VMF Funded Research

Since its founding, the Veterinary Memorial Fund has supported over 100 different projects to foster improved veterinary medical care. The Fund has helped scientists develop knowledge, improve procedures, and perfect techniques in areas such as genetics, imaging technologies, chemotherapy, wound healing, dental disease and equine laminitis.

Our clinical research depends heavily on VMF funding. Read more about how these funds are improving human and animal health through our Veterinary Clinical Research Office.

VMF Funded Research Projects

2017-2018

Lead Investigator:
Borgarelli, Michele
Study Title:
Effect of treatment with spironolactone in dogs with pulmonary hypertension and myxomatous mitral valve disease
Purpose:
To evaluate whether treatment with the drug spironolactone, in addition to conventional therapy for congestive heart failure, will improve pulmonary hypertension in dogs with mitral valve disease
Proposal Amount:
$21,522
Lead Investigator:
Dervisis, Nick
Study Title:
Irreversible electroporation for liver cancer immunotherapy – A pilot study
Purpose:
To evaluate the effectiveness of a novel tumor destructive technique (H-FIRE) on the immune systems of dogs with primary liver cancer
Proposal Amount:
$21,000
Lead Investigator:
Herring, Ian
Study Title:
Retrobulbar neurolytic ethanol injections for the treatment of end-stage canine glaucoma
Purpose:
To investigate the use of retrobulbar (behind the eye) alcohol injections in dogs with end-stage glaucoma as a treatment option to provide pain relief
Proposal Amount:
$19,675
Lead Investigator:
Lahmers, Kevin
Study Title:
Development of a stall-side sequence-based test of Equine Herpes Virus-1
Purpose:
To investigate the use of a portable, nanopore-based sequencing system, the MinION, as a method of detecting Equine Herpes Virus-1 in horses
Proposal Amount:
$18,925

2016-2017

Lead Investigator:
Borgarelli, Michele
Purpose:
To test feasibility and long-term effects of miniminally-invasive repair of the mitral valve using the Harpoon TSD-5 device in dogs with chronic mitral valve disease
Proposal Amount:
$18,403
Lead Investigator:
DeMonaco, Stephanie
Purpose:
To determine if a new renal biomarker, SDMA, can predict kidney dysfunction in hyperthyroid cats
Proposal Amount:
$19,996
Lead Investigator:
Dervisis, Nick
Study Title:
Tissue microarray development for prognostic factor discovery in Histiocytic Sarcoma
Purpose:
To understand more about the predictive risk factors for Histiocytic Sarcoma in dogs
Proposal Amount:
$10,230
Lead Investigator:
Herring, Ian
Study Title:
Topical ophthalmic administration of lacritin peptide (Lacipep™) for the treatment of canine keratoconjunctivitis sicca
Purpose:
To determine whether topical application of a synthetic form of a naturally occurring tear film protein, lacritin, will improve tear production in dogs with dry eye
Proposal Amount:
$8,695
Lead Investigator:
Klahn, Shawna
Purpose:
To evaluate whether treatment with prednisone prior to surgical removal of mast cell tumors in dogs affects the determination of tumor grade, and therefore the prognosis and treatment following surgery
Proposal Amount:
$17,460
Lead Investigator:
Ruth, Jeffrey
Study Title:
The use of MR-Guided High Intensity Focused Ultrasound in combination with low temperature sensitive liposome encapsulated doxorubicin: tissue concentration and acute effects on nerve function in a normal dog model
Purpose:
To assess the ability of MRI-guided ultrasound to release a chemotherapy drug (doxorubicin) from encapsulated microspheres into tissue and to determine if this treatment will affect nerve function
Proposal Amount:
$21,715

