Why Participation in Canine Health Research Matters


In science, progress is measured in small steps along the way to major discoveries. By consistently funding the most innovative research, CHF is realizing both small milestones and major breakthroughs in canine health. All our successes show progress towards our goal to prevent, treat and cure canine disease.

In order to make strides in canine health, researchers depend on help from the dog-owning community. Whether it be participating in a research project where weekly blood-draws are necessary, or in a clinical trial where cutting-edge medications are being utilized to treat a health issue, or providing DNA samples to a bank for use in the research to understand a disease at the molecular level, these are just a few of the ways dog owners can help move canine research forward.

Louise Gregg of Newville, PA, an owner and breeder of Cavalier King Charles spaniels, has participated in several studies to benefit the health of dogs. She encourages other breeders and pet owners to become involved in clinical trials and to participate in research studies.  “Because of research we have newer, better medications and treatments being developed,” said Gregg. “Some people may think that the dogs will become nothing more than ‘lab rats,’ but that could not be further from the truth.” Sometimes a study simply involves providing blood samples and information about your dog. For the studies involving drug trials, “Every precaution was taken with my dogs,” said Gregg. “At no time did I feel that my beloved pets were at risk from the drugs being tested. They were closely monitored, and their safety was always put first.”

On the CHF website information can be found on current research studies being conducted throughout the United States. These studies involve a number of different canine health concerns and involve many different breeds. “Participating in the research studies allowed my dogs to be more closely monitored and cared for than I ever would have been able to afford,” said Gregg. “And I was happy to be able to contribute to working towards my dogs, and all dogs, living longer, healthier lives.”

Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) DNA Repository   

The CHIC DNA Repository, co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF), collects and stores canine DNA samples along with corresponding genealogic and phenotypic information to facilitate future research and testing aimed at reducing the incidence of inherited disease in dogs. DNA samples from any purebred dog may be submitted.  There are now over 16,000 samples in the DNA bank from 171 breeds. Any canine health researcher may apply for use of these samples, however CHF-funded studies are pre-approved for sample access.


Learn more at the CHIC website, www.caninehealthinfo.org


Canine Comparative Oncology and Genomics Consortium (CCOGC) 


The CCOGC began as an informal collaboration of veterinary and medical oncologists, pathologists, surgeons, geneticists, and molecular and cellular biologists. Together, they sought to leverage opportunities that would result from a better defined understanding of the genetics and biology of cancers in companion animals, to provide a forum for discussion and sharing of resources and reagents, and to guide the development of novel technologies that would allow the study and use of appropriate canine cancers in the global study of cancer biology and therapy. 


The CCOGC collects tissues and fluids from dogs with specific cancer types following strict guidelines. These procedures ensure all samples are of high quality and can be used consistently across multiple research projects. The samples are assessable to any research project with scientific merit. Learn more about CCOGC and find a collection site near you at the CCOGC website, www.ccogc.net.


By providing samples to CCOGC dog owners are contributing to the bank of cells that researchers can access in their study of comparative oncology – helping not only their four-legged friend, but their human friends as well.

Individual Research Projects: Clinical Trials

If your dog has recently been diagnosed with a disease, there may be a clinical trial in your area investigating a treatment for that disease. Clinical trials help veterinarians investigate methods to improve detection and treatment of canine health issues, as well as improve the quality of care each patient receives. Participating in a clinical trial brings with it a commitment to follow through on therapies and testing and may help your dog’s prognosis. The benefits can include access to cutting-edge medicine, advancing veterinary science, and helping future generations of dogs.


On the CHF website at http://www.akcchf.org/research/participation-needed/ dog owners can search for projects by research area, breed of dog, and type of participation needed – blood sample, DNA sample, tissue sample, or clinical study. While this list is in no way meant to be exhaustive of the canine health research projects that are ongoing, it is an excellent resource, placing dog owners with scientists who are developing cutting-edge treatments.


The requirements to participate in clinical trials vary greatly. Some offer financial compensation and others will require the dog owner to pay for the medical treatment. You and your dog will likely have to travel to the trial site multiple times, so look for trials in your geographic region. 

Help Future Generations of Dogs

Participate in canine health research by providing samples or by enrolling in a clinical trial. Samples are needed from healthy dogs and dogs affected by specific diseases.

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