Dogs

Photo: Dog

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.

Cardiology

Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis: Understanding the Genetics in Bullmastiffs

Title: Genetic Investigation of Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis in Bullmastiffs

Purpose: Subvalvular aortic stenosis (SAS) is the second most common heart defect diagnosed in dogs, and the Bullmastiff breed is over-represented in incidence of SAS. Moderate and severely affected cases are at risk for developing severe cardiac complications, and have an average lifespan of 19 months. Furthermore, there is no surgical treatment available that results in an increased life expectancy for affected cases. The aim of this study is to identify genes/variants associated with SAS in Bullmastiffs that can be used to develop a genetic test.

Contact:

Participation Requirements:

  • Bullmastiffs that have been diagnosed with SAS; or
  • Parents and/or littermates of dogs with SAS

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures: 

  • If you decide to enroll your dog in this clinical trial, an echocardiogram performed by a board certified cardiologist is required.
  • Collection and submission of 2-3ml of whole blood by the owner or a veterinarian

Benefits: Results from this study can be utilized to produce an SAS genetic test for Bullmastiff. A genetic test can be used to screen predispose Bullmastiffs and guide breeding practices to reduce disease prevalence in this breed.

Owner Responsibilities: Submission of the following items:

  • 2-3ml of whole blood
  • A copy of the 3-generation pedigree (if available)
  • A copy of the veterinary report
  • Filled out enrollment form (contact Dr. Stern or Eric Ontiveros for this form)

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Atrial Fibrillation: Understanding the Genetics in Irish Wolfhounds

Title: Genetic Determinants of Atrial Fibrillation in Irish Wolfhounds

Purpose: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an arrhythmia in which the heart beats fast with no identifiable pattern of atrial activation. Although AF affects a wide variety of animals, it has a particularly high prevalence in Irish Wolfhounds suggesting a genetic predisposition. We are conducting a genetic investigation into the cause of AF in Irish Wolfhounds in order to improve our understanding of this disease and thus inform prevention and treatment practices.

Contact:

Participation Requirements:

  • Irish Wolfhounds that are older than 8 years old with or without atrial fibrillation.
  • If your Irish Wolfhound has already had a completed cardiology evaluation (exam, echocardiogram and EKG), you may be able to participate by simple submission of a blood sample.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

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

  • Complete cardiology evaluation, including a focused cardiovascular physical examination, an electrocardiogram (non-invasive measure of heart rhythm), and an echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) without the use of sedatives to determine if atrial fibrillation and/or other cardiac diseases are present.
  • Blood collection for DNA extraction, which will be used for the genetic analysis of atrial fibrillation

Benefits: All costs associated with the study will be paid for by the study. Adverse effects are not expected from a cardiac screening. If adverse events occur directly as a result of the study and your dog requires further care (e.g. hospitalization, monitoring, treatment/medications etc.) the study will cover up to $3,000 of your dog’s care.

Identification of genes will allow us to better understand and guide medical care for your dog and future dogs affected with atrial fibrillation.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will be responsible for coordinating a scheduled visit with the laboratory and bringing your dog to the scheduled appointment. Participants are responsible for paying any costs incurred that are not related to the study. The study appointment and procedures are anticipated to take approximately 2 hours and will consist of a single visit.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Irregular Heartbeat (Ventricular Arrhythmias): Reducing the Risk during Chemotherapy

Title: Use of diphenhydramine to reduced fewer infusion-related ventricular arrhythmias in dogs treated with doxorubicin

Purpose: The current recommendation for canine lymphoma treatment includes the use of a chemotherapy drug called doxorubicin. Although effective, one of the reported side effects of doxorubicin is the liberation of a molecule called histamine, which can cause ventricular arrhythmias (an irregular rhythm). The concurrent use of anti-histamine agents like diphenhydramine (commonly known as Benadryl) with doxorubicin therapy could possibly reduce these abnormal beats. Therefore, the aim of this study is to see if use of diphenhydramine can reduce the risk of arrhythmias sometimes associated with the administration of chemotherapy.

Contact:

  • Dr. Joshua A. Stern, DVM, PhD, DACVIM (Cardiology) at 530-752-4892 or jstern@ucdavis.edu
  • Dr. Jenna H Burton. DVM, MS, DACVIM (Oncology) at 530-752-0629 or jhburton@ucdavis.edu

Participation Requirements: Dogs that have been diagnosed with lymphoma

Initial Evaluation for Participation:  Should you decide to enroll your dog in the clinical trial, your pet would receive a free Echocardiogram screening before receiving Doxorubicin. This would occur at one of the chemotherapy visits prior to the first Doxorubicin treatment.

Procedures: 

  • As part of this study, your animal will receive the same diagnostic tests and care that any other dog presented to the Oncology Service would receive. If your dog participated, an anti-histamine drug (diphenhydramine) will be given at only one out of the two study visits.
  • If your dog participated, an anti-histamine drug (diphenhydramine) will be given at only one out of the two study visits.
  • To evaluate the efficacy of diphenhydramine, your dog will wear a portable and battery-operated device that measures heart's activity (Holter monitor) for 3 hours after the infusion of chemotherapy while your dog is still at the VMTH.

Benefits: If you agree to have your dog participate in this study, the screening echocardiogram and your dog’s Holter monitor will be analyzed by a board-certified veterinary cardiologist and will be free of charge. Adverse events are not expected from the use of diphenhydramine; the study will cover up to $3,000 of your dog’s care if any adverse events occur that are attributable to the investigational portion of the study (use of diphenhydramine or not as a pre-medication for doxorubicin) and your dog requires further care (e.g., hospitalization).

Results from this trial may help us to better guide medical care for your dog and future dogs affected with the same disease. The understanding of your dog’s electrocardiogram may guide medical decisions.

Owner Responsibilities: We expect that participation in this clinical trial will last for two visits of the traditional CHOP chemotherapy protocol.

Costs associated with the recommended chemotherapy protocol and patient care will be your responsibility as they are not a part of this study. Additionally, costs associated with side effects that are attributable to doxorubicin administration (decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and/or low white blood cells counts) will not be covered by the study.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Dentistry and Oral Surgery

Oral Melanoma: Finding the Best Technique to Identify Metastasis

Title: CT and PET/CT for staging of canine oral malignant melanoma

Purpose: Melanoma is the most common malignant tumor of the mouth in dogs. This tumor has a relatively high rate of metastasis (tumor spread) and detection of metastasis is important as it can impact prognosis. In human medicine, staging (looking for metastasis) for similar head and neck tumors regularly includes the functional imaging positron emission tomography (PET) combined with computed tomography (CT). Currently, there is no standardized approach in veterinary medicine to assess for metastasis in oral malignant melanoma in dogs. Previous research has found the feeling of lymph nodes on examination can be an inaccurate assessment for cancer spread as they can be normal in size and still contain tumor cells. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to compare lymph node palpation to the appearance of the local lymph nodes on CT scan and a combined PET/CT scan to histopathologic results to determine which method may be the most reliable for identification of metastatic (tumor filled) lymph nodes.

ContactThe Oncology Clinical Trial Coordinators by completing this form or giving them a call at 530-752-0125 or 530-752-9759

Participation Requirements:

  • Dogs diagnosed with oral melanoma with gross measurable disease
  • Deemed healthy enough for anesthesia
  • You have an interest in imaging (CT scan) for surgical or radiation planning

Initial Evaluation for Participation:

  • Histologic (small piece of tumor) or cytologic (needle aspirate) diagnosis of oral or lip fold malignant melanoma
  • Bloodwork/urinalysis within two weeks
  • 3-view chest x-rays within 1 month
  • Initial required diagnostics can be performed elsewhere or with UC Davis, but are not covered by the study

Procedures: As part of this study, your dog will receive the same care and assessment as any dog with oral melanoma presented to the UC Davis VMTH.

  • Day 0: PET/CT scans, which involve an injection of a radioactive tracer and hospitalization for one night
  • ≤14 days after PET/CT scans: Mandibular lymph node (found under the chin) removal at UC Davis

Benefits: This study will cover costs associated with CT and PET scans, surgical removal of your dog’s mandibular lymph node(s), anesthesia, and up to $300 for study-related adverse events.

Your dog will receive the most advanced imaging techniques to assess their tumor as well as the local lymph nodes. Results from this study will hopefully improve medical knowledge about the capabilities of CT and PET scans, potentially limit unnecessary sampling and/or removal of lymph nodes, and better guide medical care for your dog and future dogs affected with the same disease.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you must agree to having your dog’s mandibular lymph nodes removed following the CT/PET scans and would be responsible for costs associated with therapy to address your dog’s tumor such as surgery, radiation and/or systemic treatment.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Oral Melanoma: Assessing a Treatment

Title: OMX-4.80 (Zox) a novel protein oxygen transporter and radiation sensitizer for dogs with oral melanoma

Purpose: One reason tumors can be resistant to radiation therapy because of low levels of oxygen in the tumors. Another reason is that low levels of oxygen leads to local immune suppression. We anticipate that the treatment will carry oxygen to the tumor and hopefully restore normal oxygen levels to the tumor and make it more responsive to treatment.

Contact: The Oncology Clinical Trial Coordinators by completing this form or giving them a call at 530-752-0125 or 530-752-9759

Participation Requirements: Dogs diagnosed with a biopsy confirmed melanoma

Initial Evaluation for Participation:  Prior to enrollment your dog must have a physical examination, a CBC, a Chemistry Panel and Chest X-rays to make sure they are eligible for the trial.

Procedures:  It is important to note that radiotherapy treatments are being done as part of the normal treatment of this disease. If your dog is enrolled in the study, the following will be done:

  • On Day 1, On Day 1, we will administer a drug to mark oxygen levels, collect and analyze blood, biopsy your dog’s tumor under anesthesia, and do a CT scan to plan for radiation therapy and administer the oxygen carrier.
  • On Day 2, we will administer another oxygen marker and biopsy of your dog's tumor under anesthesia.
  • On Day 4, we will take blood, anesthetize your dog for an additional biopsy and begin your dog’s radiation treatment which will be once a week for four weeks.
  • After the second radiation treatment, we will collect another biopsy.
  • We will collect blood after the third and fourth radiation therapy session (each one week apart as part of the normal course of treatment).
  • In the event of death, we would strongly encourage you to allow a necropsy to be performed so we can try to determine the cause of death.

Benefits: The study will cover costs associated with study drugs, drug administration, day hospitalizations for the study, the radiation planning CT scan and the associated anesthesia, blood work for the study, and biopsies.  Additionally, the study will also cover up to $2,000 in medical costs if there is an unanticipated side effect from the study and up to $2,000 credit onto your dog’s medical bill at the end of the study to be used for the cost of radiation therapy.

Results from this study may lead to an improvement of your dog’s response to treatments such as radiotherapy.

Owner Responsibilities: We expect that participation in this clinical trial will take 5 weeks and anticipate each visit taking 6-8 hours. If you decide to have your dog participate in the trial, you will be responsible for keeping each scheduled appointment, ensuring that your dog has not eaten food for at least 12 hours prior to any anesthetic procedure, and covering costs associated with the radiation therapy required to enter the study.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Oral Tumors: Optimizing the Identification of Tumor Spread To Lymph Nodes

Title: Preoperative sentinel lymph node mapping in dogs

Purpose of Study: Successful treatment of many cancers depends on the extent of disease present at the time of diagnosis, and on accurate detection of that disease. Some oral cancers commonly spread from the mouth to nearby lymph nodes. Lymph node metastasis, if present, can influence the prognosis and treatment recommendations made for a patient. Currently, however, our standard veterinary staging protocol (aspiration cytology of the geographically nearest lymph node) misses a diagnosis of lymph node metastasis in a concerning number of patients. Because lymphatic pathways and lymph nodes of the head are very complicated and the closest lymph node is not necessarily the most likely to show disease, it is possible to miss disease because we do not know which is the best lymph node to evaluate. Lymph node mapping, a technique to visualize the lymphatic drainage of tumors, is increasingly used to improve cancer staging and treatment protocols in the treatment of cancer in people. Mapping allows identification of the “sentinel lymph node,” or lymph node that is most likely to demonstrate evidence of metastatic disease. This lymph node can then be aspirated or surgically removed with the primary tumor to be evaluated microscopically for spread of cancer. This trial is being performed to optimize a method of sentinel lymph node mapping that can be accessible to a greater number of veterinary practitioners in an effort to improve the accuracy of cancer diagnoses and treatment recommendations we make for our veterinary patients, improving their quality of life and length of time with us following diagnosis with this cancer.

