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Clinical Trials

Clinic TrialsCat Hospital of Chicago welcomes involvement in various clinical trials with our patients. Historically, cats have been "second-class citizens" when it comes to drug development and approval. Very few medications are approved specifically for feline use. However, thanks to several feline-specific clinical studies, this is changing. Clinical trials are one way we can be at the cutting edge of feline medicine and drug development. Participation in clinical trials enables us to remain actively involved in the process by which drugs and diagnostic testing come to play a role in feline veterinary medicine in the future. The outcome of these vital studies benefits the entire veterinary community by putting new treatment options for cats into the hands of veterinarians here and around the world.

What is a Clinical Trial?

A clinical trial is a rigorously controlled research study of a new drug, diagnostic test or medical device before that item is made available for general clinical use. These trials are conducted under the direction of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). All studies are performed according to the Good Clinical Practice (GCP) recommendations, a set of international guidelines that ensures the highest standards.

Many of the drugs, diagnostic tests and medical devices used in veterinary medicine—though approved for human applications—have not undergone clinical trials specifically related to animals. The clinical trials in which we participate are designed to specifically evaluate new drugs, diagnostic tests and medical devices for cats. In addition to these trials being designed for veterinary use, they also are conducted according to the standards and guidelines of the FDA. Rest assured that we do not experiment on any cats and always employ good clinical practices to ensure the welfare of all of our patients. We participate in clinical trials that are far along in the process and have already been through rigorous evaluation before advancing to the level of being clinically evaluated at our hospital.

Current Clinical Trials


In late 2016, we became involved in a clinical trial for a novel treatment for feline arthritis. Arthritis is very common in cats, especially geriatric cats. The signs that cats show are not what many people might expect. Cats rarely limp or cry. Instead, they may exhibit very subtle behavior changes that we may otherwise attribute to age (sleeping more, not jumping up on higher surfaces, etc.). These kitties are hurting! If your cat is unable to perform activities that s/he was able to perform years ago, consider having your cat screened for this clinical trial.

Weight Loss Management for Cats with Chronic Kidney Disease

Our most recent clinical trial involves a new treatment for managing weight loss in cats with chronic kidney disease. We know that many cats with chronic kidney disease have a decreased appetite and lose body weight. The weight loss is a result of their compromised kidney function, as well as other factors. There is a clear clinical benefit for cats with chronic kidney disease in maintaining a normal body weight.

Interested in learning more about our clinical trials?

Call our office at (773) 539-9080 or email at nurses@cathospitalofchicago.com for more details about one or more of our trials, or to be sent information that may be helpful in determining if your cat might be eligible.

Generally speaking, before a cat can qualify for clinical trials, they must be "screened" to see if they would make a strong candidate for testing. A screening visit typically involves a free examination and both free lab work and diagnostic testing. These tests may vary depending on the clinical trial.

If your cat meets the criteria for the clinical trial, he or she may be offered enrollment. Next a series of visits is set-up. Based on the clinical trial, each visit may include free exams, free laboratory work and diagnostic tests, free clinical testing medications, and free prescription diet food.

In addition to the free exams, lab work and diagnostic tests, medications, and prescription diet food, there may also be financial incentives in the form of monetary credit to your Cat Hospital of Chicago account.

Note: Incentives and free services vary based on the clinical trial.

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