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Comparative Pain Research Lab at NC State Seeks Healthy Dogs for Canine Heart Disease Study

The Comparative Pain Research Laboratory at North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine is offering owners of healthy terriers, spaniels, or poodles free veterinary services valued at $300 if their pets qualify for a study investigating how heart disease affects a dog’s quality of life.

The participating dogs will members of control group whose daily activities will be measured and compared to the activity of dogs with early or mild heart disease.

Dr. Bernie Hansen

“Freedom of movement and activity are important contributors to a good quality of life in people, and we believe that the same is true for companion animals,” says study director Dr. Bernie Hansen, an associate professor of critical care and co-director of the  Comparative Pain Research Lab.

“People with moderate-to-severe heart problems have impaired mobility, and limited mobility predicts a poor prognosis for these individuals,” says Dr. Hansen. “We suspect the same is true for dogs. We hope to determine if a dog’s mild heart disease causes any measurable activity impairment. These findings will be useful in treating dogs with more severe heart disease.”

The researchers are seeking to enroll the following candidates:

Terrier 9.3-12.3 29-45 no no/yes
Terrier 11.1-14.1 11-17 yes yes/no
Terrier 8.7-11.7 23-34 yes no/no
Spaniel 11.7-14.7 18-29 no no/no
Poodle/poodle Mix 13.1-16.1 18-27 yes yes/yes
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 7.6-10.6 21-32 no yes/no


Study participants will receive a free health screening involving a thorough physical examination; complete blood work including chemistry panel, thyroid test, and urinalysis; and chest x-rays. The dogs will then be fitted with an accelerometer, small collar device that will accurately measure at-home activity for two weeks. Owners also will be asked to complete a short questionnaire.

“We hope that this study will offer new information concerning heart disease in dogs, and provide a sound basis for advancing heart failure treatments in the future,” says Dr. Hansen.

The study is sponsored by the Barry and Savannah French-Poodle Memorial Fund. For more information, call Andrea Thomson in the Comparative Pain Research Laboratory at 919-513-6854 or visit the study’s CPRL webpage.