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Explore the basics and frequently asked questions regarding VCA Clinical Studies. Still have questions? Please contact us.


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For Pet Owners

The Basics

Veterinary clinical studies scientifically investigate new or existing medical treatments, tests, or procedures to determine if they can offer better options than our current standard of veterinary therapies and whether these options are safe and effective. Clinical studies follow strict scientific guidelines, most importantly to protect the patients and next to provide quality study data. The clinical studies provided by VCA hospitals treat client-owned animals with spontaneous or naturally occurring diseases.

When your pet receives treatment from your VCA primary care veterinary hospital or VCA specialty hospital, our highly trained professionals evaluate the best treatments for your pet. Treatment options may include discussing potential enrollment in a clinical study, if eligible, and you will decide if this is the best option for you and your pet. Should you decide to enroll your pet into a clinical study, it is a detailed process for you and your veterinarian to review and discuss thoroughly.

VCA has clinical studies that range from cardiac conditions, to cancer, and skin infections to nutrition at any one time. See our current list of studies under the Find Studies section of this web page.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why Are Veterinary Clinical Studies Important?
Clinical studies help practitioners in the human and veterinary fields investigate ways to improve the quality of care our patients receive. Many diseases have limited treatments or may partially respond to current medications or procedures. If your pet's current treatment is not working, participating in a clinical study could allow your pet access to advanced treatments that are not commercially available. You and your pet’s participation in a clinical study could be very rewarding, and make a difference in the health care of other pets and aid human healthcare in the future.

Are Veterinary Clinical Studies Safe?
Clinical studies follow the same high quality standard of care provided by your VCA veterinarian. The study patients are closely monitored and we take every precaution to minimize any risk to you and your pet. It is possible the study treatment may not be effective, the patient may have side effects, or there is a placebo element to a study. All of these aspects will be discussed with you in advance of entering your pet into a clinical study. The number one priority is the safety and health of your pet.

What Is A Veterinary Clinical Study?
Veterinary clinical studies are scientific evaluations conducted in hospitals to study new treatment therapies, compare new treatments to an existing one, to collect samples, or to understand disease processes.

How Do I Enroll My Pet In A Study?
If you are a pet owner with an animal diagnosed with a condition and we have a current clinical study open in your area, please speak to your primary care veterinarian about your pet’s care options. Participation in a clinical study is voluntary. Your pet may need to meet certain enrollment criteria prior to screening for entry into a study. Enrollment criteria will be discussed and may depend on what type or stage of disease we are treating, your pet’s age, and present health condition.

What Are My Responsibilities If I Want My Pet To Participate?
As a pet owner, it is important to read and understand the information given to you about a clinical study before you sign the Owner Informed Consent form and your pet is enrolled into a clinical study. Your veterinarian will explain all aspects of the study in detail and you may ask any questions to clarify the information. During the study, there may be at-home procedures required, medications, and paperwork to complete. It is important to keep all scheduled appointments and updates during the study duration for your pet’s healthcare.

Will I Be Paid For My Pet’s Participation In A Clinical Study?
Some study sponsors may compensate pet owners for the time spent participating in a study. This may include gift cards to offset transportation, parking, or meals. These items cannot be exchanged or substituted for money.

How Long Is The Clinical Study?
The length of a clinical study will vary, depending on the nature of the treatment, medication, or diagnostic testing. Study duration information is provided before study enrollment.

What Is The Financial Cost Of A Clinical Study For My Pet?
Clinical study treatment options may be at a lower cost to the pet owner. Costs vary by study, some studies may cover all or part or all of your pet’s treatment and medical care while your pet is enrolled in a clinical study. All financial costs will be discussed before enrolling your pet into a study.

May I Share Information About My Pet’s Participation In A Clinical Study?
Yes, but it is completely voluntary. Sharing your pet’s story is a great way to build awareness of veterinary clinical studies.

What Should I Do If My Pet Is Having An Emergency While In A Clinical Study?

Seek medical attention immediately for your pet. Advise the doctor your pet is participating in a clinical study and provide the name of the study investigator.

Will We Know About The Results Of A Clinical Study?
Your pet’s response to the study treatment will be closely monitored but overall study results will not be known for years to come.


Learn More

Have questions or comments regarding clinical studies? Send us an inquiry. We look forward to hearing from you! 

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