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Small Animal Medicine

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Welcome to the Small Animal Medicine Studies Page!

If you would like more information about a study, or think you would like to enroll your pet, contact the person listed under the study. You may also Contact Us at the CIC.


Clinical Features and Genetic Basis of Pulmonary Fibrosis in Dogs

Current Status:  Active and enrolling.
Principal Investigator: Ned Patterson, DVM, PhD
Contact: Amber Winter, CVT, 612-624-1352 E-mail:

In that past 15 years, a form of Pulmonary (lung) Fibrosis (scarring) has been recognized in some dogs, almost exclusively in West Highland white terriers (WHWT). We do not know currently what causes this or what genetics might contribute to it. A genetic predisposition in WHWT is suspected because only this breed has been reported to have confirmed pulmonary fibrosis (PF). We also do not have a known specific treatment to offer and therapy at best is to relieve the symptoms but does not affect disease progression.

We are looking for blood samples from WHWT with PF and healthy WHWT dogs over 8 years old, and chest x-rays on WHWT with low blood oxygen (determined from the blood sample). The blood samples will be used for DNA so we can compare affected dogs with unaffected dogs to see if we can detect gene mutations. We hope to identify gene mutations that might predispose dogs to PF. If these are found and verified, they could be used as a test to diagnose PF in the future and as a help in breeding decisions to help decrease the number of WHWT with PF. 

Some of the dogs with low blood oxygen in this study will have the opportunity of a CT scan which will help in full diagnosis of possible PF.

Benefits to the owner: no charge for study procedures and free physical exam. If your dog has low blood oxygen, X-rays will help in further diagnosis. Some dogs will recieve a CT at no charge. No other compensation is available, however, you will be contributing to discoveries that could help diagnose and eventually treat PF in dogs, and possibly people.

To participate, please contact Amber Winter above.

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Comparison of Low-Dose Aspirin vs Individually Adjusted Heparin on Survival of Dogs with IMHA

Current Status:  Active and enrolling
Jane Armstrong, DVM, MS, MBA, DACVIM
                       David Polzin, DVM, PhD, DACVIM
Contact:  Dr. Jane Armstrong, 612-624-4723  E-mail:
               Dr. David Polzin, 612-625-4254  E-mail:
               Andrea Eckert, CVT, 612-625-3157  E-mail:

We are enrolling in a study looking at low-dose aspirin vs individually adjusted heparin for immune mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA) in dogs.


  • Dogs weighing more than 11 pounds diagnosed with idiopathic IMHA (has no known cause)
  • Platelet counts greater than or equal to 40,000
  • PT/aPTT not greater than twice normal
  • Not on aspirin or any immunosuppressant for 3 days prior to the study
  • Not on heparin for the 24 hours prior to the study


Thromboembolism (clot-forming) is the most common complication and the most likely cause of death in dogs with IMHA. The current standard of care is low-dose aspirin, although there is little scientific support that this is beneficial. A recent study here at the University of Minnesota revealed promising results for the use of individually adjusted heparin vs. standard doses of heparin in reducing mortality. This clinical trial is urgently needed to determine the best kind of anti-coagulation therapy.


Qualified dogs will receive study-related examinations, specified tests, and anti-coagulation therapy at no charge (up to $1300 per dog over a 6-month period).  Other charges due to a dog's IMHA will be the owner's responsibility.

For more information, please call or e-mail one of the contacts above.

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Genetic basis of calcium oxalate stones in high-risk breeds

Current Status:  Active and enrolling.
Principal Investigator: Ned Patterson, DVM, PhD
Contact: Dr. Eva Furrow  E-mail:

We are looking for certain breeds of dogs to help determine the genetic basis for developing calcium oxalate urinary stones. Your dog may be eligible if he/she:

  • is a purebred Miniature Schnauzer, Bichon Frise, Shih Tzu, Yorkshire Terrier  or Miniature Poodle
  • has a history of calcium oxalate stones (Case group) OR
  • is at least 8 years old and has never had calcium oxalate stones (Control group)
  • is not currently receiving any steroid medications (ex. prednisone, dexamethasone, methylprednisone) or diuretics (ex. Lasix, hydrochlorothiazide)
  • has never been diagnosed with Cushing's Disease 

We will perform free blood work (mini kidney and electrolyte panel) and urine tests for all dogs and abdominal x-rays for Control group dogs (with no history of stones).  We will also compensate owners $25 per dog for participation in the study.

The study requires one visit to the VMC for these non-invasive tests and collection of a small sample of DNA.

If you are interested in the study, please contact Dr. Furrow at 612-625-6222 or

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For more information on our Small Animal Medicine Department, please click here .





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