Investing in Discoveries

Your Gifts at Work

Each year, OVC Pet Trust invests nearly $500,000 into projects and equipment to benefit companion animal health and well-being. Funded projects aim to improve the diagnoses and treatments of a wide variety of health conditions in pets. From using stem cells to understand canine epilepsy; examining cartilage cells to develop better treatments for joint injuries; and investigating predictors of how well dogs with bone cancer will do after treatment; the questions our researchers hope to answer are ones that may have benefits for pets and humans alike. 

Your support helps us invest in discovery, and train student veterinarians and specialists who have gone on to careers in private practice and at universities across Canada and around the world.

 

Spring 2017 OVC Pet Trust Funded Projects
 

Does the blood thinner drug clopidogrel work against platelets in sick dogs?
Using special blood tests, this study will help document if some dogs do not get enough of a blood-thinning effect from the drug clopidogrel, thereby identifying patients who remain at increased risk for stroke-like events and require additional blood-thinner treatment. This study may also help determine if there is a degree of blood-thinner effect using these blood tests that will prevent stroke-like events and enhance survival with different diseases.
 

Does lymph node cancer affect a common test for kidney disease in dogs?
A new test to assess kidney function involves measuring symmetrical dimethylarginine (SDMA), a normal waste product in the body that is excreted by the kidneys into urine. However, some dogs with lymphoma appear to have increased levels of SDMA with no other evidence of kidney disease. This study aims to measure SDMA in dogs with lymphoma before and after chemotherapy to further examine the effect of their disease on their SDMA levels.
 

Novel approach to studying intravenous fluid administration in cats to improve understanding and safety
This study will evaluate a simple, practical and readily accessible diagnostic tool's ability to diagnose or predict brain swelling, a problem that is very serious and currently difficult to predict in many cases. If successful, this technique could allow rapid and early detection of brain swelling and potentially reduce the risk of life-threatening complications of many neurologic diseases.
 

Using eye ultrasound to predict brain swelling in dogs
This study will evaluate a simple, practical and readily accessible diagnostic tool's ability to diagnose or predict brain swelling, a problem that is very serious and currently difficult to predict in many cases. If successful, this technique could allow rapid and early detection of brain swelling and potentially reduce the risk of life-threatening complications of many neurologic diseases.
 

Reference values for blood cells of tarantulas  
Tarantulas are commonly kept by hobbyists and as pets, but there is still limited information on diagnostic tests in the arachnid species. This project aims at characterizing the morphology and concentration of hemocytes (tarantula blood cells) in the hemolymph (tarantula blood) of the Cameroon red baboon tarantula. This will help assess overall health and blood response to disease of sick tarantulas.
 

Fecal transplant in the treatment of dogs with inflammatory bowel disease
This will be a first prospective, controlled study examining fecal transplant for treatment of inflammatory bowel disease in dogs. This study could help identify a novel, drug-free treatment option to improve remission rates in dogs treated for this condition.
 

Using blood ratios to accurately and non-invasively detect gastrointestinal bleeding in dogs
The simple ratios to be examined are available in all routine biochemistry profiles, and it is expected will be extremely clinically useful for veterinarians to decide when to investigate and treat patients more aggressively for gastrointestinal hemorrhage. Findings may also help to detect GI bleeding before the patient has clinical signs.
 

Using stem cells to enhance recovery after canine spinal cord injury
Improve outcome rates and the predictability of recovery after surgery in dogs suffering severe spinal cord injury such as intervertebral disc herniation.
 

A new diagnostic method for inflammatory brain and spinal cord diseases in dogs
This study aims to investigate a novel diagnostic method for meningoencephalitis of unknown origin, an elusive group of neurological diseases in dogs. If successful, the study will provide the basis for a more precise and reliable diagnosis that will guide treatment and foreseeing outcomes.
 

Evaluation of a sedation protocol to decrease anxiety in cats during transportation and medical examinations at the veterinarian
It is anticipated this study will have a significant impact on clinical practice. With an effective oral sedation protocol that is safe for use in cats, veterinarians will have a mechanism to make repetitive interactions with cats a less stressful experience for patients, owners and the veterinary team.
 

Do bacteria commonly found in canine surgical site infections contain genes that promote resistance to commonly used disinfectants in small animal surgery?
Surgical site infections (SSI) are an increasing concern in veterinary practice. The impact of SSIs can include increased morbidity and mortality, client and medical caregiver frustration and grief, prolonged patient hospitalization and increased treatment costs. This study will examine genes in bacteria that are resistant to disinfectants commonly used in human and veterinary hospitals. The results of this study may impact how patients are prepared for surgery.
 

Use of Newcastle disease virus to treat cancer in dogs and cats
Newcastle disease virus (NDV) causes a severe form of respiratory disease in poultry, but has a long-standing history of being very safe and effective in treating cancer in human patients. NDV is a very promising therapeutic that awaits application in veterinary oncology. OVC researchers have already demonstrated the potential of NDV to kill one canine osteosarcoma and two canine melanoma cell lines. The primary objective of this study is to generate an OVC-based oncolytic NDV strain (viruses that have the capacity to cause tumor regression) without proprietary constraints.
 

Sterility testing and bacterial biofilm formation assessment on materials used in 3D printing of patient specific implants
This research project will help build a solid foundation for a collaborative group of researchers to explore innovative uses of customizable, rapid prototyping for the treatment of various companion animal conditions. Testing the sterility and bacterial biofilm growth on various types of material used in rapid prototyping is the key first step before safely using this cutting-edge technology to improve the health and well-being of companion animals.