Learning that your pet has been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease can be devastating. What can make that horrible news even more heartbreaking is discovering that conventional treatment is either cost prohibitive or might not dramatically increase your pet’s life.
Enter the clinical trial.
Clinical trials focus on discovering new treatments for many conditions, including cancer, heart disease, spinal cord injuries, diabetes and osteoarthritis. Many of the medical therapies that are now considered conventional treatments were originally tested in dog or cat clinical trials.
Most clinical research involves testing new drugs; other trials focus on experimental treatments or new approaches to surgery. Each study tries to answer scientific questions and find better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat life-threatening diseases.
Participation in a clinical trial may help your pet’s prognosis and will advance veterinary science, helping future generations of animals to have better outcomes. Be sure to discuss the risks and benefits with your veterinarian before agreeing to participate in one. Make sure you understand the details about the study, the type of treatment, the potential risks, the duration of the trial, what costs you pay for and what costs the trial covers.
Most importantly, remember that you are always in control. You can choose to withdraw from a trial at any time without financial penalty or denial of future treatment.
There are numerous databases available online that allow you to search for a specific clinical trial for your pet’s condition. In addition, many veterinary colleges conduct clinical trials. Contact the school nearest you to see if they are conducting a trial on your pet’s disease.