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What is a clinical trial?

A veterinary clinical trial is a research study involving client-owned animals with the ultimate goal to advance animal health care. These studies may try to identify the most effective therapies and practices for a given condition or increase our understanding of a disease process. Veterinary clinical trials can also advance our understanding of a disease process and promising results may be translatable to human medicine.

Where are clinical trials conducted and who is involved?

  • Unless specified, all of our listed clinical trials are conducted on-site at the Ontario Veterinary College Companion Animal Hospital in Guelph, Ontario. 
  • Collected samples (blood and/or tissues) may be sent out to collaborators at external sites for additional testing which will be outlined in the study information sheet.
  • Each trial will be supervised by a Primary Investigator (faculty at the University of Guelph, Ontario Veterinary College). Additional support may include veterinary residents, interns and hospital technical staff.
  • Our clinical trials team also includes clinical trials and tumor bank coordinators, research support technician and research manager.

What are the benefits of having my pet enrolled in a clinical study?

  • Your pet will have access to experts in the field with additional care from the Clinical Trials team. 
  • The information gained by conducting the study can benefit future animals with the same or similar condition(s) 
  • Treatment may be at a lower cost. Some trials may pay for a part or all of your pet’s treatment, medical care and other expenses during the study. This will be outlined on the study information sheet. 
  • Your pet will be contributing to the validation of new treatments or procedures that may become more widely available to other pets affected by the same or similar disease process. 
  • Your pet may have access to otherwise unavailable state-of-the-art diagnostics and novel therapies. These may be more effective and/or have fewer side effects than standard of care.
  • Your pet will be contributing to medical advancements and discoveries in both animal and human medicine.

What is needed from my pet if they are enrolled in a clinical study?

  • Requirements for individual studies vary greatly and will be explained by a Clinical Trials team member prior to enrollment 
  • Signed owner consent is obtained prior to any sample collection, procedural change or administration of alternative therapies
  • Samples may be collected which could include blood, urine, or tissue. 
  • Surgical or diagnostic studies may require specialized equipment either in hospital or to go home with patients 

What are my responsibilities as an owner if I want my pet to participate?

  • Responsibilities will vary by trial.
    • It is important to understand the information presented on the Client Information Sheet and sign the Client Consent form. If you have any questions about the study, please ask your HSC veterinarian or Clinical Trials Team for clarification.
  • Maintain scheduled appointments.
    • Some of the studies will require routine sample collection (i.e. blood, urine, etc.) at select time intervals, either with your primary care veterinarian or at the OVC HSC. Other studies will require recheck examinations or follow-ups, either in clinic or via phone/email at regular intervals for a specified period. 
    • Please notify the Clinical Trials Team if your availability for future visits should change or you need to reschedule.   
  • Monitor your pet's health
    • Notify the Clinical Trials Team if there are any changes in the health of your pet or your willingness to participate in the study .
    • Should you have any concerns regarding the health status of your pet, you should notify the Ontario Veterinary College and Clinical Trials Team immediately and in case of emergency, go to your closest emergency animal hospital.

Are there risks involved in having my pet participate in a clinical trial?

Our trials are designed with every precaution to minimize the risk to your pet.  Clinical trial protocols go through rigorous review by multiple study and ethics review boards to ensure that the studies are optimally designed with the goal of an equal or better outcome for your pet in comparison to current standards of care.  There is a large amount of safety data already collected prior to carrying out any clinical trial; however, there is always some inherent risk associated with any protocol.

All potential risks and benefits will be discussed with you and written in detail before enrolling your pet in any clinical trial. This may include, but is not limited to: 

  • Potential for adverse events
  • New treatment, test, or procedure ineffective or unsuccessful 
  • More frequent testing or veterinary visits or prolonged hospital stay for additional monitoring

What if I don’t see a clinical trial for my pet?

There may not be a current trial right now for which your pet is qualified. We begin new studies frequently, stay up-to-date by signing up for our newsletter and checking the website regularly!

Back to Clinical Trials

Updated 16 days ago