Contact: If you are interested in determining whether your dog is eligible for the trial, please schedule an appointment for evaluation with one of the participating clinical services by calling the Small Animal Clinic at (530) 752-1393 and following the prompts for either Soft Tissue Surgery, Dentistry and Oral Surgery or Oncology. For general questions not related to your own dog’s eligibility, please contact Dr. Steffey (530-752-3799, masteffey@ucdavis.edu).

Participation Requirements:

  • Dogs diagnosed with an oral tumor with owners that have elected to surgically remove the tumor.
  • Ineligible: Dogs with pre-existing, palpably very large lymph nodes

Initial Evaluation for Participation: If you choose to enroll your dog, your dog will receive two CT scans on separate days: the first done for standard diagnostic/surgical planning, and the second done immediately prior to surgery. Both CT scans will be performed with contrast while under general anesthesia.

Benefits: All costs associated with this study, including the second CT scan and the 1 hour of extra anesthesia time associated with each CT scans will be paid by the sponsor. Additionally, a financial benefit of $500 will be credited to your VMTH account after your dog completes the second CT scan on the day of his/her surgery.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will be responsible for bringing your dog to the UC Davis VMTH for his/her scheduled appointments, covering costs associated with the standard diagnostic workup of your dog’s tumor, the first (diagnostic/surgical planning) CT scan, and standard costs associated with surgical removal of the oral tumor, and allowing him/her to be hospitalized for the required length of time pre- and postoperatively.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Genetics

Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis: Understanding the Genetics in Bullmastiffs

Title: Genetic Investigation of Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis in Bullmastiffs

Purpose: Subvalvular aortic stenosis (SAS) is the second most common heart defect diagnosed in dogs, and the Bullmastiff breed is over-represented in incidence of SAS. Moderate and severely affected cases are at risk for developing severe cardiac complications, and have an average lifespan of 19 months. Furthermore, there is no surgical treatment available that results in an increased life expectancy for affected cases. The aim of this study is to identify genes/variants associated with SAS in Bullmastiffs that can be used to develop a genetic test.

Contact:

Participation Requirements:

  • Bullmastiffs that have been diagnosed with SAS; or
  • Parents and/or littermates of dogs with SAS

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures: 

  • If you decide to enroll your dog in this clinical trial, an echocardiogram performed by a board certified cardiologist is required.
  • Collection and submission of 2-3ml of whole blood by the owner or a veterinarian

Benefits: Results from this study can be utilized to produce an SAS genetic test for Bullmastiff. A genetic test can be used to screen predispose Bullmastiffs and guide breeding practices to reduce disease prevalence in this breed.

Owner Responsibilities: Submission of the following items:

  • 2-3ml of whole blood
  • A copy of the 3-generation pedigree (if available)
  • A copy of the veterinary report
  • Filled out enrollment form (contact Dr. Stern or Eric Ontiveros for this form)
Atrial Fibrillation in Irish Wolfhounds

Title: Genetic Determinants of Atrial Fibrillation in Irish Wolfhounds

Purpose: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an arrhythmia in which the heart beats fast with no identifiable pattern of atrial activation. Although AF affects a wide variety of animals, it has a particularly high prevalence in Irish Wolfhounds suggesting a genetic predisposition. We are conducting a genetic investigation into the cause of AF in Irish Wolfhounds in order to improve our understanding of this disease and thus inform prevention and treatment practices.

Contact:

Participation Requirements:

  • Irish Wolfhounds that are older than 8 years old with or without atrial fibrillation
  • If your Irish Wolfhound has already had a completed cardiology evaluation (exam, echocardiogram and EKG), you may be able to participate by simple submission of a blood sample.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

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

  • Complete cardiology evaluation, including a focused cardiovascular physical examination, an electrocardiogram (non-invasive measure of heart rhythm), and an echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) without the use of sedatives to determine if atrial fibrillation and/or other cardiac diseases are present.
  • Blood collection for DNA extraction, which will be used for the genetic analysis of atrial fibrillation

Benefits: All costs associated with the study will be paid for by the study. Adverse effects are not expected from a cardiac screening. If adverse events occur directly as a result of the study and your dog requires further care (e.g. hospitalization, monitoring, treatment/medications etc.) the study will cover up to $3,000 of your dog’s care.

Identification of genes will allow us to better understand and guide medical care for your dog and future dogs affected with atrial fibrillation.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will be responsible for coordinating a scheduled visit with the laboratory and bringing your dog to the scheduled appointment. Participants are responsible for paying any costs incurred that are not related to the study. The study appointment and procedures are anticipated to take approximately 2 hours and will consist of a single visit.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Primary Glaucoma in American Cocker Spaniels

Title: Proteomics and genomics of primary glaucoma in the dog

Purpose of Study: Glaucoma is a disease that is a common cause of blindness worldwide in human and canine patients. We are interested in characterizing this disease better with hopes of identifying protein biomarkers or the genetic components of this disease.

Contact: Monica Motta at mjmotta@ucdavis.edu or 530-752-6967

Participation Requirements: 

  • Healthy American Cocker Spaniels that are at least 10 years old with normal eyes
  • American Cocker Spaniels diagnosed with primary glaucoma

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures:

  • Limited Diagnostic Testing
    • A full ophthalmic examination
    • An eye pressure test prior to and after dilation
    • Dilation of the eyes to examine the back of the eyes
    • Corneal thickness measurements via ultrasonic pachymetry
    • Fluorescein staining to assess for corneal ulcers
    • Digital photographs of the eye
    • Gonioscopy to assess the drainage angles in the eye
    • Non-invasive A-Scan/B-Scan to determine the length of the ocular globe
    • Blood collection for genetic analysis
  • Advanced Diagnostic Imaging
    • If required, advanced ocular imaging, including digital slit lamp photography, spectral domain optical coherence tomography (non-contact imaging), ultrasound biomicroscopy and fundus photography to image the retina
    • Sedation may be required for some of the advanced diagnostic testing procedures.

Benefits: The study will cover cost associated with the ophthalmic examination, ocular diagnostic testing, sedation, advanced ophthalmic imaging and blood collection. In addition, the study will cover costs of any complications from the ophthalmic examination, diagnostic testing, gonioscopy, sedation, or blood sampling will be covered by the study up to $200.

Results from this study may lead to our improved ability to better predict the onset and progression of this disease. If a gene or effect through diagnostics that causes this disease is found, then we may be able to develop a genetic test or future diagnostic tests to know identify which dogs have or do not have this disease.

Owner Responsibilities: Although we expect to gain the majority of information from your dog in a single visit, we may want to do additional tests if your dog has a glaucomatous attack. We anticipate a maximum of 4 visits over a 2-year period for your dog. You will be responsible for filling out a questionnaire and survey regarding your dog’s history, monitoring the well-being of your dog at home and report any changes or side effects to us, and withhold food from your dog the morning prior to the appointment so that your dog can be sedated for advanced ocular examination. You will also be responsible for covering any costs (beyond $200) related to complications, diagnostic testing, gonioscopy, sedation or blood sampling.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Old Age (Longevity) in Large Breeds

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

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

Contact: Dr. Rob Rebhun (rbrebhun@ucdavis.edu

Participation Requirements: Large breeds that are over 50 lbs and 12 years old (or older) with particular interest in Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Boxers, German Shepherds and any giant breeds

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 Drs. Bannasch or Rebhun (details above).

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

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

Printable Flyer (PDF) - Golden Retrievers

Fungal Infections (Aspergillus spp) in German Shepherds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and Hungarian Vizslas

Title: Genetic analysis of the susceptibility to systemic Aspergillus infections in dogs

Purpose: Systemic fungal infections such as aspergillosis are rare in animals with a competent immune system; however, certain dog breeds (namely the German shepherd, Rhodesian ridgeback and Hungarian vizsla) are reported to have a higher risk of this uncommon disease. A genetic etiology is suspected to cause this over-representation. We propose to use a technique called genome-wide association analysis to evaluate the differences in the genetic material of affected dogs (dogs infected with Aspergillus spp.).

Contact: Dr. Jonathan Dear, DVM, DACVIM at jddear@ucdavis.edu

Participation Requirements:

  • German Shepherds with systemic Aspergillus spp. infections
  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks with systemic Aspergillus spp. infections
  • Hungarian Vizslas with systemic Aspergillus spp. infections

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 Dr. Jonathan Dear (details above).

Benefits: Results from this study will hopefully lead to the development of DNA tests that would identify dogs at risk for developing systemic aspergillosis. These tests would help simplify the diagnosis of the disease by identifying at risk individuals and allow breeders to avoid producing affected dogs. Furthermore, if the genetic traits responsible for this disease in dogs are shared with human patients, precision medicine can be used to help develop targeted therapies to treat this life-threatening disease.

Owner Responsibilities: You or the referring veterinarian need to collect and submit a blood sample and medical records.

Printable Flyers

  • German Shepherds (PDF)
  • Vizslas (PDF)
  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks (PDF)
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.

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).

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: You or the referring veterinarian need to collect and submit a blood sample.

Publication

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.

Contact: Katie Lucot (kllucot@ucdavis.edu)

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.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy in Boston Terriers, German Shorthaired Pointers and German Wirehaired Pointers

Title: Phenotype and Genotype of Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy in Boston Terriers, German Shorthaired Pointers and German Wirehaired 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 Boston Terriers, German Shorthaired Pointers and German Wirehaired 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 Boston Terriers, German Shorthaired Pointers and German Wirehaired Pointers. In order to do this, we will perform thorough eye examinations and use non-invasive advanced imaging techniques to examine Boston Terriers, German Shorthaired Pointers and German Wirehaired 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 Boston Terriers, German Shorthaired Pointers and German Wirehaired Pointers. The ultimate goal will be to develop a genetic test for CED in Boston Terriers, German Shorthaired Pointers and German Wirehaired Pointers and possibly other breeds, such as Chihuahuas and Dachshunds, with an increased risk of CED.

Contact: Monica Motta at mjmotta@ucdavis.edu or 530-752-6967

Participation Requirements:

  • Boston Terriers, German Shorthaired Pointers and German Wirehaired Pointers with Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy
  • Healthy Boston Terriers, German Shorthaired Pointers and German Wirehaired Pointers (>7 years of age)

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

Procedures:

  • Blood collection for DNA analysis
  • Ophthalmic examination, including digital slit lamp biomicroscopy, Schirmer tear test followed by dilation and staining of the eye wtih fluroescein and digital photography
  • Noninvasive advanced corneal imaging with ultrasonic pachymetry, confocal biomicroscopy and spectral domain-optical coherence tomography (all of which will require sedation)

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.

Printable Flyer for Boston Terriers (PDF)
Printable Flyer for German Shorthaired Pointers (PDF)

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.

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).

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: You or the referring veterinarian need to collect and submit a blood sample.

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.

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

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: You or the referring veterinarian need to submit a blood sample in an EDTA tube from their affected dog for DNA extraction.

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.

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

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: You or the referring veterinarian need to collect and submit a blood sample.

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.

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).

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: You or the referring veterinarian need to collect and submit a blood sample.

Dry Eye Syndrome (Keratoconjunctivitis sicca) 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.

Contact: Monica Motta at mjmotta@ucdavis.edu or 530-752-6967

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. If a corneal ulcer occurs at the time of evaluation, the cost of medications, recheck examinations, and procedures (e.g., cotton-tipped applicator or Diamond burr debridement, grid keratotomy) will be performed at no cost to you if they are performed at UC Davis. If a surgical procedure is required, you will receive $200 of compensation towards the procedure if it is performed at UC Davis. If your dog has KCS, you will be compensated for taking part in this study with 2 months worth of immunosuppressive medication (e.g., cyclosporine/tacrolimulus) ointment or drops. The study will also cover the costs of any complications from the sedation, blood sampling or imaging up to $200.

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) beyond $200. Additionally, please do not administer any medications to treat your dog’s dry eye for one week 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.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Sebaceous Adenitis in Multiple Breeds

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.

Contact:

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: You or the referring veterinarian need to send in the study form in addition to a blood sample or buccal swab per the instructions on the study form.

Publication

Ectopic Ureters in Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Newfoundlands and Siberian Huskies

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

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.

ContactEric Ontiveros (esontiveros@ucdavis.edu)

Participation Requirements: Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Newfoundlands and Siberian Huskies 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, Newfoundlands and Siberian Huskies, 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, Newfoundlands and Siberian Huskies. 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 and medical records.

Printable Flyer for Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers and Newfoundlands(PDF)

Printable Flyer for Siberian Huskies (PDF)

Internal Medicine

HypothyroidismEvaluating Current Treatment Strategies

Title: Crossover clinical study to evaluate two doses of levothyroxine for thyroxine replacement therapy in hypothyroid dogs

Purpose:  Hypothyroidism is a commonly diagnosed hormonal disease in the dog. Thyroid hormone supplementation is the treatment of choice for this disease and is routinely started at a dose of 0.02 mg/kg administered every 12 hours. Recent clinical experience suggests that some dogs may respond to lower doses of thyroid hormone supplementation. We are currently investigating whether dogs with hypothyroidism can be successfully treated using a lower dose of thyroid hormone and the best way to monitor this treatment.

ContactDr. Sean Hulsebosch at shulsebosch@ucdavis.edu 

Participation Requirements: Dogs diagnosed with hypothyroidism

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures: If you are willing to have your dog participate in this study, the following will happen:

  • You will need to administer one dose of thyroid hormone orally twice a day for a month.
  • A month after initiating treatment, you will need to bring your dog back to the VMTH to spend a 12-hour day in the hospital. During this time, we will be obtaining a blood sample upon arrival, and then multiple blood smaples through the day following administration of the thyroid hormone.
  • A new 30-day supply of thyroid hormone supplement will be dispensed. You will need to administer this dose twice a day for one month. The same blood sampling will be performed 30 days later as outlined above.

Benefits:  If you choose to enroll your dog, the study will cover the cost of all tests discussed above (thyroid panel, additional subsequent TSH and T4 levels for two months while enrolled in the study), and day case hospitalization. Upon completion of the study, a six month supply of thyroid hormone supplement at the appropriate dose for your dog will be dispensed to you and covered by the study.

Results from this study may help to improve assessment and treatment of hypothyroidism and allow for a customized dose adjustment thereby preventing unnecessary overdosing of medication.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will be responsible for:

  • Giving oral thyroid supplementation at home twice daily (every 12 hour)
  • Bringing your dog in for the scheduled study visits
  • Covering the cost of the initial exam and any necessary lab work deemed necessary to determine if your dog is eligible

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Cystine Bladder Stones: Investigating an Oral Nutraceutical Treatment

Title: The effects of an oral nutraceutical on the solubility of cystine in canine urine

Purpose: 

  • Cystine bladder stones are common in both dogs and humans. This disease occurs due to a genetic predisposition, which occurs in many breeds of dogs. Therapeutic preventive strategies are limited.
  • Clinical signs can be mild or result in urethral obstruction in male dogs.
  • In a collaborative effort between the University of California San Francisco and The Buck Institute, the aim of this study is to evaluate the effects of an oral nutraceutical on cystine solubility in the urine.

Contact: Jodi L. Westropp DVM PhD DACVIM at stonelab@ucdavis.edu, Sean Hulsebosch DVM DACVIM at shulsebosch@ucdavis.edu, or make an appointment by calling (530) 752 – 1393.

Participation Requirements:

  • Dogs with a history of cystine stones
  • Healthy dogs with no history of cystine stones of similar breeds

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Known documented history of cystine stones

Procedures: 

  • A physical exam, abdominal ultrasound, blood and urine testing will be performed.
  • No follow-up visits will be required; however, urine samples will need to be collected at home after receiving the oral nutraceutical for one week.

Benefits: 

  • Free screening and diagnostic testing for your pet, including abdominal ultrasound, bloodwork and urinalyses
  • We hope that the data acquired in this study will allow us to advance the prevention of cystine bladder stones in both pets and people.

Owner Responsibilities:

  • Keeping the scheduled appointment
  • Administering the oral nutraceutical for 7 days
  • Three, at-home urine collections while administering the medication to your dog

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Urinary Incontinence: Using a New Device for Treatment

Title: Use of radiofrequency urethral thermoplasty for the treatment of urinary incontinence

Purpose: Medical therapy using either phenylpropanolamine or synthetic estrogen, alone or in combination is currently considered first line medical therapy for urinary incontinence. While studies have shown that these medications are effective in some patients, both have potential side effects and life-long therapy is generally required. Various surgical treatment options have also been described for those dogs that do not respond to medical management or experience adverse effects from medications; however, these procedures are invasive, require considerable surgical skill to perform and are not always successful. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to test a new device, which uses heat to alter the structure of collagen in the wall of the urethra and thereby strengthen the wall and decrease leakage), to treat urinary incontinence in female dogs.

Contact: Dr. Bill Culp (wculp@ucdavis.edu), Dr. Carrie Palm (cpalm@ucdavis.eduor make an appointment by calling (530) 752-1393

Participation Requirements: Female dogs demonstrating signs of urinary incontinence

Initial Evaluation for Participation: To be performed by Dr. Palm or Dr. Culp

Procedures: 

  • Testing related to urinary incontinence, including bloodwork, abdominal ultrasound and possibly cystourethroscopy (camera evaluation of the urethra and urinary bladder)
  • Urethral procedure under general anesthesia once your dog is deemed a candidate

Benefits: The study will cover costs associated with anesthesia, the urethral procedure and hospitalization.

We hope that the data acquired in this study will allow us to advance the treatment of our canine patients.

Owner Responsibilities: This study requires 1-year time commitment, although future follow-up may be recommended. You will be responsible for covering costs associated with initial diagnostics including bloodwork, abdominal ultrasound and cystourethroscopy, keeping all scheduled appointments and follow-up visits, and filling out a urination diary throughout the study.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Bladder Stones (Struvite): Dissolution via Diet

Title: Use of Canine Struvite Dissolution Diet in the Management of Infection Induced Struvite Stones in Dogs

Purpose: We hope to provide another option to struvite stone dissolution in dogs. The purpose of this trial is to evaluate the efficacy of a therapeutic diet for struvite dissolution in dogs.

Contact: Dr. Jodi Westropp at stonelab@ucdavis.edu or make an appointment by calling (530) 752-1393

Participation Requirements:

  • Dogs with radiodense bladder stone(s) and concurrent UTI with a urease-producing bacteria, such as Staphylococcus spp., Klebsiella spp. or Proteus spp.
  • Exclusion Criteria:
    • Dogs with concurrent disorders (e.g., diabetes mellitus)
    • Dogs consuming urinary prevention/dissolution diets
    • Dogs receiving antibiotics for more than 5 days (NOTE: Contact us when you are aware of these cases and we can usually see them within 24 hours)

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures: 

  • Blood and urine collection
  • Abdominal x-rays and ultrasound to document the size of the bladder stones (sedation and/or a cleansing enema may also be required)
  • Completion of a short daily questionnaire regarding your pet’s clinical signs during the study duration
  • Recheck evaluations will be scheduled at 2, and 4 weeks, and then monthly until stone dissolution or study failure.
  • If your dog’s stones do not dissolve in the time period stated, they will be removed via the most appropriate method (e.g., laser lithotripsy, surgery, or voiding urohydropropulsion) following a discussion with you.

Benefits: The study will cover all costs associated with participation and provide food free of charge for the duration of the study.

Results from this trial may help determine another dietary method for non-invasive struvite dissolution in dogs.

Owner Responsibilities: We expect that participation in this clinical trial will last approximately 4-28 weeks unless otherwise discussed. If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will be responsible for coming to all scheduled appointments, feeding the test diet exclusively, and completing the questionnaire as described previously.

Owner - Printable Flyer (PDF
Referring Veterinarian - Printable Flyer (PDF)

Fungal Infections (Aspergillus spp) in German Shepherds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and Hungarian Vizslas

Title: Genetic analysis of the susceptibility to systemic Aspergillus infections in dogs

Purpose: Systemic fungal infections such as aspergillosis are rare in animals with a competent immune system; however, certain dog breeds (namely the German shepherd, Rhodesian ridgeback and Hungarian vizsla) are reported to have a higher risk of this uncommon disease. A genetic etiology is suspected to cause this over-representation. We propose to use a technique called genome-wide association analysis to evaluate the differences in the genetic material of affected dogs (dogs infected with Aspergillus spp.).

Contact: Dr. Jonathan Dear, DVM, DACVIM at jddear@ucdavis.edu

Participation Requirements:

  • German Shepherds with systemic Aspergillus spp. infections
  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks with systemic Aspergillus spp. infections
  • Hungarian Vizslas with systemic Aspergillus spp. infections

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 Dr. Jonathan Dear (details above).

Benefits: Results from this study will hopefully lead to the development of DNA tests that would identify dogs at risk for developing systemic aspergillosis. These tests would help simplify the diagnosis of the disease by identifying at risk individuals and allow breeders to avoid producing affected dogs. Furthermore, if the genetic traits responsible for this disease in dogs are shared with human patients, precision medicine can be used to help develop targeted therapies to treat this life-threatening disease.

Owner Responsibilities: You or the referring veterinarian need to collect and submit a blood sample and medical records.

Printable Flyers

  • German Shepherds (PDF)
  • Vizslas (PDF)
  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks (PDF)
Cushing's Disease (Hyperadrenocorticism): Improving Diagnostic Values

Title: Evaluation of post-dexamethasone cortisol value used to diagnose hyperadrenocorticism in dogs

Purpose of Study: The cut off values previously used to diagnose hyperadrenocorticism, or Cushing’s disease, were first determined over 30 years ago. Since then, there have been significant advancements in laboratory equipment and techniques as well as the clinician’s ability to identify this disease as a differential diagnosis. The goal of this study is to re-evaluate the cut off values used to diagnose hyperadrenocorticism in dogs.

Contact: Dr. Sean Hulsebosch (shulsebosch@ucdavis.edu)  or Dr. Laura Lim or (lkylim@ucdavis.edu)

Participation Requirements: Adult dogs suspected to have hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s disease; either pituitary or adrenal dependent) prior to receiving any medical therapy.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: An appointment with the VMTH Internal Medicine Service will be necessary to confirm eligibility for study, please note to reception staff that you are interested in this study.

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

  • Day 1: We will collect a blood and urine sample for analysis, assess blood pressure, and need you to collect two urine samples from your pet at home prior to arrival and bring these with you. These samples should be collected first thing in the morning for two consecutive days prior to arrival, and kept refrigerated. You will be required to complete the study questionnaire. This can be performed with initial appointment or an initial assessment and consultation can be performed with you to schedule an additional visit for enrollment and sample collection.
  • Day 2: We will perform an ACTH stimulation test and an abdominal ultrasound.
  • Day 3: We will perform an 8-hour low-dose dexamethasone suppression test which requires a 8-12 hour fast.
  • We may contact you or your regular veterinarian in the future by telephone or email to follow-up on your dog and request that you schedule an appointment for recheck.

Benefits: Dogs suspected to having hyperadrenocorticism will assist in evaluation of cut off values used to make a diagnosis of hyperadrenocorticism. The study will cover the cost of the abdominal ultrasound, one of the urine cortisol creatinine ratios, endogenous ACTH level, ACTH stimulation test, low dose dexamethasone suppression test, and cost associated with hospitalization during the day. 

