Enrolling New Canine Patients

Cummings School recruiting for clinical trial of dogs with urinary tract infections
Parson Russell Terrier and black Manchester Terrier Dog. Two small beauty friendly dog are running together over a green meadow
Two dogs running through a grassy field. Photo:iStock.com/K_Thalhofer

To test the effectiveness of a three-day antibiotic treatment for urinary tract infections (UTIs), Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University is recruiting canine patients for a clinical trial, funded by Morris Animal Foundation.

With few studies available to analyze the length of treatment for dogs with UTIs, the study seeks to compile information to address one of their most common infections.

“I wanted to study use of the same antibiotic for two different durations, using a drug that is commonly recommended,” explains Dr. Claire Fellman (she/her), a small animal internist at Cummings School’s Henry and Lois Foster Hospital for Small Animals with interests in pharmacology and immunology.

Researchers will conduct a randomized, placebo-controlled trial to determine if the antibiotic amoxicillin is as effective for three days as it is for seven days in the treatment of UTIs in dogs. 

“Of the published UTI studies, none have tested amoxicillin, which is a first line drug for treating UTIs, according to the International Society for Companion Animal Infectious Diseases, which makes recommendations for antibiotic therapy for different conditions,” says Fellman. “Also, no one has compared using the same drug for two different durations of time. We’re trying to show that three days of treatment is not inferior to seven days.”

If effective, the new treatment course could improve antibiotic compliance, reduce the development of antibiotic-resistant UTIs, and ease treatment costs for pet owners. 

“If we show that a shorter course is as effective as a longer course, that means less drugs will be used, there will be less development of antimicrobial resistance within the host, and it saves owners’ money,” Fellman explains. 

“We know that the longer we use antibiotics, the more the flora in the body changes, so there are benefits to using a shorter course, both financial and microbiological. And we also want to ensure that we are recommending the right treatment." 

“Ultimately, the goal of the study is to support the antimicrobial guidelines that either yes, three days works in most dogs, or no, we need to revise those guidelines, maybe for a longer course or using a different antibiotic.”

The study is seeking 100 dogs with UTIs that are free of any condition that would predispose them to get an infection, such as urinary cancer, diabetes, or Cushing’s disease, among others, according to Fellman. Some diagnostic testing will be covered by the study. 

Four study sites will be used, each of which can be contacted directly for an appointment: