Should You Enter Your Dog in a Veterinary Clinical Trial?


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Science may discover new and better treatments for diseases such as this canine lymphoma, due to clinical trials. Image by Joel Mills

Owners should base their decision to enroll a dog in a clinical trial on several considerations.

First and foremost in the decision-making process is the dog’s quality of life during and after the trial.

Dr. Nordone also suggested that owners ask about the potential for human health concerns after the dog comes home.

Some experimental therapeutics have residual effects, or are excreted over time, which may pose a risk to members of the household.

In addition to the practical aspects of being involved in clinical trials, Dr. Nordone also talked about the importance of appreciating the owners involved:

They absolutely should expect to be treated with compassionate care throughout the clinical trial because their participation is critical for the identification of new veterinary therapeutics. They should feel respected and valued for their contribution.”

How to Find a Clinical Trial For Your Dog

For most dog owners, the decision to enroll a pet in a clinical trial comes when established procedures can no longer help. In other cases, a dog owner might want to help researchers to learn more about breed-specific health issues. After consulting with their regular veterinarian, who may know of an appropriate trial, owners can also check with their nearest veterinary teaching hospital.

The Old English Sheepdog Club of America website lists all the US veterinary teaching hospitals conducting clinical trials. Dr. Nordone’s Canine Health Foundation website has a searchable database of clinical trials they are funding. For cats as well as dogs, the list of trials funded by the Morris Animal Foundation is found on their website. Once a potential trial is found, dog owners would do well to follow Dr. Nordone’s suggestions to ensure the best possible experience for their dogs and themselves.


American Kennel Club. Participation Needed. AKC Canine Health Foundation. Accessed June 26, 2012.

Morris Animal Foundation. Clinical Trials. Accessed June 26, 2012.

Old English Sheepdog Club of America. Accredited Colleges of Veterinary Medicine Offering Clinical Trials. Accessed June 26, 2012.

Tufts University. What is a Clinical Trial? Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Accessed June 26, 2012.

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