Clinical trials for Cardiology specialty

  • 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

  • Description: Congenital heart defects occur in a variety of dog breeds, with the most common being the patent ductus arteriosus (PDA).  Although this is a correctable disorder in most puppies, it requires surgery or a catheter-based procedure which can be expensive and is not without risk.  Therefore, determining the genetic cause of PDA in dogs would be highly desirable so that dogs could be screened and the genetic mutation could be eventually bred out of the canine population.  Corgis are a breed at increased risk for PDAs, so the goal of this study is to evaluate Corgis with and without PDAs in order to identify the gene mutation for this heart problem.

    Inclusion Criteria:                                      

    Pembroke Welsh Corgis with a documented PDA will be studied.

    Exclusion Criteria:

    Breeds other than Pembroke Welsh Corgis.

    Client Benefits:

    The study will cover the cost of an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) as well as a blood sample for DNA testing.

    Contact Information:

    For questions regarding the clinical trial please email the clinical trials technician, Diane Welsh at:


  • Description:

    Previous studies on laboratory mice show a decrease in growth differentiation factor 11 (GDF11) in the circulating blood of old mice with age-related myocardial hypertrophy compared with young mice with normal cardiac structure.  The goal of this study is to see if the same GDF11 deficiency is also seen in cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).  We will be looking for cats with HCM and cats with normal heart structure to determine if there is a significant difference in the GDF11 concentration between the two groups.

    Inclusion Criteria:

    Cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)

    Cats with normal heart structure

    Exclusion Criteria:

    Cats that become overly stressed or anxious during the echocardiogram

    Client Benefits:

    The study will pay for the cost of the exam and echocardiogram.  Your cat’s participation in the study will also allow us to gain information which will help in the management and treatment of other cats with HCM

    Contact Information:

    For questions regarding the clinical trial please email the clinical trials technician, Diane Welsh at: