Thank you for considering enrolling your pet in a clinical trial at Cornell. By participating, you are helping us to advance the health and well-being of animals and people. Before enrolling your pet in a clinical trial there are some questions to consider including what costs will be covered, the time requirement for the trial including follow-up visits, and what is needed from your pet such as a blood or tissue sample.
What is a clinical trial?
A clinical trial is a study performed on patients to evaluate medical devices or procedures, diagnostic tests, or even new therapies. The trial aims to answer a question about the health of a certain population. The questions that can be answered in a clinical trial can benefit both animal and human health. Many of the naturally occurring diseases that affect pets closely resemble those suffered by humans, As a result, animal clinical trials have a profound impact on not only veterinary medicine but humans as well.
Are there any costs involved in participating?
Each clinical trial is different in terms of costs. While some may cover all or most of the costs involved, others are only limited to certain items such as the diagnostic test for the study. You will be informed at the beginning of each trial what your financial responsibility includes and feel free to ask any questions or concerns you may have in regards to the cost of each test.
What are my responsibilities if I want my pet to participate?
If you choose to enroll your pet in a clinical trial you are responsible to follow and complete the study procedures as outlined in the client consent form. This may include medicating your pet for a certain number of times and/or returning to the hospital for follow-up visits. You must agree to inform the clinician in charge of the study of any concerns or health issues at home that your pet may be having or if you decide to remove your pet from the clinical trial. You should understand the costs provided by the study and also the costs you are required to pay before enrolling your pet in a clinical trial. Any questions that you may have can be addressed before you decide to enroll your pet.
What is needed from my pet to be a part of a clinical trial?
Each trial is different in terms of what is needed from your pet. Some trials just require a blood or tissue sample, while other involve your pet trying a new medication with follow-up visits needed. Still others require your pet to be a part of a certain procedure such as a CT scan or force mat data analysis. Some trials even require you to receive a phone call for updates on your pet's condition. These all vary with the type of trial being performed and will be communicated with you in advance.
Who benefits from clinical studies?
Clinical trials offer enrolled patients a chance to advance the future of health care for both animals and humans. Some trials allow access to a new treatment protocol that isn't currently available. Another benefit is your pet will have access to the best veterinary health care staff available. These include veterinarians, technicians, and other animal care specialists who are experts in their fields and will work to make your pet's visit as pleasant as possible. Even though your pet may not directly benefit from a clinical trial, their participation helps to further the medical knowledge of investigators and possibly saves lives in the future.
Are clinical trials safe?
Clinical studies are regulated at many levels. All studies involving client owned animals must be approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) or a committee delegated by the IACUC that has the expertise to evaluate clinical studies. These committees includes researchers, veterinarians, and lay personnel who are not involved in the medical field. All staff involved in the various trials are required to participate in courses and pass examinations on safety, ethics, and animal care before they can work with a study patient.
Is there financial assistance available to cover the costs unrelated to the study?
What are my and my pet's rights as a volunteer in a clinical study?
Should you volunteer your pet for a clinical trial you will be given a client consent form before the trial begins which explains the nature of the study, any risks and/or benefits, your responsibilities, as well as any financial compensation. It will also list the name and contact information of the study's principal investigator should you have any questions. You are also free to withdraw your pet from the study without penalty at any time that you feel it may be necessary.
Will I need to go to a different hospital or clinic for the study?
All studies are conducted within the Cornell University Hospital for Animals.
Will the doctors and veterinary technicians ask me more questions about my pet's condition?
Each time you visit the Hospital, you will be asked a series or questions and updates. Additionally, the clinician will let you know of any study updates.
Will there be more paperwork or additional tests when we are in the study?
There could be times when additional paperwork may be needed, depending on the nature of the study. There could also be the need for additional tests that are not part of the clinical study. In every case, those recommended tests will be reviewed with you to seek your approval. Depending on the nature and need for the test, they may be covered by the clinical study.
What questions should I ask if I am requested to participate in a clinical study?
You are encouraged to ask as many questions that you might think of regarding the participation in a clinical study. The informed consent form may provide many answers; however, if you have other questions or need further understanding, please do not hesitate to ask. Here are some questions that may come to mind:
What is the purpose of the study?
Why do you believe the new treatment being tested may be effective?
Has this treatment been previously tested?
How is my pet's safety being checked?
What are the possible short and long term risks?
Are there already standard treatments for my pet's condition?
How do the possible risks, side effects, and benefits in this study compare with standard therapy?
How will I know the treatment is working?
Will my pet be able to see our regular veterinarian?
Will I know the outcome of the study once it is completed?
Study results will be shared with you by the clinician in charge of the study. You will also be kept abreast of the study while it is being conducted. Continual communication is so important to the success of our studies.
How do I find out more or enroll my pet or client in a clinical study?
You can learn more about clinical studies being conducted in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University by subscribing to our email notification system
. Alternatively, our web site is updated frequently and new clinical studies are added.
Is there a reference guide to explain common terms used in clinical studies?
"The Perseus Foundation: Animal Cancer Awareness Initiative" developed an informative reference guide. Included within the guide are terms used in clinical studies.