Clinical trials for Cardiology specialty

  • Description

    To determine whether administration of beta-blockers results in either a prolonged survival or a longer time until recurrence of pericardial effusion in dogs with hemangiosarcoma.

    Inclusion Criteria

    Dogs with pericardial effusion and a right atrial mass identified on echocardiogram are eligible for the study.

    Exclusion Criteria

    Dogs with certain severe irregular heart rhythms (e.g., ventricular tachycardia) and dogs who have surgery for the condition.

    Client Benefits

    The results of this study will help us determine whether treatment with beta-blockers improves the outcome in dogs with this disease. The cost of the recheck echocardiogram is covered by the study.

    Contact Information

    Dr. John Rush
    Phone: (508) 839-5395, ext. 8-4696.

  • Description
    “Saddle thrombus” is a devastating condition of cats where the back legs become suddenly paralyzed. This is almost always due to underlying heart disease, although it is not always known that the cat has heart disease. Current treatment revolves around supportive care and time but up to 75% of affected cats do not respond to therapy.  This study is looking to test a drug given currently in people to see if might help cats by blocking blood vessel constriction. The medicine, Bosentan, would be given in addition to the regular supportive care.

    Inclusion Criteria
    Sudden onset of hind limb paralysis, thought to be due to a blood clot.

    Exclusion Criteria
    Too weak to take an oral medicine; Paralysis for longer than 18 hours

    Client Benefits
    Free medicine, free blood tests, free echocardiogram (heart ultrasound)-Study covers about $700 of care per cat.  The owner is responsible for cost of hospitalization, and initial examination.

    Contact Information
    ER 508 887-4623 24 hours a day, or with less urgent questions.

  • Description: 
    Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is a common, devastating disease in the Boxer breed that is manifested by serious ventricular arrhythmias, dilation and reduced vigor of contraction of the heart, or both. Elevated markers of inflammation have recently been identified in the bloodstream of people with ARVC, implicating a possible role of systemic inflammation in the progression of the disease. The goal of this study is to measure plasma levels of inflammatory markers in Boxers with the arrhythmic and structural (DCM) forms of cardiomyopathy compared to healthy control Boxers. Associations between plasma markers, genetic testing (striatin status), and clinical markers of disease severity (including Holter and echocardiographic data) will be determined. Enrolled dogs will have a physical examination, blood draw, electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, and 24 hour Holter monitor performed. Based on the results of this testing, dogs will be assigned into affected or control groups. The results of this study are anticipated to improve our understanding of Boxer ARVC, and potentially open new avenues for screening and treatment of affected dogs.
    Inclusion criteria:

    Healthy Boxers aged 5 years or older, of either sex or neuter status, with no known non-cardiac systemic disease (kidney disease, infection, hypothyroidism, etc.) and no congenital heart disease (e.g. subaortic stenosis, ASD, etc.). Boxers affected with arrhythmia or DCM may be 3 years or older

    Exclusion criteria:

    Dogs that are pregnant or lactating, those with congenital heart disease, and those that have moderate to marked kidney disease, known infection or inflammatory disease, or evidence of other systemic disease that may impact biomarker levels will be excluded from the study.
    Client benefits:
    The study will cover all or most of the costs of the cardiology exam, bloodwork, echocardiogram, and Holter monitor (24 hour ECG). Your pet’s participation will also allow us to gain information which may help in the diagnosis and treatment of other Boxers with this condition.
    Contact information:
    Dr. Suzanne Cunningham
    Phone: 508-887-4696
  • Description

    We have started a new study to evaluate the use of ultrasound as a quick and non-invasive method of measuring muscle mass in dogs.  In many of the common diseases of dogs, such as heart failure, kidney disease, and cancer, a big problem that occurs is muscle loss.  This muscle loss is important because it can make dogs weak and can negatively affect their quality of life.  We have been studying methods of diagnosing and treating cachexia (the muscle loss that occurs with various diseases) for over 15 years. We are currently evaluating whether ultrasound, an non-invasive test, can be used to quickly and easily diagnose muscle loss in its early stages. 

    Inclusion Criteria

    To be eligible, dogs must be healthy 1-5 year old, neutered dogs (male or female) of the following breeds:



    *Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

    *Doberman pinscher



    Dogs must be purebred and should have no heart murmur or other medical problems. 

    Exclusion Criteria

    Dogs with heart murmurs or any significant medical conditions

    Client Benefits

    If eligible, the dog will get a free examination at Tufts, will have a small blood sample collected (less than ½ teaspoon; to measure red blood cell count, blood sugar, and an estimate of kidney function), an x-ray of the chest to measure bone size, and an ultrasound of the muscles over his or her back (no shaving required). 


    In addition to getting the free tests (blood test, x-ray, and ultrasound of the back muscles), this information will be beneficial in the future for dogs with heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, and other common diseases by validating an easy ultrasound test to measure muscle mass. 

    Contact Information

    Dr. Lisa Freeman Phone: (508) 887-4696