for covering the standard costs of the colonoscopy/biopsy/regular medical care as part of the diagnosis of your dog’s disease.

Contact: If you are interested in participating in this clinical trial, please schedule an appointment with the UCD VMTH Internal Medicine Service at 530-752-1393. For specific procedure questions, have your veterinarian contact Dr. Michele Steffey at 530-752-1393 and following the prompts for Surgery.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

UPDATED!  Lung Tumors: Identifying Lymph Node Metastasis

Title: Assessment of methods of improving identification of regional lymph nodes in patients with lung cancer

Purpose of Study: Knowing whether or not there is metastatic tumor in the regional lymph nodes is very important prognostic information for dogs with lung tumors, as dogs that do not have metastatic disease in their lymph nodes in general have a much longer lifespan. Chemotherapy is often recommended for patients who have metastatic disease, but is not recommended for dogs who do not have metastatic spread. The aim of this study is to provide information that will allow us to better identify these lymph nodes at surgery, to improve the safety of surgical dissection, and to minimize surgical time during removal of these lymph nodes.

Participation Requirements:

  • A diagnosis of a solitary lung tumor
  • Your decision to pursue surgical removal of your dog’s lung tumor

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Evaluation by the V.M.T.H. Small Animal Surgery, Internal Medicine, or Oncology services. A CT scan at the VMTH is part of the normal expected surgical planning for lung tumor surgery at our institution, and is the financial responsibility of the client, but may be performed under the same anesthetic episode as the planned surgery. Dogs with severe kidney or liver disease are not eligible to participate.

Procedures: During CT and surgery, special dyes will be injected intravenously or into the lung around your dog’s tumor and uptake by the regional lymph nodes will be assessed.

Benefits: Information regarding the status of your dog’s lymph nodes is very important in prognosis for this disease. This technique will help surgeons to identify and more safely remove your dog's lymph nodes at surgery; pathology of the removed lymph node(s) will provide improved information to direct recommendations that we an give you for postoperative care and treatment. If based on the initial CT results you elect to have your dog goes to surgery as part of this study, the study will retroactively pay for the cost of your dog’s CT scan (a $900 value to you).

Owner Responsibilities: There is no anticipated additional cost to you for your dog’s participation in the study. The cost of the dyes and operative imaging are covered by the study. The primary risks of this procedure are 1) allergic reaction to the drugs used to identify the lymph nodes (very rare, but unpredictable in an individual patient (like any other drug reaction, including antibiotics)), and 2) air leakage from the lung at the site of the injection (if it occurs, this should be a short term problem, as removal of the affected lung will be performed as part of the tumor removal). 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. Standard anesthetic and surgical risks of lung surgery and lymph node surgery will apply and will be discussed at the time of your visit.

Contact: Call 530-752-1393 and ask to speak to the Soft Tissue Surgery scheduling coordinators (Gigi, Conni, or Caleb) to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michele Steffey.

Hiatal Hernia / Brachycephalic Obstructor Syndrome: Assessing a Surgical Treatment

Title: Effect of Surgical Treatment of Brachycephalic Obstructor Syndrome on the Lower Esophageal Area of Brachycephalic Dogs with Evidence of Hiatal Herniation and Gastroesophageal Reflux

Purpose of Study: We believe that brachycephalic dogs have a tendency to develop hiatal herniation (HH) with greater frequency than non-brachycephalic dogs. Dogs with relative obstruction of the upper airways may generate a decreased pressure in their chest during inspiration (breathing in) that results in the upper part of the stomach being sucked into the chest (HH). This can lead to clinical signs including regurgitation, esophageal stricture formation and aspiration pneumonia if severe. We hypothesize that, if the upper airway obstruction in these dogs can be alleviated, improvement in their respiratory compromise might be seen as well as a reduction in the severity of their HH.

Participation Requirements:

  • Brachycephalic breed (dogs with broad short skulls)
  • No evidence of other upper airway obstructive pathology (especially tracheal collapse and hypoplastic trachea)
  • No previous brachycephalic surgery
  • Evidence of hiatal herniation on fluoroscopic imaging (performed pre-operatively)

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Initial evaluation and discussion for entry into the study can be arranged by making an appointment with our Internal Medicine or Soft Tissue Surgery or by contacting Dr. Phil Mayhew directly (contact information below).

Procedures: Both visits outlined below require hospitalization for 2-4 days at the VMTH.

  • First visit:
    • Day 1: You will be asked to fill out a questionnaire about your dog’s clinical signs. We will give your dog a local anesthetic, place a small catheter down your dogs nose, and give your dog a small amount of water to swallow, so we can trace the pressure profile of your dog’s esophagus (known as high-resolution manometry or HRM study). We will then perform a barium esophagram, which involves imaging of your dog using a fluoroscope (moving x-ray machine) after he/she swallows water and food boluses. Finally, we will place a small pH-monitoring probe in you dog’s nose that will remain in place for no longer than 24-hours for continuous monitoring of the esophageal pH and will be removed prior to surgery the following day.
    • Day 2: Your dog will be prepared for surgery and given general anesthesia. Prior to surgery, we will take measurements of your dog’s lower esophageal area (impedance planimetry or Endoflip), which involves inflation of a very low-pressure balloon within the lower esophagus, and perform an upper gastrointestinal endoscopic study immediately before upper airway surgery.
  • 30 – 60 days post-surgery visit: You will need to bring your dog in for another visit between 30 and 60 days after surgery. During this visit, we need to repeat the questionnaire and the procedures outlined above to gauge the response to surgery.