2015-2016

Lead Investigator:
Zimmerman, Kurt
Study Title:
Immunosignature Differentiation of Meningoencephalomyelitis and Brain Tumors in Dogs
Purpose:
To determine whether a blood test can provide a non-invasive way to diagnose different brain diseases in dogs
Proposal Amount:
$19,826
Lead Investigator:
Barrett, Jennifer
Study Title:
Accuracy of open MRI for guiding injection of the equine deep digital flexor tendon with the hoof
Purpose:
To validate a technique for treating injury to a tendon within a horse's hoof using open MRI guidance
Proposal Amount:
$9,160
Lead Investigator:
Panciera, David
Purpose:
To see if a new method for determining radioiodine dosage in cats with thyroid disease is better than an existing treatment that uses standardized doses
Proposal Amount:
$19,420
Lead Investigator:
Rossmeisl, John
Purpose:
To determine a safe and effective dose of modified Newcastle virus for the treatment of dogs with with brain tumors
Proposal Amount:
$19,817
Lead Investigator:
Soares, João
Study Title:
Cardiovascular and isofluorane sparing effects of fentanyl in dogs
Purpose:
To compare how different doses of the pain-relieving drug fentanyl affect anesthetic requirements and heart and lung function in dogs who are given the anesthesia drug isoflurane
Proposal Amount:
$32,052

2014-2015

Lead Investigator:
Dahlgren, Linda
Study Title:
Serum amyloid A as an aid in the diagnosis of septic arthritis in horses
Purpose:
To evaluate the reliability of a new handheld test to evaluate joint infections in horses
Proposal Amount:
$20,000
Lead Investigator:
Dervisis, Nikolaos
Purpose:
To assess the ability of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to differentiate between benign and cancerous lymph nodes
Proposal Amount:
$12,800
Lead Investigator:
Klahn, Shawna
Purpose:
To determine a safe and effective dose of the chemotherapy drug oxaliplatin in the treatment of solid tumors in dogs
Proposal Amount:
$18,688
Lead Investigator:
Lanz, Otto
Study Title:
Cytokine and Growth Factor Profiles in Healthy Canine Autologous Conditioned Serum
Purpose:
To study methods of using a dog’s own blood products to regulate their inflammatory and immune responses
Proposal Amount:
$18,920
Lead Investigator:
Panciera, David
Study Title:
Normalization of Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Thyroid Axis after Discontinuation of Levothyroxine in Euthyroid Dogs
Purpose:
To improve the accuracy of thyroid tests by establishing an optimal time to test thyroid levels in dogs who have been withdrawn from thyroid hormone supplementation
Proposal Amount:
$20,000
Lead Investigator:
Witonsky, Sharon
Study Title:
Can levamisole up-regulate the macrophage (M1) dendritic cell (DC1) CD4 T-helper 1 (Th1) CD8 equine cell-mediated immune response in vitro?
Purpose:
To assess whether the anti-parasitic drug levamisole can enhance the immune response of equine white blood cells and potentially be used as a supplemental treatment for horses with infectious diseases like EPM, Lyme and Rhodococcus equi.
Proposal Amount:
$12,425

2013-2014

Lead Investigator:
Cissell, James
Purpose:
To assess the effectiveness of a new therapy that delivers high voltage, high frequency electrical pulses in the treatment of invasive skin cancer (SCC and EMM) in horses
Proposal Amount:
$18,900
Lead Investigator:
Herring, Ian
Study Title:
Effect of perioperative administration of fixed combination Dorzolamide Hydrochloride 2% Timolol Maleate 0.5% on incidence and severity of post-operative ocular hypertension in dogs undergoing cataract surgery
Purpose:
To investigate whether pre-treatment with topical anti-glaucoma medications will reduce the frequency or severity of elevated eye pressures following cataract surgery in dogs
Proposal Amount:
$8,005
Lead Investigator:
Pancotto, Theresa
Study Title:
Determination of atlanto-axial separation during cervical ventroflexion of immature dogs
Purpose:
To determine if spinal laxity in young dogs can help us understand more about how to treat dogs with spinal problems
Proposal Amount:
$5,600
Lead Investigator:
Zajac, Anne
Study Title:
The value of PCR in the diagnosis of canine Giardiasis
Purpose:
To compare the accuracy of a common laboratory technique called PCR screening with the currently-recommended three-part screening procedure for the parasitic disease Giardia, and to evaluate which genetic variants of Giardia are present dogs in Southwestern VA
Proposal Amount:
$15,126