Owner Responsibilities: We expect that participation in this clinical trial will last for a total of 3 (non consecutive) days. Testing must be performed before any treatment is initiated. You will be responsible for keeping all scheduled appointments and covering the cost of the treatment of hyperadrenocorticism, initial examination, initial laboratory evaluation (CBC, chemistry panel, urinalysis and urine culture), urine cortisol creatinine ratio, blood pressure, along with any additional testing recommended by the clinician managing the case. These tests would be standard in evaluation of any dog suspected to have hyperadrenocorticism.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Neurology and Neurosurgery

Intervertebral Disc Herniation: Understanding the Condition in Dachshunds

Title: Phosphorylated heavy chain neurofilament as a biomarker in dogs with intervertebral disc herniation

Purpose: Intervertebral disc herniation commonly results in compression and bruising of the spinal cord in dogs, and is commonly seen in dachshunds. Surgery to remove disc material compressing the spinal cord leads to recovery of function in almost all dachshunds that still have pain sensation in their pelvic limbs but the outcome is much more variable when pain sensation has already been lost. Additionally, about 10% of the most severely affected dogs develop a fatal destruction of their spinal cord (myelomalacia) regardless of our attempts to intervene. For dogs that have lost pain sensation, we know that approximately half of them, if surgery is performed promptly, will recover the ability to walk on their own, but we do not have a good means of predicting which dogs will improve following surgery, and how quickly or completely this will happen. The purpose of this study is to assess the utility of pNF-H, a biomarker released from damaged axons of the spinal cord into the bloodstream, to predict return of function following surgery in dachshunds without pain sensation in their hind limbs due to disc herniation.

Contact:

Participation Requirements: Dachshunds with spinal cord injury from intervertebral disc herniation in the thoracolumbar region both with and without pain sensation in the hindlimbs

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Before your dog begins the study, your dog will need to have a blood sample collected, physical and neurological examination, MRI or CT of the thoracolumbar spine to verify disc herniation, and surgical removal of herniated disc material to decompress the spinal cord.

Procedures: If your dog is determined to be eligible for the study and you choose to enroll them, your dog will receive routine diagnostics and treatment as well as the following as part of the study:

  • Blood collection every 12 hours following surgery for up to 5 days and then at the 2-week postoperative recheck visit
  • Neurologic examination at 2-weeks post-surgery and then again at 6-weeks and 3-months post-surgery (for dogs without hindlimb sensation prior to surgery)

Benefits: The study will cover the follow-up examinations and bloodwork while at the VMTH and at the 2-week follow-up (dogs with sensation prior to surgery). For dogs without sensation prior to surgery, an additional 6-week and 3-month follow-up examination will be covered.

While there is no direct medical or financial benefit to your pet’s initial care, this study may result in an ability for us to better predict outcome for dogs in a similar situation as yours in the future.

Owner Responsibilities: We expect your participation in this trial will last for up to 3 months. If you wish to have your pet participate in this study, you will be responsible for covering all routine diagnostic procedures and treatment, bringing your dog to the VMTH, keeping all scheduled appointments, alerting the study veterinarians if your dog regains the ability to walk without assistance while at home between those visits.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Brain Tumors: Assessing a New Drug Delivery System

Title: MPR nanoparticles to define brain tumor margins in canine primary brain tumors: Phase I pilot study

Purpose: This clinical trial is being done to investigate whether small particles called nanoporhphyrins can be used to better visualize tumors during surgery and potentially to see if they will be a useful method to deliver drugs into brain tumors for treatment.

ContactContact Lisa Winn (Neurology Scheduling Coordinator) at llwinn@ucdavis.edu or (530) 752-1393 and follow the prompts for Neurology/Neurosurgery

Participation Requirements: Dogs provisionally diagnosed with a brain tumor

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

  • Administration of nanoparticles approximately 12-36 hours, collection of blood and urine for analysis prior to surgery
  • Brain surgery to remove the tumor (standard therapy for brain tumors)
  • Blood collection 1-week post-administration of nanoparticles

Benefits: The study will provide up to $5,000 credit towards your dog’s treatment. 

We hope that this technique will help us to better visualize the tumor on MRI, allowing for better planning of the surgery. Information obtained from your dog's treatment may help to further develop this type of treatment for both dogs and humans and could improve the treatment in both species in the future.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will be responsible for keeping all scheduled appointments, and covering the costs of your dog’s standard treatment during the clinical trial and any complications arising from that treatment or from the clinical trial procedures. 

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Nutrition

NEW! Healthy Dogs: Assessing Amino Acid Concentrations in Urine

Title: Amino Acid Concentrations in the Urine of Healthy Dogs

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

Contact:

Participation Requirements:

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

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

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

Benefits: 

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

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

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Cystine Bladder Stones: Investigating an Oral Nutraceutical Treatment

Title: The effects of an oral nutraceutical on the solubility of cystine in canine urine

Purpose: 

  • Cystine bladder stones are common in both dogs and humans. This disease occurs due to a genetic predisposition, which occurs in many breeds of dogs. Therapeutic preventive strategies are limited.
  • Clinical signs can be mild or result in urethral obstruction in male dogs.
  • In a collaborative effort between the University of California San Francisco and The Buck Institute, the aim of this study is to evaluate the effects of an oral nutraceutical on cystine solubility in the urine.

Contact: Jodi L. Westropp DVM PhD DACVIM at stonelab@ucdavis.edu, Sean Hulsebosch DVM DACVIM at shulsebosch@ucdavis.edu, or make an appointment by calling (530) 752 – 1393.

Participation Requirements:

  • Dogs with a history of cystine stones
  • Healthy dogs with no history of cystine stones of similar breeds

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Known documented history of cystine stones

Procedures: 

  • A physical exam, abdominal ultrasound, blood and urine testing will be performed.
  • No follow-up visits will be required; however, urine samples will need to be collected at home after receiving the oral nutraceutical for one week.

Benefits: 

  • Free screening and diagnostic testing for your pet, including abdominal ultrasound, bloodwork and urinalyses
  • We hope that the data acquired in this study will allow us to advance the prevention of cystine bladder stones in both pets and people.

Owner Responsibilities:

  • Keeping the scheduled appointment
  • Administering the oral nutraceutical for 7 days
  • Three, at-home urine collections while administering the medication to your dog

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Bladder Stones (Struvite): Dissolution via Diet

Title: Use of Canine Struvite Dissolution Diet in the Management of Infection Induced Struvite Stones in Dogs

Purpose: We hope to provide another option to struvite stone dissolution in dogs. The purpose of this trial is to evaluate the efficacy of a therapeutic diet for struvite dissolution in dogs.

Contact: Dr. Jodi Westropp at stonelab@ucdavis.edu or make an appointment by calling (530) 752-1393

Participation Requirements:

  • Dogs with radiodense bladder stone(s) and concurrent UTI with a urease-producing bacteria, such as Staphylococcus spp., Klebsiella spp. or Proteus spp.
  • Exclusion Criteria:
    • Dogs with concurrent disorders (e.g., diabetes mellitus)
    • Dogs consuming urinary prevention/dissolution diets
    • Dogs receiving antibiotics for more than 5 days (NOTE: Contact us when you are aware of these cases and we can usually see them within 24 hours)

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures: 

  • Blood and urine collection
  • Abdominal x-rays and ultrasound to document the size of the bladder stones (sedation and/or a cleansing enema may also be required)
  • Completion of a short daily questionnaire regarding your pet’s clinical signs during the study duration
  • Recheck evaluations will be scheduled at 2, and 4 weeks, and then monthly until stone dissolution or study failure.
  • If your dog’s stones do not dissolve in the time period stated, they will be removed via the most appropriate method (e.g., laser lithotripsy, surgery, or voiding urohydropropulsion) following a discussion with you.

Benefits: The study will cover all costs associated with participation and provide food free of charge for the duration of the study.

Results from this trial may help determine another dietary method for non-invasive struvite dissolution in dogs.

Owner Responsibilities: We expect that participation in this clinical trial will last approximately 4-28 weeks unless otherwise discussed. If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will be responsible for coming to all scheduled appointments, feeding the test diet exclusively, and completing the questionnaire as described previously.

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Referring Veterinarian - Printable Flyer (PDF)

Oncology

Lymphoma: Assessing a New Treatment

Title: Evaluation of Fermented Wheat Germ Protein in Canine Lymphoma

Purpose of Study: Fermented wheat germ protein (FWGP) has been shown to be a potent immune modulator that could activate immune cells called Natural Killer (NK) cells. The purpose of this trial is to determine if FWGP promotes anti-cancer immunity and to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the FWGP product when administered orally in dogs with lymphoma.

Contact: The Oncology Clinical Trial Coordinators by completing this form or giving them a call at 530-752-0125 or 530-752-9759

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Prior to treatment, your dog will undergo a physical examination, routine blood tests, urinalysis, abdominal ultrasound, and a sample of the lymph node will be obtained (fine needle aspirate).

Participation Requirements: Dogs diagnosed with lymphoma

Procedures:

  • At Enrollment: We will do a physical exam, measure lymph node, will collect a blood sample, and send you home with FWGP capsules to be given daily by mouth until the completion of the study or unless directed otherwise by the veterinarian.
  • Days 7, 14, and 21: We will do a physical exam, collect a blood sample and measure tumor size.
  • Day 28: We will measure tumor size.
  • There will be re-evaluations every 14 days, which will involve a physical examination and tumor measurements, until Day 56.

Benefits: Upon enrollment, the study will cover the costs associated with appointments, blood tests, and FWGP capsules. In addition, the study will provide up to $1,000 to cover medical interventions from study-related adverse events, however, treatment of adverse events can only be covered at the UC Davis VMTH.

FWGP may help treat for your dog’s lymphoma. If the clinical trial is successful, there may be additional clinical trials for dogs (and possibly humans) in the future.

Owner Responsibilities: We expect that participation in this clinical trial will last for 56 days. During the study period, you are responsible for administering the FWGP daily at home, bringing your dog to all scheduled appointments, notifying the investigator or the oncology trials service if you suspect any adverse side effects, as well as covering any costs associated with disease progression and those exceeding $1,000 for study-related adverse events.

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Lymphoma: Evaluating a Novel Formulation of Chemotherapy

Title: Phase 1 Evaluation of Nanomicelle Encapsulated Doxorubicin in Dogs with Lymphoma

Purpose of Study: Doxorubicin is a highly effective drug for the treatment of lymphoma, both in people and in dogs. However, doxorubicin administration is associated with some well-known side effects. These toxicities limit the dose of doxorubicin that can be administered to patients and less toxic formulations of this doxorubicin are needed to improve the health of dogs and people undergoing cancer treatment.

Doxorubicin can be loaded into nanoparticles, such as liposomes and micelles, which may allow for better penetration of the drug into the tumor, decrease tumor resistance to doxorubicin and decrease the frequency and severity of side effects of doxorubicin. A micelle-encapsulated formulation of doxorubicin has been developed and through this clinical trial, we are evaluating the dose that can be administered and the safety of the micelle formulation of doxorubicin when given to dogs with lymphoma.

Contact: The Oncology Clinical Trial Coordinators by completing this form or giving them a call at 530-752-0125 or 530-752-9759

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Your dog must have previously been diagnosed with lymphoma and have a complete blood count, biochemical profile and urinalysis performed to ensure potential eligibility.

Participation Requirements: Dogs diagnosed with multi-centric lymphoma with a minimum weight of 33 pounds and at least one lymph node on the outside of the body that measures 2 cm or larger. Dogs must be generally feeling well and have adequate organ function based on blood work. Dogs may have previously been treated with chemotherapy but may not have received more than two doses of doxorubicin prior to study enrollment.

Procedures: If enrolled into this study:

  • Prior to the first day of treatment, your dog will have a echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) performed to ensure function of the heart is adequate to participate in the study. Immunophenotyping will also be submitted, if not already performed previously, to determine if your dog has B-cell or T-cell lymphoma. These tests are covered by the study and are at no cost to you.
  • On the first day of the study (day 0), your dog will receive the first dose of the doxorubicin-micelles and then have small amounts of blood collected throughout the day to determine how the body metabolizes the drug. Dogs will need to be hospitalized that first night to collect samples 12 and 24 hours after the first treatment.
  • Dogs will need to be evaluated again on Day 2 and Day 4 of the study for a physical examination and blood collection.
  • Dogs will be evaluated weekly on Day 7 and Day 14 for a physical examination with measurements of the lymph nodes as well as collection of blood and urine to ensure your pet is tolerating the drug.
  • Dogs will then return every three weeks on Day 21, 42 and 63 for an examination, lymph node measurements, collection of blood and urine and an infusion of the doxorubicin-micelles, if your pet is tolerating the drug and the lymph nodes are not increasing in size. Dogs that are tolerating therapy and responding to therapy will receive a total of 4 doses of the study drug once every three weeks.
  • After day 63, your dog will be examined monthly to ensure remission status until 6 months from the time of study enrollment.
  • Your dog will receive a second echocardiogram to check the function of your dog’s heart at this 6-month visit, after which your pet’s study participation will be complete.

