One of my main goals for Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog is to keep pet parents informed about the latest veterinary research being conducted. So when I read a press release about the brand new AVMA Clinical Study Database, I knew I had to share the details with you. The comprehensive database from the American Veterinary Medical Association will open a world of new opportunities for sick and disabled pets, the clinical researchers studying them and practicing veterinarians who want to offer advanced care to their patients.
Follow along and I will explain how the program works and how to enroll your pet into the database.
The official AVMA Animal Health Studies Database launched in June 2016 after a two year feasibility study conducted by the AVMA Board of Directors. It will serve as a national registry of veterinary clinical trials in the United States and extend into Canada and the UK. The database will cover all fields of veterinary medicine.
The goal of the database is twofold:
- It will help researchers find the animals best-suited to participate in their clinical trials.
- It will increase the treatment options veterinarians can offer to their patients.
The AVMA Council on Research came up with the idea for the database. Their goal was to create a system that was comprehensive, but also user friendly so researchers studying a new drug, surgical procedure or treatment could list their trial and put out a national call for participants. The database also makes it easy for pet owners to search for clinical studies and enroll their dogs and cats.
The old system was complicated and had veterinarians searching through multiple websites in order to find a clinical trial for a patient. It was easy for a veterinarian to overlook a study or not be able to find one if it was being conducted in a private practice.
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Dr. Ed Murphey, an assistant director in the AVMA Education and Research Division said the current practice has limited how investigators have been able to recruit participants.
“There have, to this point, been limited opportunities for them to do so,” Dr. Murphey said. “A lot of the universities have a website, and they may put that on the website, but that’s highly dependent upon animal owners going to that university’s website and discovering it, so that’s not a very effective method. The AVMA Animal Health Studies Database will be a centralized collection where it will be one-stop shopping for people with animals with certain conditions who may be interested in trying to find out if there are any studies that may either help their animal or may at least help direct the advancement of knowledge for the condition.”
The AVMA believes there are many side benefits the database will produce:
- It will offer hope to the owners of pets with serious and life-threatening health conditions.
- The easy recruitment of patients will allow for a quicker completion of studies.
- Having a larger pool of patients to choose from will eliminate the need for researchers to induce or create health conditions.
- The database will give veterinarians more treatment options.
- The results of clinical trials will be listed for veterinarians and pet owners to review.
The only other veterinary database that resembles the new one was created by Dr. Kim A. Selting more than a decade ago to organize a method to find cancer trials in the USA. Her goal was to connect researcher with patients and help veterinarians understand their options. At times it also helped offset the cost of treatment to pets. But Dr. Selting found that her database allowed too many pets to slip through the cracks because their veterinarian wasn’t aware of a study or how to enroll a patient.
Soon the cancer trials website will become part of the new AVMA database.
How to use the AVMA Clinical Study Database
Visitors to the site can click on an area to read a list of “all studies” being conducted or they can narrow their search by entering a diagnosis, keyword, field of veterinary medicine, country and species of the animal. Details about the appropriate studies will pop up and list the date, location and timeframe of the trial, plus the type of treatment being tested, potential medical benefits to the animal, potential risks and the criteria to enroll.
While pet owners will be able to enroll their pet into a study, the AVMA highly recommends that you check with you veterinarian beforehand. Not every study will be appropriate for every animal with that health condition.
Click here to check out the AVMA Clinical Study Database. Let us know what you think. Would you use the database to enroll your dog, cat or other pet into a research trial?