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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.

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:
               Amber Winter, CVT, 612-624-1352  E-mail:

We are now enrolling in a new study looking at a new therapy 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.

Effect of spironolactone and ACE inhibitor therapy on proteinuria

Current Status:  Active and enrolling.
Principal Investigator: David Polzin, DVM, PhD, DACVIM
Contact: Dr. Polzin  E-mail:

The purpose of this study is to determine if the addition of spironolactone to the current standard of care for protein-losing nephropathy (ACE inhibitor, low-dose aspirin therapy, renal diet) will further decrease the amount of proteinuria. 

We are looking for dogs over 1 year old with protein-losing chronic kidney disease for a double masked, placebo controlled, clinical trial evaluating the effect of spironolactone on proteinuria. All dogs must be receiving standard of care therapy and on a stable dose of an ACE inhibitor for at least 2 months prior to enrollment.  The urine protein to creatinine ratio must be over 2.5 on therapy.  Dogs cannot have diabetes, hyperadrenocorticism, lupus or be on corticosteroid or spironolactone therapy.  Dogs with a serum potassium greater than 6.0 mmol/L, Creatinine great than 5.0 mg/dl or in uremic crisis are not able to participate.

All dogs in the study will receive the most current recommended care for protein-losing chronic kidney disease.  Dogs in the study will either get the spironolactone treatment or a placebo. The study involves 4 follow up visits over 2.5 months.  We cover all costs related to the study, but not compensation for participation.

To participate, please contact the research staff above. 

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

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


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