Benefits: After determining if your dog is eligible with the necessary tests and blood work and you have been informed of conventional treatment options, you will be offered entry to this clinical trial. Costs associated with this study will be covered as part of your participation. In the event any complications arise during the study period, their management will be covered by study funds up to $1000/per dog. This would include any unanticipated hospitalizations. Care for any complications while on study must be provided at the UC Davis VMTH in order to have the costs covered by the study; costs incurred at other veterinary hospitals cannot be reimbursed.

While doxorubicin is a chemotherapy drug known to be beneficial in the treatment of dogs with lymphoma, we do not know if there will be a direct therapeutic benefit to your dogs for taking part in this trial and receiving this micelle-encapsulated formulation of doxorubicin.

Owner Responsibilities:

  • Prior to entry into this study, your dog must have a confirmed diagnosis of lymphoma and staging tests to ensure his/her general health and to evaluate how advanced the disease is prior to treatment; you are responsible for the cost of these diagnostic and staging tests.
  • Once enrolled in the clinical trial, you are responsible for scheduling and keeping all appointments needed for study participation and reporting any side effects of the drug to your doctor in a timely manner.
Oral Melanoma: Finding the Best Technique to Identify Metastasis

Title: CT and PET/CT for staging of canine oral malignant melanoma

Purpose: Melanoma is the most common malignant tumor of the mouth in dogs. This tumor has a relatively high rate of metastasis (tumor spread) and detection of metastasis is important as it can impact prognosis. In human medicine, staging (looking for metastasis) for similar head and neck tumors regularly includes the functional imaging positron emission tomography (PET) combined with computed tomography (CT). Currently, there is no standardized approach in veterinary medicine to assess for metastasis in oral malignant melanoma in dogs. Previous research has found the feeling of lymph nodes on examination can be an inaccurate assessment for cancer spread as they can be normal in size and still contain tumor cells. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to compare lymph node palpation to the appearance of the local lymph nodes on CT scan and a combined PET/CT scan to histopathologic results to determine which method may be the most reliable for identification of metastatic (tumor filled) lymph nodes.

Contact: The Oncology Clinical Trial Coordinators by completing this form or giving them a call at 530-752-0125 or 530-752-9759

Participation Requirements:

  • Dogs diagnosed with oral melanoma with gross measurable disease
  • Deemed healthy enough for anesthesia
  • You have an interest in imaging (CT scan) for surgical or radiation planning

Initial Evaluation for Participation:

  • Histologic (small piece of tumor) or cytologic (needle aspirate) diagnosis of oral or lip fold malignant melanoma
  • Bloodwork/urinalysis within two weeks
  • 3-view chest x-rays within 1 month
  • Initial required diagnostics can be performed elsewhere or with UC Davis, but are not covered by the study

Procedures: As part of this study, your dog will receive the same care and assessment as any dog with oral melanoma presented to the UC Davis VMTH.

  • Day 0: PET/CT scans, which involve an injection of a radioactive tracer and hospitalization for one night
  • ≤14 days after PET/CT scans: Mandibular lymph node (found under the chin) removal at UC Davis

Benefits: This study will cover costs associated with CT and PET scans, surgical removal of your dog’s mandibular lymph node(s), anesthesia, and up to $300 for study-related adverse events.

Your dog will receive the most advanced imaging techniques to assess their tumor as well as the local lymph nodes. Results from this study will hopefully improve medical knowledge about the capabilities of CT and PET scans, potentially limit unnecessary sampling and/or removal of lymph nodes, and better guide medical care for your dog and future dogs affected with the same disease.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you must agree to having your dog’s mandibular lymph nodes removed following the CT/PET scans and would be responsible for costs associated with therapy to address your dog’s tumor such as surgery, radiation and/or systemic treatment.

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Liver Tumors: Using a New Technique to Shrink Tumors

Title: Prospective Evaluation of the Use of Transarterial Embolization in the Treatment of Liver Neoplasia

Purpose: When liver tumors in dogs cannot be removed with surgery, treatment options are limited or non-existent. In humans, one of the standard treatments for those cases is transarterial embolization (TAE), which eliminates the blood supply of the tumor and may decrease tumor size. Therefore, the objectives of this study are to 1) describe the procedure of TAE in a group of dogs with naturally-occurring liver cancer, and 2) evaluate the effect that liver TAE has on clinical signs and the size of the tumor.

Contact: Dr. Bill Culp (wculp@ucdavis.edu) or make an appointment by calling (530) 752-1393

Participation Requirements: Dogs diagnosed with liver cancer that has been determined to be non-removable or in a location with great surgical risk

Initial Evaluation for Participation: To be performed by Dr. Culp

Procedures: If you agree to have your dog participate in this study, the following procedures will occur:

  • An abdominal ultrasound scan
  • CT scan, PET scan and TAE while under anesthesia
  • A second ultrasound scan, CT scan and PET scan approximately 4 weeks post-TAE
  • Hospitalization for 1-2 days post treatment pending response to treatment
  • Completion of questionnaires

Benefits: The study will cover costs associated with the ultrasounds, CT scans, PET scans and anesthesia.

We hope that the data acquired in this study will allow us to advance the treatment of cancer in both pets and people.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will be responsible for keeping all scheduled appointments, completing several questionnaires, and covering costs associated with the TAE procedure and any complications that may occur as part of that procedure.

Prostate/Bladder/Urethra Tumors: Assessing the Outcome Associated with Urethral Stents and Utilizing New Techniques for Placement

Title: Prospective Evaluation of Outcome and the Use of Transrectal Ultrasound Associated with Urethral Stent Placement in Dogs with Lower Urinary Tract Neoplasia

Purpose of Study: Cancer resulting in obstruction of the lower urinary tract of dogs is most commonly found in the prostate, urinary bladder and urethra (tube responsible for draining urine out of the body). Unfortunately, cancer of the lower urinary tract often results in complete blockage of the urethra, causing a patient to be unable to pass urine. The inability to urinate is a life-threatening emergency.

The placement of urethral stents is generally performed with fluoroscopic-guidance (use of “real-time” x-rays). While fluoroscopy is useful for stent placement, there may be other techniques that could be considered. Traditionally, ultrasonographic assessment of tumor size and location has been performed by transabdominal ultrasound (where the ultrasound probe is placed on the abdominal wall to allow for visualization of organs within the abdomen), but this method can be inaccurate. The use of transrectal ultrasound (where an ultrasound probe is placed into the rectum) circumvents these previously discussed problems, and therefore, the purpose of this study is to evaluate this technique for efficacy.

Contact: Dr. Bill Culp at wculp@ucdavis.edu or make an appointment by calling (530) 752-1393

Participation Requirements: Dogs with a diagnosis of prostatic, bladder or urethral cancer and secondary urethral obstruction for whom a stent is being offered/recommended and believed to be clinically beneficial

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Consultation with Dr. Culp

Procedures:

  • Transrectal ultrasound (TRUS), fluoroscopy (real time “x-rays”) and urethral stent placement under anesthesia
  • Completion of questionnaires pre-stent placement, 2-weeks post-stent placement and 3-months post-stent placement to assess outcome

Benefits: The study will cover the fluoroscopy, ultrasound, and anesthesia.

Benefits of enrolling in this study include financial support for the ultrasound, stent placement and anesthesia. We hope that the data acquired in this study will allow us to advance the treatment of cancer in both pets and people.

Owner Responsibilities: You will be responsible for covering equipment costs associated with the urethral stent placement and any complications of the procedure, keeping all scheduled appointments and completing a questionnaire pre-stent placement, 2 weeks after stent placement and 3 months after stent placement.

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Oral Tumors: Optimizing the Identification of Tumor Spread To Lymph Nodes

Title: Preoperative sentinel lymph node mapping in dogs

Purpose of Study: Successful treatment of many cancers depends on the extent of disease present at the time of diagnosis, and on accurate detection of that disease. Some oral cancers commonly spread from the mouth to nearby lymph nodes. Lymph node metastasis, if present, can influence the prognosis and treatment recommendations made for a patient. Currently, however, our standard veterinary staging protocol (aspiration cytology of the geographically nearest lymph node) misses a diagnosis of lymph node metastasis in a concerning number of patients. Because lymphatic pathways and lymph nodes of the head are very complicated and the closest lymph node is not necessarily the most likely to show disease, it is possible to miss disease because we do not know which is the best lymph node to evaluate. Lymph node mapping, a technique to visualize the lymphatic drainage of tumors, is increasingly used to improve cancer staging and treatment protocols in the treatment of cancer in people. Mapping allows identification of the “sentinel lymph node,” or lymph node that is most likely to demonstrate evidence of metastatic disease. This lymph node can then be aspirated or surgically removed with the primary tumor to be evaluated microscopically for spread of cancer. This trial is being performed to optimize a method of sentinel lymph node mapping that can be accessible to a greater number of veterinary practitioners in an effort to improve the accuracy of cancer diagnoses and treatment recommendations we make for our veterinary patients, improving their quality of life and length of time with us following diagnosis with this cancer.

Contact: If you are interested in determining whether your dog is eligible for the trial, please schedule an appointment for evaluation with one of the participating clinical services by calling the Small Animal Clinic at (530) 752-1393 and following the prompts for either Soft Tissue Surgery, Dentistry and Oral Surgery or Oncology. For general questions not related to your own dog’s eligibility, please contact Dr. Steffey (530-752-3799, masteffey@ucdavis.edu).

Participation Requirements:

  • Dogs diagnosed with an oral tumor with owners that have elected to surgically remove the tumor.
  • Ineligible: Dogs with pre-existing, palpably very large lymph nodes

Initial Evaluation for Participation: If you choose to enroll your dog, your dog will receive two CT scans on separate days: the first done for standard diagnostic/surgical planning, and the second done immediately prior to surgery. Both CT scans will be performed with contrast while under general anesthesia.

Benefits: All costs associated with this study, including the second CT scan and the 1 hour of extra anesthesia time associated with each CT scans will be paid by the sponsor. Additionally, a financial benefit of $500 will be credited to your VMTH account after your dog completes the second CT scan on the day of his/her surgery.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will be responsible for bringing your dog to the UC Davis VMTH for his/her scheduled appointments, covering costs associated with the standard diagnostic workup of your dog’s tumor, the first (diagnostic/surgical planning) CT scan, and standard costs associated with surgical removal of the oral tumor, and allowing him/her to be hospitalized for the required length of time pre- and postoperatively.

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Prostate Cancer: Assessing New Method to Identify Bacterial Infections in Male Dogs

Title: Use of prostatic aspirate culture to identify bacterial infection in dogs with prostatic neoplasia

Purpose: Urinary tract infections are known to be common in dogs with urinary tract cancer so regular urine cultures are recommended. Male dogs and dogs with prostatic cancer are known to be less likely to have positive urine cultures than females with cancer in their bladder or urethra. This may be because male dogs are less prone to infection or because the prostate contains an infection that is not also present in the urine or bladder. The purpose of this study is to determine whether it is possible to obtain useful bacterial culture samples from prostates in dogs with prostate cancer and to determine whether results of these cultures correlate with urine cultures collected directly from the bladder.

Contact: The Oncology Clinical Trial Coordinators by completing this form or giving them a call at 530-752-0125 or 530-752-9759

Participation Requirements: Dogs diagnosed with or is suspected to have prostate cancer

Initial Evaluation for Participation:  The cost of the initial exam to determine if your dog has presumed or confirmed prostatic neoplasia is your responsibility.

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

  • An ultrasound to locate your dog’s bladder and prostate
  • Insertion of a small needle to collect urine from the bladder and two small needles into his prostate to collect prostatic samples
  • Sedation may be used if deemed necessary by the veterinarian

Benefits: The sponsor will cover cost associated with sedation (including drugs), ultrasound-guided urine and prostatic sample collection, lab tests to analyze urine and prostatic samples, and a credit of $75 that will be taken off of your dog’s medical bill if you agree to have your dog participate in the trial.

