VMF Research Projects

Since its founding, the Veterinary Memorial Fund has supported over 100 different projects to foster improved veterinary medical care.

Dog and Cat
Owner with dogs

Veterinary Memorial Fund

Support the clinical research office while honoring the memory of a cherished companion animal. For each memorialized pet, the college with send a letter to the owner notifying them that a donation was made in their pet's memory.

Lead Investigator: Herring, Ian
Study Title: Indocyanine green photodynamic therapy as a potential treatment for fungal keratitis: An in vitro investigation of antimycotic effect
Purpose: To determine the ability of indocyanine green photodynamic therapy to inhibit the growth of Aspergillus fumigatus, a common fungus that can lead to series eye infections in horses.
Proposal Amount: $8,574

Lead Investigator: Menciotti, Giulio
Study Title: Real-time three-dimensional evaluation of the feline heart; feasibility and reference intervals
Purpose: To assess the feasibility of performing real-time 3D echocardiography in healthy cats and provide reference intervals for the four cardiac chambers in the feline species.
Proposal Amount: $27,710

Lead Investigator: Paranjape, Vaidehi
Study Title: Influence of Body Position Maneuvers on Hemodynamics in Euvolemic and Hypovolemic Dogs Undergoing General Anesthesia
Purpose: To determine how hemodynamic variables change when leg position is altered in isoflurane-anesthetized, healthy, adult dogs with and without blood loss. 
Proposal Amount: $26,150

Lead Investigator: Tuohy, Joanne
Study Title: A pilot study utilizing patient-derived organoids to develop high-frequency irreversible electroporation for osteosarcoma
Purpose: To evaluate in-vivo ablation of pulmonary metastatic osteosarcoma using high-frequency irreversible electroporation (H-FIRE) and develop the use of patient-derived organoids (PDOs) to predict clinical response to H-FIRE ablation.
Proposal Amount: $30,000

Lead Investigator: Menciotti, Giulio
Study Title: Speckle tracking echocardiography as a new screening tool for dilated cardiomyopathy in Doberman Pinschers
Purpose: To determine if a single diagnostic tool, echocardiography examination including speckle tracking echocardiography, could eliminate the need for 24-hour Holter monitor in Doberman Pinschers being screened for dilated cardiomyopathy. 

Lead Investigator: Ramos, Renata
Study Title: Pre- and post-phacoemulsification morphologic iridocorneal angle analysis by anterior segment gonioscopic imaging as a predictor of glaucomas in dogs
Purpose: To determine the clinical value of monitoring iridocorneal angle morphology as a predictor of glaucoma following cataract surgery in dogs. 

Lead Investigator: Serpa, Priscila
Study TitleDetection of circulating tumor DNA in liquid biopsies of dogs with lymphoma: biomarker discovery
Purpose: To investigate whether genetic material (DNA and microRNA) from cancer cells can be identified in the blood of dogs with lymphoma. 

Lead Investigator: Tuohy, Joanne
Study Title: Pilot study evaluating the ablative and biomechanical effects of complete tumor histotripsy ablation in canine osteosarcoma
Purpose: To evaluate histotripsy, a novel tumor ablation technique, as a non-invasive limb-salvage treatment in canine osteosarcoma.

Lead Investigator: Wilkinson, Ashley
Study Title: ADAMTS13 activity in dogs with presumptive idiopathic immune thrombocytopenia
Purpose: To determine whether a subset of dogs with presumptive idiopathic immune thromocytopenia have reduced activity of the enzyme ADAMTS13, which appears to play a role in blood clotting.

Lead Investigator: Dervisis, Nick
Study Title: High-Frequency Irreversible Electroporation (H-FIRE) for the treatment of metastatic liver disease
Purpose: To further characterize the safety and efficacy of High-Frequency Irreversible Electroporation (H-FIRE) in the treatment canine liver tumors
Proposal Amount: $18,090

Lead Investigator: Menciotti, Giulio
Study TitleThree-dimensional echocardiographic morphologic analysis of the mitral valve in growing Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (CKCS)
Purpose: To monitor the mitral valve structure of CKCS puppies throughout growth into adulthood, and to compare their valve structure to that of puppies of other breeds
Proposal Amount: $19,750

Lead Investigator: Grant, David
Study Title: Use of a point-of-care urine dipstick for detection of bacteriuria in large cohort of dogs with clinical signs of lower urinary tract disease.
Purpose: To further validate a new in-clinic test for detecting urinary tract infections in dogs
Proposal Amount: $12,128

Lead Investigator: Klahn, Shawna
Study TitleShall we THOP into remission? Evaluating efficacy and safety of a novel chemotherapy protocol consisting of temozolomide, vincristine, doxorubicin, and prednisone in dogs with treatment-naïve B-cell lymphoma
Purpose: To test the efficacy and safety of a novel chemotherapy protocol in dogs with newly-diagnosed B-cell lymphoma
Proposal Amount: $20,000

Lead Investigator: Paranjape, Vaidehi
Study Title: Clinical investigation of a modified passive leg raise maneuver in anesthetized dogs during spontaneous hypotension
Purpose: To test whether changing leg position of anesthetized dogs can help address episodes of low blood pressure
Proposal Amount: $16,300

Lead Investigator: Shinn, Richard
Study Title: Spinal Cord Toolbox Atlas for Dogs
Purpose: To create a resource for characterizing the complete neural structures of canine spinal cords for uses such as neurosurgical planning, neurological localization, and mapping
Proposal Amount: $20,000

Lead Investigator: Sawyere, Dominique
Study Title: Effect of bead size and drug concentration on in vitro elution of antibiotic impregnated calcium sulfate beads
Purpose: To refine our understanding of the behavior of antibiotic-impregnanted calcium sulfate beads, which are used at surgical sites to prevent post-surgical infections 
Proposal Amount: $19,920

Lead Investigator: Barry, Sabrina
Study Title: Determining Ideal Staple Size for Small Intestinal Surgery in Cats
Purpose: To compare intestinal leak pressures between feline small intestinal samples sealed with different sizes of surgical staple cartridges
Proposal Amount: $12,738

Lead Investigator: Borgarelli, Michele
Study Title: Comparison of Echocardiographic Measurement Methods of the Left Atrial Size and Their Clinical Utility as a Predictor of Adverse Cardiac Outcomes in Patients with Advanced Myxomatous Mitral Valve Disease (MMVD)
Purpose: To determine the clinical significance of four different methods of serial measurement of left atrial size to predict first onset of congestive heart failure in dogs with advanced pre-clinical MMVD
Proposal Amount: $30,700

Lead Investigator: Dervisis, Nick
Study Title: High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) for the treatment of canine soft tissue sarcoma (STS) - a pilot study
Purpose: To establish the feasibility, safety, and tolerability of HIFU in the treatment of canine STS, and to characterize the tumor response and time to progression after HIFU treatment
Proposal Amount: $25,715

Lead Investigator: Rodriguez, Roxanne
Study Title: Comparison of conjunctival pedicle flap adherence between photodynamic laser and conventional suturing
Purpose: To test whether photodynamic laser tissue welding of conjunctival pedicle flaps may be a viable sutureless technique for patients undergoing corneal surgery
Proposal Amount: $12,675

Lead Investigator: Shepherd, Megan
Study Title: Survey of Veterinarian-Reported Barriers to Pet Nutrition Communication During Small Animal Veterinary Appointments
Purpose: To refine communication around specific nutrition-sensitive conditions (e.g. obesity) and to create intervention strategies to break down common barriers to effective pet nutrition communication
Proposal Amount: $16,675

Lead Investigator: Tuohy, Joanne
Study Title: Evaluation of high-frequency irreversible electroporation (H-FIRE) for treatment of canine lung tumors
Purpose: To evaluate the feasibility and safety of treating lung tumors in client-owned dogs with H-FIRE, and to evaluate the tumor immune microenvironment in response to H-FIRE
Proposal Amount: $20,000

Lead Investigator: Borgarelli, Michele
Study Title: Three dimensional echocardiographic determinants of the age of onset of myxomatous mitral valve disease in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
Purpose: To map the hearts of the Cavaliers using specialized software and 3-D echocardiogram and predict future onset and severity of mitral valve disease
Proposal Amount: $33,120

Lead Investigator: Davis, Jennifer
Study Title: Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of Acetaminophen in Adult Horses with Naturally Occurring Osteoarthritis
Purpose: To investigate the short-term systemic effects of the pain-relieving drug acetaminophen on horses with naturally occurring lameness
Proposal Amount: $19,191

Lead Investigator: Lanz, Otto
Study Title: Minimally invasive, integrated endoscopic hemilaminectomy for Hansen Type I intervertebral disc herniation in chondrodystrophic dogs
Purpose: To investigate the feasibility of a minimally-invasive spinal surgery technique for dogs with herniated discs
Proposal Amount: $9,990

Lead Investigator: White, Nathaniel
Study Title: The effect of change in hoof conformation on horses' gait: a pilot study
Purpose: To determine if normal hoof trimming and resetting horse shoes changes the horse’s gait
Proposal Amount: $2,687

Lead Investigator: Dahlgren, Linda
Study Title: Bone marrow monocellular therapy for equine joint disease
Purpose: To evaluate ability of bone marrow mononuclear cells injected into the joints to improve clinical signs of naturally-occuring osteoarthritis in horses
Proposal Amount: $38,641

Lead Investigator: DeMonaco, Stefanie
Study Title: Evaluation of hemostatis in hyperthyroid cats
Purpose: To compare markers of blood clot formation in hyperthyroid cats and healthy cats and to evaluate markers of blood clot formation in hyperthyroid cats before and after treatment with radioiodine therapy and correlate with ultrasound scans of the heart.
Proposal Amount: $19,945

Lead Investigator: Herring, Ian
Study Title: Aqueous humor concentration and prostaglandin E2 supression efficacy of topically applied ophthalmic ketorolac 0.5% and diclofenac 0.1% solutions in dogs with cataract
Purpose: To investigate the effectiveness of two commonly used topical anti-inflammatory drugs in dogs with cataracts
Proposal Amount: $9,539

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