Background information
What are clinical trials ?

Clinical trials are experiments that examine a new treatment type for a certain disease. Via these trials your dog receives access to new treatment options. These new treatments can be varied: new anticancer medication, new surgical techniques, new radiation techniques, etc. Clinical trials are very important in research as they allow the evaluation of new treatment options or treatment procedures in patients for whom the treatment was conceived. These clinical trials are the best method to discover treatments that are possibly more efficacious or have less side effects than current treatment options.

In addition to clinical trials offering access to new treatments, there are also trials that focus on new diagnostic methods (e.g. detection of metastasis) or require a biological sample to further unravel the biology of certain tumour types.

In/exclusion criteria

Not every dog will be able to participate in a clinical trial. As clinical trials need to evaluate a new treatment type for specific tumour types or patients, the participating dogs will have to meet certain criteria. These criteria are also called inclusion and exclusion criteria and differ between clinical trials. The inclusion criteria can consist for example of a certain tumour type and the exclusion criteria of other diseases such as kidney malfunction. If your dog fits the inclusion criteria and you decide to let your dog participate, your dog will receive a close follow-up before, during and after the administration of the new treatment. The goal of this follow-up is to examine the safety and efficacy of the new treatment. This follow-up may include multiple blood samples, radiographs, ... and thus multiple visits to the institution where your dog receives the new treatment.


There are multiple advantages to clinical trials:

  • Your dog will have the possibility to get access to a new treatment which is not (yet) otherwise available, which can lead to similar or better results than the current standard treatment options for this tumour type.

  • If for any reason your dog cannot be treated with standard therapy (the existing treatments do not work (sufficiently) or have too much impact), your dog can receive an additional chance for a cure by participating in a clinical trial.
  • Standard treatment options can have a high cost, which is not always financially achievable. In general, clinical trials are free.
  • You and your dog can contribute to research that can potentially help other animals and/or humans in the future.

Possible disadvantages associated with clinical trials:

  • One cannot know in advance whether the new treatment is the most efficacious for your dog as this is being researched. Your veterinarian will always discuss the possible standard treatment options with you.
  • The new treatment may have unexpected adverse effects and it is therefore not possible to exclude severe side effects.
  • The examinations that have to take place to determine whether your dog fits the inclusion criteria may be more elaborate than those for a standard treatment.
  • Additional examinations and/or diagnostics can be necessary (as part of the research protocol)).