SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--VCA Animal Hospitals, the nation’s largest animal hospital chain, continues to support clinical research with their Clinical Studies program. VCA’s most recent study - completed in April 2016 – was done in collaboration with Dr. Matt Kaeberlein, a biology of aging researcher at University of Washington, and involved testing the safety of a drug called Rapamycin in dogs for the first time. Rapamycin has been shown to delay disease onset in mice and has been previously approved for use in human transplant patients.
The study was conducted at VCA Veterinary Specialty Center of Seattle by a team led by Dr. Karen Kline, VCA medical director and Dr. Heidi MacLean, cardiology specialist. Dr. Kline was in charge of performing physical exams on all patients, blood draws and interpretations, and communication with owners. Dr. MacLean performed echocardiograms on all patients and was responsible for measurements and interpretation. Dogs that were found to have any abnormalities in pre-study testing were excluded from participation. The study was a tolerability and safety study of the medication and used variable doses and placebo.
Dr. Kline found the findings of the study to be meaningful and multilevel. “I found that the human-animal bond is so deep in dog owners that they want to extend and help their companions live longer. It also allowed us to validate early detection of cardiac and metabolic abnormalities that in and of itself can extend lives.”
While Rapamycin is not currently approved for use in dogs, Dr. Kline added: “This study is an essential building block to confirm safety which will then allow a study of the prolongation of aging in a much larger population of dogs. The implications are exciting for a range of domestic animals if drug safety and minimal side effects can be proven.”
The VCA Clinical Studies program started three years ago and has coordinated a large number of studies for various industry sponsors. The program also performs non-sponsored studies with various VCA clinicians, residents and interns for the advancement of research in clinical animal care.
Dr. Philip Bergman, VCA director of clinical studies said, “With more than 600 hospitals nationally, of which about 10 percent are ER/specialty hospitals, we have the ability to do these clinical trials internally and externally in an efficient way. Our programs’ main goal is to move veterinary medicine forward and this latest study is another great example of how partnerships between private companies and universities are doing that.”
VCA (NASDAQ: WOOF) is a leading provider of pet health care services in the country delivered through over 600 small animal veterinary hospitals (VCA Animal Hospitals) in the US and Canada, a preeminent nationwide clinical laboratory system that services all 50 states and Canada (Antech Diagnostics), the leading animal diagnostic imaging company in the market (Sound), and VetSTREET, a leading provider of veterinary practice marketing solutions.
VCA hospitals are staffed by more than 3,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians to give your pet the very best in medical care. Over 400 of our doctors are board‐certified specialists who are experts in areas such as Oncology, Cardiology, Emergency & Critical Care, and Surgery for animals. VCA provides a full range of general practice services to keep your pet well and specialized treatments for when your pet is ill. For more information on VCA Animal Hospitals, please visit www.VCAhospitals.com or follow us on Twitter @vcapethealth.