Results from this study may lead to the detection of a bacterial infection that would not have been detected with urine culture alone. This trial may also help us understand whether dogs with prostate cancer should undergo regular prostate culture to look for these types of secondary infections.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will be responsible for bringing your dog to the clinic for the study procedures. We expect that participation in this clinical trial will be complete within one day and take one hour or less to complete all study related procedures.

Oral Melanoma: Assessing a Treatment

Title: OMX-4.80 (Zox) a novel protein oxygen transporter and radiation sensitizer for dogs with oral melanoma

Purpose: One reason tumors can be resistant to radiation therapy because of low levels of oxygen in the tumors. Another reason is that low levels of oxygen leads to local immune suppression. We anticipate that the treatment will carry oxygen to the tumor and hopefully restore normal oxygen levels to the tumor and make it more responsive to treatment.

Contact: The Oncology Clinical Trial Coordinators by completing this form or giving them a call at 530-752-0125 or 530-752-9759

Participation Requirements: Dogs diagnosed with a biopsy confirmed melanoma

Initial Evaluation for Participation:  Prior to enrollment your dog must have a physical examination, a CBC, a Chemistry Panel and Chest X-rays to make sure they are eligible for the trial.

Procedures:  It is important to note that radiotherapy treatments are being done as part of the normal treatment of this disease. If your dog is enrolled in the study, the following will be done:

  • On Day 1, On Day 1, we will administer a drug to mark oxygen levels, collect and analyze blood, biopsy your dog’s tumor under anesthesia, and do a CT scan to plan for radiation therapy and administer the oxygen carrier.
  • On Day 2, we will administer another oxygen marker and biopsy of your dog's tumor under anesthesia.
  • On Day 4, we will take blood, anesthetize your dog for an additional biopsy and begin your dog’s radiation treatment which will be once a week for four weeks.
  • After the second radiation treatment, we will collect another biopsy.
  • We will collect blood after the third and fourth radiation therapy session (each one week apart as part of the normal course of treatment).
  • In the event of death, we would strongly encourage you to allow a necropsy to be performed so we can try to determine the cause of death.

Benefits: The study will cover costs associated with study drugs, drug administration, day hospitalizations for the study, the radiation planning CT scan and the associated anesthesia, blood work for the study, and biopsies.  Additionally, the study will also cover up to $2,000 in medical costs if there is an unanticipated side effect from the study and up to $2,000 credit onto your dog’s medical bill at the end of the study to be used for the cost of radiation therapy.

Results from this study may lead to an improvement of your dog’s response to treatments such as radiotherapy.

Owner Responsibilities: We expect that participation in this clinical trial will take 5 weeks and anticipate each visit taking 6-8 hours. If you decide to have your dog participate in the trial, you will be responsible for keeping each scheduled appointment, ensuring that your dog has not eaten food for at least 12 hours prior to any anesthetic procedure, and covering costs associated with the radiation therapy required to enter the study.

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Irregular Heartbeat (Ventricular Arrhythmias): Reducing the Risk during Chemotherapy

Title: Use of diphenhydramine to reduced fewer infusion-related ventricular arrhythmias in dogs treated with doxorubicin

Purpose: The current recommendation for canine lymphoma treatment includes the use of a chemotherapy drug called doxorubicin. Although effective, one of the reported side effects of doxorubicin is the liberation of a molecule called histamine, which can cause ventricular arrhythmias (an irregular rhythm). The concurrent use of anti-histamine agents like diphenhydramine (commonly known as Benadryl) with doxorubicin therapy could possibly reduce these abnormal beats. Therefore, the aim of this study is to see if use of diphenhydramine can reduce the risk of arrhythmias sometimes associated with the administration of chemotherapy.

Contact:

Participation Requirements: Dogs that have been diagnosed with lymphoma

Initial Evaluation for Participation:  Should you decide to enroll your dog in the clinical trial, your pet would receive a free Echocardiogram screening before receiving Doxorubicin. This would occur at one of the chemotherapy visits prior to the first Doxorubicin treatment.

Procedures: 

  • As part of this study, your animal will receive the same diagnostic tests and care that any other dog presented to the Oncology Service would receive. If your dog participated, an anti-histamine drug (diphenhydramine) will be given at only one out of the two study visits.
  • If your dog participated, an anti-histamine drug (diphenhydramine) will be given at only one out of the two study visits.
  • To evaluate the efficacy of diphenhydramine, your dog will wear a portable and battery-operated device that measures heart's activity (Holter monitor) for 3 hours after the infusion of chemotherapy while your dog is still at the VMTH.

Benefits: If you agree to have your dog participate in this study, the screening echocardiogram and your dog’s Holter monitor will be analyzed by a board-certified veterinary cardiologist and will be free of charge. Adverse events are not expected from the use of diphenhydramine; the study will cover up to $3,000 of your dog’s care if any adverse events occur that are attributable to the investigational portion of the study (use of diphenhydramine or not as a pre-medication for doxorubicin) and your dog requires further care (e.g., hospitalization).

Results from this trial may help us to better guide medical care for your dog and future dogs affected with the same disease. The understanding of your dog’s electrocardiogram may guide medical decisions.

Owner Responsibilities: We expect that participation in this clinical trial will last for two visits of the traditional CHOP chemotherapy protocol.

Costs associated with the recommended chemotherapy protocol and patient care will be your responsibility as they are not a part of this study. Additionally, costs associated with side effects that are attributable to doxorubicin administration (decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and/or low white blood cells counts) will not be covered by the study.

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Brain Tumors: Assessing a New Drug Delivery System

Title: MPR nanoparticles to define brain tumor margins in canine primary brain tumors: Phase I pilot study

Purpose: This clinical trial is being done to investigate whether small particles called nanoporhphyrins can be used to better visualize tumors during surgery and potentially to see if they will be a useful method to deliver drugs into brain tumors for treatment.

ContactContact Lisa Winn (Neurology Scheduling Coordinator) at llwinn@ucdavis.edu or (530) 752-1393

Participation Requirements: Dogs provisionally diagnosed with a brain tumor

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

  • Administration of nanoparticles approximately 12-36 hours, collection of blood and urine for analysis prior to surgery
  • Brain surgery to remove the tumor (standard therapy for brain tumors)
  • Blood collection 1-week post-administration of nanoparticles

Benefits: The study will provide up to $5,000 credit towards your dog’s treatment. 

We hope that this technique will help us to better visualize the tumor on MRI, allowing for better planning of the surgery. Information obtained from your dog's treatment may help to further develop this type of treatment for both dogs and humans and could improve the treatment in both species in the future.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will be responsible for keeping all scheduled appointments, and covering the costs of your dog’s standard treatment during the clinical trial and any complications arising from that treatment or from the clinical trial procedures. 

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.

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

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).

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.

Contact: Dr. Bill Culp at wculp@ucdavis.edu or make an appointment by calling (530) 752-1393

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.

Ophthalmology

Primary Glaucoma: Understanding the Genetics in American Cocker Spaniels

Title: Proteomics and genomics of primary glaucoma in the dog

Purpose of Study: Glaucoma is a disease that is a common cause of blindness worldwide in human and canine patients. We are interested in characterizing this disease better with hopes of identifying protein biomarkers or the genetic components of this disease.

Contact: Monica Motta at mjmotta@ucdavis.edu or 530-752-6967

Participation Requirements: 

  • Healthy American Cocker Spaniels that are at least 10 years old with normal eyes
  • American Cocker Spaniels diagnosed with primary glaucoma

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures:

  • Limited Diagnostic Testing
    • A full ophthalmic examination
    • An eye pressure test prior to and after dilation
    • Dilation of the eyes to examine the back of the eyes
    • Corneal thickness measurements via ultrasonic pachymetry
    • Fluorescein staining to assess for corneal ulcers
    • Digital photographs of the eye
    • Gonioscopy to assess the drainage angles in the eye
    • Non-invasive A-Scan/B-Scan to determine the length of the ocular globe
    • Blood collection for genetic analysis
  • Advanced Diagnostic Imaging
    • If required, advanced ocular imaging, including digital slit lamp photography, spectral domain optical coherence tomography (non-contact imaging), ultrasound biomicroscopy and fundus photography to image the retina
    • Sedation may be required for some of the advanced diagnostic testing procedures.

Benefits: The study will cover cost associated with the ophthalmic examination, ocular diagnostic testing, sedation, advanced ophthalmic imaging and blood collection. In addition, the study will cover costs of any complications from the ophthalmic examination, diagnostic testing, gonioscopy, sedation, or blood sampling will be covered by the study up to $200.

Results from this study may lead to our improved ability to better predict the onset and progression of this disease. If a gene or effect through diagnostics that causes this disease is found, then we may be able to develop a genetic test or future diagnostic tests to know identify which dogs have or do not have this disease.

Owner Responsibilities: Although we expect to gain the majority of information from your dog in a single visit, we may want to do additional tests if your dog has a glaucomatous attack. We anticipate a maximum of 4 visits over a 2-year period for your dog. You will be responsible for filling out a questionnaire and survey regarding your dog’s history, monitoring the well-being of your dog at home and report any changes or side effects to us, and withhold food from your dog the morning prior to the appointment so that your dog can be sedated for advanced ocular examination. You will also be responsible for covering any costs (beyond $200) related to complications, diagnostic testing, gonioscopy, sedation or blood sampling.

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Sudden Blindness: Comparing Disease Assessment Tools

Title: Comparison of longitudinal changes in chromatic pupillometry in normal dogs and dogs with sudden acquired retinal degeneration or optic pathway disease

Purpose of Study: Sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome (SARDS) is a common cause of permanent blindness in dogs. However, the underlying cause for SARDS is unknown and no treatment exists. Dogs usually become rapidly blind with no obvious structural abnormalities in the eye itself. We are interested in better understanding this devastating disease, and especially how it changes over time with hopes of identifying better methods for diagnosing SARDS, differentiating it from other similar diseases, monitoring dogs with this disease, and eventually to aid in evaluation of treatments when they become available.

Contact: Monica Motta at mjmotta@ucdavis.edu or 530-752-6967

Participation Requirements: Dogs that:

  • Have Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS)
  • Have neurological disease affecting vision
  • Have normal vision and a healthy eye and would be an excellent control subject for this study

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures:

  • Routine ophthalmic examination
    • Dilation of the eyes to examine the back of the eyes
    • Staining of the eye with fluorescein to assess for corneal ulcers
  • Videotaping pupillary responses to colored light (chromatic pupillometry)
  • Electroretinography (ERG)
  • Light-based ultrasound of the retina (Fourier-domain optical coherence tomography)
  • Digital photography of the eye (Fundus photography)

Some procedures may involve sedation. Prior to the procedure, your dog will be fasted for a 12-18 hour period in case sedation is required.

Benefits: The study will cover all study-related procedures once your dog is enrolled in the trial and any costs up to $200 that are associated with complications from the ophthalmic examination, diagnostic testing or sedation.

Results from this study will hopefully aid our ability to better predict the onset and progression of SARDS and other brain diseases affecting the optic pathway, and will lead to the development of better tools for differentiating SARDS from blinding diseases that affect the central nervous system. We also hope to identify better methods for diagnosing SARDS, monitoring dogs with this disease, and eventually for evaluating treatments as they become available.

Owner Responsibilities: We expect that participation in this portion of the clinical trial will last for one year with a total of 4 half-day visits. If you agree to have your dog participate in the trial, you will be responsible for covering any fees or costs associated with determining a diagnosis or eligibility for the trial and bringing your dog in for evaluation at all study time points.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS): Understanding the Disease

Title: Proteomics and genomics of canine sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome

Purpose of Study: Sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome (SARDS) is a common cause of permanent blindness in dogs. Dogs usually present with rapid onset of blindness with no obvious abnormalities in the retina; however, the underlying cause for SARDS is unknown and no treatment exists. We are interested in characterizing this disease better with hopes of identifying protein biomarkers and/or the genetic components of this disease.

Contact: Monica Motta at mjmotta@ucdavis.edu or 530-752-6967

Participation Requirements:

  • Dogs diagnosed with Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS)
  • Dogs with healthy retinas

Initial Evaluation for Participation: None.

Procedures:

  • Routine ophthalmic examination
    • Dilation of the eyes to examine the back of the eyes
    • Staining of the eye with fluorescein to assess for corneal ulcers
  • Digital photography of the eye (fundus photography)
  • Blood collection for DNA analysis and serum storage
  • Electroretinogram (ERG) to measure retinal function

Benefits: Costs of any complications from the ophthalmic examination, diagnostic testing, ERG, sedation, or blood sampling will be covered by the study up to $200.

Results from this study will hopefully lead to a better ability to 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 the cost of the ophthalmic exam and all diagnostic tests performed.

For most dogs, we expect that participation in this clinical trial will last for one visit for the ophthalmic exam, diagnostic testing and blood collection. However, we may ask you to come back for repeated blood sampling. We will also ask you to fill out a questionnaire regarding your dog’s history.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy: Understanding the Disease in Boston Terriers, German Shorthaired Pointers and German Wirehaired Pointers

Title: Phenotype and Genotype of Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy in Boston Terriers, German Shorthaired Pointers and German Wirehaired 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 Boston Terriers, German Shorthaired Pointers and German Wirehaired 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 Boston Terriers, German Shorthaired Pointers and German Wirehaired Pointers. In order to do this, we will perform thorough eye examinations and use non-invasive advanced imaging techniques to examine Boston Terriers, German Shorthaired Pointers and German Wirehaired 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 Boston Terriers, German Shorthaired Pointers and German Wirehaired Pointers. The ultimate goal will be to develop a genetic test for CED in Boston Terriers, German Shorthaired Pointers and German Wirehaired Pointers and possibly other breeds, such as Chihuahuas and Dachshunds, with an increased risk of CED.

Contact: Monica Motta at mjmotta@ucdavis.edu or 530-752-6967

Participation Requirements:

  • Boston Terriers, German Shorthaired Pointers and German Wirehaired Pointers with Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy
  • Healthy Boston Terriers, German Shorthaired Pointers and German Wirehaired Pointers (>7 years of age)

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

Procedures:

  • Blood collection for DNA analysis
  • Ophthalmic examination, including digital slit lamp biomicroscopy, Schirmer tear test followed by dilation and staining of the eye wtih fluroescein and digital photography
  • Noninvasive advanced corneal imaging with ultrasonic pachymetry, confocal biomicroscopy and spectral domain-optical coherence tomography (all of which will require sedation)

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.

Printable Flyer for Boston Terriers (PDF)
Printable Flyer for German Shorthaired and Wirehaired Pointers (PDF)

Publications: Thomasy, S.M., Cortes, D.E., Hoehn, A.L., Calderon, A.C., Li, J.Y., & Murphy, C.J. (2016). In Vivo Imaging of Corneal Endothelial Dystrophy in Boston Terriers: A Spontaneous, Canine Model for Fuchs' Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, 57(9): 495-503. (DOI:10.1167/iovs.15-18885)

Read about Cyrus, a 10-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer, that was helped by participating in this trial!

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.

Contact: Monica Motta at mjmotta@ucdavis.edu or 530-752-6967

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. If a corneal ulcer occurs at the time of evaluation, the cost of medications, recheck examinations, and procedures (e.g., cotton-tipped applicator or Diamond burr debridement, grid keratotomy) will be performed at no cost to you if they are performed at UC Davis. If a surgical procedure is required, you will receive $200 of compensation towards the procedure if it is performed at UC Davis. If your dog has KCS, you will be compensated for taking part in this study with 2 months worth of immunosuppressive medication (e.g., cyclosporine/tacrolimulus) ointment or drops. The study will also cover the costs of any complications from the sedation, blood sampling or imaging up to $200.

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) beyond $200. Additionally, please do not administer any medications to treat your dog’s dry eye for one week 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.

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.

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

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.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Orthopedic Surgery

NEW! Elbow Dysplasia: Comparing Diagnostic Techniques

Title: 18F-Sodium Fluoride Positron Emission Tomography of Canine Elbow Dysplasia

Purpose of Study: Canine elbow dysplasia is a common cause of front limb lameness in large-breed dogs and diagnosed using imaging modalities including radiographs (x-rays), computed tomography (CT) scanning, and arthroscopy (evaluation of the joint with a small camera). The CT and radiographic finding do not always correlate with the clinical signs and the arthroscopic findings. In an effort to improve our diagnostic capabilities for elbow pain in dogs, the purpose of this study is to compare the newest imaging modality available – Positron Emission Tomography (PET) combined with a CT scan (PET/CT) – to conventional CT.

Contact:

Participation Requirements: Dogs diagnosed with elbow dysplasia with owners that elected to have elbow arthoscopy

Initial Evaluation for Participation: A complete physical and orthopedic exam, as well as blood work is required to find out if your dog can be included in the study.

Procedures: If the exams, tests, and procedures show that your pet can take part in the study, and you choose to enroll them, then as part of this study, your dog will receive the addition of a PET scan (which involves injection of a radioactive tracer) in addition to the standard CT scan. Your dog will have to stay at the hospital for one night.

Benefits: If you agree to have your dog participate, the study will cover the anesthesia, CT and the PET scans.

Your dog’s CT and PET scans will be evaluated by board certified radiologists and surgeons. Participation in this trial will hopefully help to identify the best imaging technique to diagnose elbow pain.

Owner Responsibilities: You will be responsible for keeping all scheduled appointments and covering any costs other than the anesthesia, CT and PET scans, which include (but are not limited to) the initial bloodwork, hospitalization and charges associated with adverse events that may occur during the study.

Elbow Dysplasia: Assessing a New Diagnostic Tool

Title: A novel micro-invasive needle arthroscopy system for the diagnosis of elbow dysplasia in dogs

Purpose of Study: Elbow dysplasia is the most common cause of pain and lameness in young large breed dogs. Because elbow dysplasia is such a devastating disease, it is essential that clinicians accurately identify and diagnose the different lesions in the joint to make appropriate decisions about how best to treat elbow dysplasia and predict surgical outcome. Currently, the gold standard for diagnosis is arthroscopy; however, this technique requires general anesthesia and is an invasive procedure. A new micro-invasive needle arthroscopic system has recently became available for human patients to diagnose rotator cuff injuries and ACL tears as an outpatient procedure. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to evaluate the use of a micro-invasive arthroscope system for the diagnosis of elbow dysplasia in dogs.

Contact:

Participation Requirements: Dogs with front limb lameness associated with the elbow joint. The source of lameness must be confirmed by an orthopedic surgeon at UC Davis and scheduled for treatment of elbow dysplasia at UC Davis.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Lameness evaluation by an orthopedic surgeon at UC Davis

Procedures: While under sedation, a needle arthroscope (camera) will be inserted into your dog’s elbow joint (needle arthroscopy) and images will be acquired. This procedure will occur prior to the previously scheduled anesthesia for traditional arthroscopy and treatment of elbow dysplasia.

Benefits: The study will cover your orthopedic examination fee and the needle arthroscopy procedure. Your dog’s elbow will be examined two times with two different cameras which could reduce the possibility of missing lesions. You will have detailed documentation of the lesions in the joint in two different techniques (needle and traditional arthroscopy). If needle arthroscopy accurately identifies lesions in the elbow joint, this technique could be used as an outpatient procedure to re-evaluate the elbow joint after treatment and possibly improve treatment and better surgical outcomes for dogs with elbow dysplasia in the future.

Owner Responsibilities: You will be responsible for all cost associated with standard elbow arthroscopy, including but not limited, to anesthesia, arthroscopy, imaging, medications and hospitalization.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Soft Tissue Surgery

Chylothorax: Assessing a New Treatment

Title: Treatment of chylothorax in dogs

Purpose: The traditional combination of thoracic duct ligation and pericardectomy has been performed for many years. However, without good evidence of pericardial disease, the pericardectomy may not be necessary. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of doing a complete thoracic duct ligation alone in resolving chyle accumulation and provide a better understanding of the physiological response to thoracic duct ligation in dogs with idiopathic chylothorax.

Contact: Dr. Philipp Mayhew (philmayhew@gmail.com) or make an appointment with Soft Tissue Surgery by calling (530) 752-1393

Participation Requirements:

  • Inclusion Criteria: Dogs diagnosed with idiopathic chylothorax
  • Exclusion Criteria: Dogs that have been diagnosed with any significant degree of pericardial disease or other underlying etiologies (non-idiopathic chylothorax)

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Prior to being accepted into the study, patients will have to have undergone a thorough diagnostic assessment to rule out underlying causes and confirm a diagnosis of idiopathic chylothorax (IC), which must include a complete blood count and biochemistry screen completed within a month from the date of surgery. Triglyceride levels assayed in the serum and in the pleural effusion must confirm the diagnosis of IC and a heart worm antigen test must be negative. Patients must also have undergone thoracic radiographs and abdominal ultrasonography.

Procedures: 

  • A computed tomography (CT) study under anesthesia to assess your dog’s lymphatic anatomy and then cardiac catheterization procedure and echocardiogram to rule out significant pericardial disease
  • If no significant pericardial disease is present, your dog will be enrolled in the study.
    • On the following day: Complete thoracic duct ligation, near-infrared fluorescence imaging and a second CT study under anesthesia to confirm complete occlusion of all thoracic duct chyle flow
    • Follow-up visits:
      • Three to 6-months post-surgery for a follow-up CT study
      • Nine months to 1-year post-surgery for chest x-rays

Benefits: The study will cover costs for some of the diagnostic tests and a portion of the surgical procedure, including the echocardiogram, near-infrared intraoperative imaging, cardiac catheterization procedures, all CT studies, hospitalization for the second visit to the hospital, and the anesthesia fees at the second visit (at 3-6 months post-operatively). Additionally, the study will provide a $1000 credit towards the cost of the surgical procedures.

Results from this study will provide us with a better understanding of your dog’s lymphatic anatomy and disease state, aid in longer-term management of this component of his or her clinical signs, and may influence treatment of other dogs with chylothorax in the future.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will be responsible for bringing the dog to the VMTH for all study-related visits. Additionally, you will need to cover any costs related to complications and some of the costs associated with the surgical procedure (e.g., surgical procedure and related fees, anesthesia for surgery, ICU fees and hospitalization fees associated with the first visit).

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Liver Tumors: Using a New Technique to Shrink Tumors

Title: Prospective Evaluation of the Use of Transarterial Embolization in the Treatment of Liver Neoplasia

Purpose: When liver tumors in dogs cannot be removed with surgery, treatment options are limited or non-existent. In humans, one of the standard treatments for those cases is transarterial embolization (TAE), which eliminates the blood supply of the tumor and may decrease tumor size. Therefore, the objectives of this study are to 1) describe the procedure of TAE in a group of dogs with naturally-occurring liver cancer, and 2) evaluate the effect that liver TAE has on clinical signs and the size of the tumor.

Contact: Dr. Bill Culp (wculp@ucdavis.edu) or make an appointment by calling (530) 752-1393

Participation Requirements: Dogs diagnosed with liver cancer that has been determined to be non-removable or in a location with great surgical risk

Initial Evaluation for Participation: To be performed by Dr. Culp

Procedures: If you agree to have your dog participate in this study, the following procedures will occur:

  • An abdominal ultrasound scan
  • CT scan, PET scan and TAE while under anesthesia
  • A second ultrasound scan, CT scan and PET scan approximately 4 weeks post-TAE
  • Hospitalization for 1-2 days post treatment pending response to treatment
  • Completion of questionnaires

Benefits: The study will cover costs associated with the ultrasounds, CT scans, PET scans and anesthesia.

We hope that the data acquired in this study will allow us to advance the treatment of cancer in both pets and people.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will be responsible for keeping all scheduled appointments, completing several questionnaires, and covering costs associated with the TAE procedure and any complications that may occur as part of that procedure.

Urinary Incontinence: Using a New Device for Treatment

Title: Use of radiofrequency urethral thermoplasty for the treatment of urinary incontinence

Purpose: Medical therapy using either phenylpropanolamine or synthetic estrogen, alone or in combination is currently considered first line medical therapy for urinary incontinence. While studies have shown that these medications are effective in some patients, both have potential side effects and life-long therapy is generally required. Various surgical treatment options have also been described for those dogs that do not respond to medical management or experience adverse effects from medications; however, these procedures are invasive, require considerable surgical skill to perform and are not always successful. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to test a new device, which uses heat to alter the structure of collagen in the wall of the urethra and thereby strengthen the wall and decrease leakage), to treat urinary incontinence in female dogs.

Contact: Dr. Bill Culp (wculp@ucdavis.edu), Dr. Carrie Palm (cpalm@ucdavis.eduor make an appointment by calling (530) 752-1393

Participation Requirements: Female dogs demonstrating signs of urinary incontinence

Initial Evaluation for Participation: To be performed by Dr. Palm or Dr. Culp

Procedures: 

  • Testing related to urinary incontinence, including bloodwork, abdominal ultrasound and possibly cystourethroscopy (camera evaluation of the urethra and urinary bladder)
  • Urethral procedure under general anesthesia once your dog is deemed a candidate

Benefits: The study will cover costs associated with anesthesia, the urethral procedure and hospitalization.

We hope that the data acquired in this study will allow us to advance the treatment of our canine patients.

Owner Responsibilities: This study requires 1-year time commitment, although future follow-up may be recommended. You will be responsible for covering costs associated with initial diagnostics including bloodwork, abdominal ultrasound and cystourethroscopy, keeping all scheduled appointments and follow-up visits, and filling out a urination diary throughout the study.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Prostate/Bladder/Urethra Tumors: Assessing the Outcome Associated with Urethral Stents and Utilizing New Techniques for Placement

Title: Prospective Evaluation of Outcome and the Use of Transrectal Ultrasound Associated with Urethral Stent Placement in Dogs with Lower Urinary Tract Neoplasia

Purpose of Study: Cancer resulting in obstruction of the lower urinary tract of dogs is most commonly found in the prostate, urinary bladder and urethra (tube responsible for draining urine out of the body). Unfortunately, cancer of the lower urinary tract often results in complete blockage of the urethra, causing a patient to be unable to pass urine. The inability to urinate is a life-threatening emergency.

The placement of urethral stents is generally performed with fluoroscopic-guidance (use of “real-time” x-rays). While fluoroscopy is useful for stent placement, there may be other techniques that could be considered. Traditionally, ultrasonographic assessment of tumor size and location has been performed by transabdominal ultrasound (where the ultrasound probe is placed on the abdominal wall to allow for visualization of organs within the abdomen), but this method can be inaccurate. The use of transrectal ultrasound (where an ultrasound probe is placed into the rectum) circumvents these previously discussed problems, and therefore, the purpose of this study is to evaluate this technique for efficacy.

Contact: Contact Dr. Culp at wculp@ucdavis.edu or make an appointment by calling (530) 752-1393

Participation Requirements: Dogs with a diagnosis of prostatic, bladder or urethral cancer and secondary urethral obstruction for whom a stent is being offered/recommended and believed to be clinically beneficial

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Consultation with Dr. Culp

Procedures:

  • Transrectal ultrasound (TRUS), fluoroscopy (real time “x-rays”) and urethral stent placement under anesthesia
  • Completion of questionnaires pre-stent placement, 2-weeks post-stent placement and 3-months post-stent placement to assess outcome

Benefits: The study will cover the fluoroscopy, ultrasound, and anesthesia.

Benefits of enrolling in this study include financial support for the ultrasound, stent placement and anesthesia. We hope that the data acquired in this study will allow us to advance the treatment of cancer in both pets and people.

Owner Responsibilities: You will be responsible for covering equipment costs associated with the urethral stent placement and any complications of the procedure, keeping all scheduled appointments and completing a questionnaire pre-stent placement, 2 weeks after stent placement and 3 months after stent placement.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Oral Tumors: Optimizing the Identification of Tumor Spread To Lymph Nodes

Title: Preoperative sentinel lymph node mapping in dogs

Purpose of Study: Successful treatment of many cancers depends on the extent of disease present at the time of diagnosis, and on accurate detection of that disease. Some oral cancers commonly spread from the mouth to nearby lymph nodes. Lymph node metastasis, if present, can influence the prognosis and treatment recommendations made for a patient. Currently, however, our standard veterinary staging protocol (aspiration cytology of the geographically nearest lymph node) misses a diagnosis of lymph node metastasis in a concerning number of patients. Because lymphatic pathways and lymph nodes of the head are very complicated and the closest lymph node is not necessarily the most likely to show disease, it is possible to miss disease because we do not know which is the best lymph node to evaluate. Lymph node mapping, a technique to visualize the lymphatic drainage of tumors, is increasingly used to improve cancer staging and treatment protocols in the treatment of cancer in people. Mapping allows identification of the “sentinel lymph node,” or lymph node that is most likely to demonstrate evidence of metastatic disease. This lymph node can then be aspirated or surgically removed with the primary tumor to be evaluated microscopically for spread of cancer. This trial is being performed to optimize a method of sentinel lymph node mapping that can be accessible to a greater number of veterinary practitioners in an effort to improve the accuracy of cancer diagnoses and treatment recommendations we make for our veterinary patients, improving their quality of life and length of time with us following diagnosis with this cancer.

Contact: If you are interested in determining whether your dog is eligible for the trial, please schedule an appointment for evaluation with one of the participating clinical services by calling the Small Animal Clinic at (530) 752-1393 and following the prompts for either Soft Tissue Surgery, Dentistry and Oral Surgery or Oncology. For general questions not related to your own dog’s eligibility, please contact Dr. Steffey (530-752-3799, masteffey@ucdavis.edu).

Participation Requirements:

  • Dogs diagnosed with an oral tumor with owners that have elected to surgically remove the tumor.
  • Ineligible: Dogs with pre-existing, palpably very large lymph nodes

Initial Evaluation for Participation: If you choose to enroll your dog, your dog will receive two CT scans on separate days: the first done for standard diagnostic/surgical planning, and the second done immediately prior to surgery. Both CT scans will be performed with contrast while under general anesthesia.

Procedures: If you choose to enroll your dog, your dog will receive two CT scans on separate days: the first done for standard diagnostic/surgical planning, and the second done immediately prior to surgery. Both CT scans will be performed with contrast while under general anesthesia.

Benefits: All costs associated with this study, including the second CT scan and the 1 hour of extra anesthesia time associated with each CT scans will be paid by the sponsor. Additionally, a financial benefit of $500 will be credited to your VMTH account after your dog completes the second CT scan on the day of his/her surgery.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your dog to participate in this study, you will be responsible for bringing your dog to the UC Davis VMTH for his/her scheduled appointments, covering costs associated with the standard diagnostic workup of your dog’s tumor, the first (diagnostic/surgical planning) CT scan, and standard costs associated with surgical removal of the oral tumor, and allowing him/her to be hospitalized for the required length of time pre- and postoperatively.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Colorectal Masses: New Minimally-Invasive Approaches to Surgical Planning

Title: Assessment of colorectal masses in dogs

Purpose of Study: Although the prevalence of rectal cancer in dogs is low, it still proves a significant problem for diagnosis and treatment when it occurs. Definitive diagnosis can be challenging at times because current imaging tools have their limitations. The current gold standard imaging method for evaluation of rectal masses by colonoscopy. The purpose of this portion of the study is to evaluate two different novel minimally invasive approaches to pre-operative imaging and surgical planning.

In addition to assessing new diagnostic imaging techniques, the other portion of the study intends to assess two protocols for bowel preparation prior to imaging. Traditional bowel preparation for a colonoscopy procedure (the current usual method of surgical planning for masses of the colon/rectum) requires a full cathartic in-hospital bowel preparation, which can be expensive and requires hospitalization. Both of the new bowel cleansing protocols evaluated in this study will allow for sufficient pre-operative planning to facilitate surgical removal, but will be less expensive, and we hope will be less unpleasant for the patient than standard fully cathartic bowel preparation protocols. Additionally, the less intensive bowel cleanses required for study participation would mean that diagnostic evaluation, imaging and surgery could be performed under the same anesthetic episode, thus decreasing hospitalization time for the patient, and costs to the owner.

Contact: Dr. Jeffrey Mitchell (Small Animal Surgery) via email (jwmitchell@ucdavis.edu) or call (530) 752-1393 to make an appointment

Participation Requirements: Dogs diagnosed with rectal mass(es) with owners who have elected to proceed with further diagnostic imaging and surgical removal of these masses

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Prospective candidates will require an appointment with and evaluation by the UC Davis VMTH Soft Tissue Surgery, Internal Medicine, Oncology, or Community Practice Services to evaluate their eligibility to participate.

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

  • After an in-person appointment and consultation with the Soft Tissue Surgery Service to ensure that your dog is a safe candidate to participate in this study, an at-home bowel cleansing protocol will be initiated 2 days prior to the scheduled surgical procedure in which removal of your dog’s rectal mass is planned. The bowel cleansing protocol will involve a special diet for 2 days and may include a special radiographic contrast agent and potentially an orally administered cathartic laxative, depending on which group of the study your dog is enrolled. The allocation of patients to the different bowel preparation study groups is randomized.
  • On the day of the diagnostic imaging, your dog will be anesthetized and then undergo a CT scan one of the imaging procedures. Your dog will then proceed to the operating room where a rigid endoscope will be used to evaluate the mass just prior to surgical removal.
  • If surgery is necessary, your dog will undergo the surgery as determined by the attending Soft Tissue Surgery clinician with your permission.

Benefits: All costs associated with the study, including the bowel preparation protocol medications, CT scan, and rigid endoscopic exam will be paid by the sponsor/department.

Results from this study may lead to improved methods of diagnosis of large bowel disease and/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 any scheduled appointments
  • Covering the standard costs of pre-operative bloodwork, additional diagnostic imaging (chest x-rays, abdominal ultrasound, etc), anesthesia, surgery, and hospitalization for your dog’s disease, as explained by your attending clinician

Printable Flyer (PDF)

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.

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

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.

Printable Flyer (PDF)

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 assess the response to treatment of a relatively new treatment option (coil embolization) for intrahepatic portosystemic shunts that has shown tremendous potential.

Contact: Contact Dr. Bill Culp at wculp@ucdavis.edu or call (530) 752-1393 to make an appointment

Participation Requirements: Dogs with intrahepatic portosystemic shunts

Initial Evaluation for Participation, Procedures, Benefits and Owner Responsibilities: Contact Dr. Culp for details at wculp@ucdavis.edu or call (530) 752-1393 to make an appointment.

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.

Read about Sandy, a 6-month-old Labrador Retriever, that was helped by participating in this trial!

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.

Contact: Dr. Bill Culp at wculp@ucdavis.edu or make an appointment by calling (530) 752-1393

Participation Requirements: Dogs diagnosed with nasal tumors

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Contact Dr. Culp 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).

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.

Contact: Dr. Bill Culp at wculp@ucdavis.edu or make an appointment by calling (530) 752-1393

Participation Requirements: Dogs with prostate cancer

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Contact Dr. Culp 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.

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.

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.

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

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

Printable Flyer (PDF)

Healthy Dogs

NEW! Healthy Dogs: Assessing Amino Acid Concentrations in Urine

Title: Amino Acid Concentrations in the Urine of Healthy Dogs

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

Contact:

Participation Requirements:

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

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

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

Benefits: 

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

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

Printable Flyer (PDF)

On Hold Until Further Notice

Chronic Kidney Disease: Assessing a Novel Treatment

Title: Effect of galectin-3 absorption on the outcome of dogs with chronic kidney disease

Purpose:  Chronic kidney disease (CKD) causes irreversible kidney damage. Progression of CKD may be caused by inflammatory mediators, such as Galectin-3, which is a newly recognized substance that has been associated with production of fibrosis or scar tissue. Since elevated levels of Galectin-3 have been associated with CKD, the purpose of this study is to determine whether the removal of Galectin-3 from the blood helps to slow the progression of CKD in dogs.

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).

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.

Subfertility: Examining Semen Parameters in the Labrador Retriever

Title: Advanced measures of spermatozoal parameters to predict fertility of subfertile dogs

Purpose: Sperm motility and number are the only parameters we currently have to measure sperm. These parameters do not have a strong correlation to subfertility in many males. We have the ability to measure more detailed aspects of sperm, including cell membrane and DNA integrity, as well as sperm cell metabolism. Some of these parameters may correlate with infertility. The objective of this study is to identify fertility parameters in canine semen which can be evaluated using fluorescent markers.

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.

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 in Dogs

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.

Spinal Cord Injuries: Finding a Treatment in Dogs

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.

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.

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.

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.

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