Benefits: The trial will pay for all of the diagnostic tests associated with the study, including costs associated with the HRM and esophagram studies, Endoflip measurements, pH impedance studies, endosocopic studies, biopsy procedures, pathology fees as well as the hospitalization and anesthesia fees associated with the second visit to the hospital at 30-60 days post-operatively. The owner will have to cover the surgical procedure, hospitalization and any possible complications associated with the surgical procedure and recovery during the first visit.

We cannot promise any benefits to your dog or other animals from your taking part in this clinical trial; however, possible benefits include a better understanding of your dogs presence or absence of hiatal herniation which may aid in longer-term management of this component of his or her clinical signs. Results from this study may influence treatment of other dogs with similar conditions going forward.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will be responsible for bringing the dog to the VMTH for the study-related visits for the duration of the time stipulated and for providing the clinical information stipulated.

Contact:

  • Please call (530) 752-1393 to make an appointment with Soft Tissue Surgery or Internal Medicine for Dr. Phil Mayhew's study
  • Email Dr. Phil Mayhew directly at philmayhew@gmail.com

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Nasolacrimal Apparatus Blockage: A multidisciplinary, minimally invasive treatment

Title: Stenting as a Treatment for Nasolacrimal Apparatus Obstruction

Purpose of Study: Tears from the ocular surface are drained from the eye through several important structures collectively known as the nasolacrimal apparatus (NLA). This frequently becomes blocked and sometimes infected leading to discomfort, tear staining, eye discharge, and skin inflammation, all of which are associated with a decreased quality of life. Clinically, NLA obstructions can be very frustrating to treat and can often lead to permanent obstruction.

We have established a team at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital consisting of specialists with expertise in Ophthalmology, Internal Medicine, Endoscopy, Diagnostic Imaging, and Interventional Radiology and have utilized fluoroscopy to successfully treat NLA obstruction in dogs. We have utilized fluoroscopy, CT, and endoscopy and capitalized on improvements in instrumentation and minimally invasive techniques developed for catheterization of other challenging locations such as the ureters to successfully treat NLA obstruction.

To date, our team has successfully cannulated the nasolacrimal duct of 5 dogs and 1 horse referred for NLA obstruction, all of which we have managed and monitored for at least 8 weeks here at the VMTH. The initial clinical response in these patients has been extremely encouraging with all 6 cases demonstrating what the owners define as complete resolution of signs.

Based upon the success of this initial pilot study, we have initiated a clinical trial to recruit and treat more cases and to evaluate more objective outcome measures.

Participation Requirements: Dogs demonstrating signs of nasolacrimal apparatus (NLA) blockage

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None

Procedures: After an initial examination at the UCD VMTH to ensure the patient meets study entry criteria, owners will provide informed consent and complete a questionnaire concerning their dog’s signs. Patients will then undergo initial testing including CT scanning of the NLA, and NLA stenting using endoscopy and fluoroscopy. The stent will be left in position for at least 6 weeks. After stent removal, similar testing including CT scanning will again be performed, and owners will repeat the same questionnaire. Diagnostic test results from before and after stenting will be compared. Some financial subsidization of case management costs is available through the clinical trial.

Benefits: The study will subsidize costs associated with the second CT scan. Based upon results from the 6 patients in the pilot study, it is possible but not assured that your pet will have reduction or resolution of signs associated with NLA obstruction. Information acquired during this study will allow us to advance the treatment for NLA blockage for veterinary patients worldwide.

Owner Responsibilities: You will be responsible for all costs except those associated with the repeat CT scan following stent removal. Additionally, you will need to bring your dog to the VMTH for all scheduled appointments including a follow-up visit at least 6-8 weeks after the procedure. Lastly, you will be required to complete questionnaires prior to and after the NLA stenting procedure

Contact: Please call 530-752-3937 to schedule your initial visit to the UC Davis Veterinary Ophthalmology Service

Printable Flyer (PDF)

NEW! 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.

Participation Requirements: In order to participate in this study, your pet must have a malignant soft tissue or bony mass. Tumor types that are likely to be amenable to this treatment include: lung tumors, liver tumors, kidney tumors, adrenal tumors, bone tumors, metastatic lymph nodes. 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: In return for participation in this study, your dog will receive free follow-up imaging at 1 month post-treatment (type of imaging dependent on location and type of tumor).

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.

Contact: Call 530-752-1393 and ask to speak to the Soft Tissue Surgery scheduling coordinators (Gigi, Conni, or Caleb) to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michele Steffey

NEW! 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.

Participation Requirements: Dogs 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. Dogs 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.

Contact: Call 530-752-1393 and ask to speak to the Soft Tissue Surgery scheduling coordinators (Gigi, Conni, or Caleb) to schedule an appointment with Dr. Michele Steffey.

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