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Home > Feline Research and Participation Opportunities



  • There used to be very little research into feline CKD but fortunately that is changing.

  • It is sometimes possible to participate in research studies, both to help your cat and to help other CKD cats who should benefit from the research findings.

  • With some studies, you will need to attend the research facility, normally one of the main US vet schools. However, distance participation is possible with some of the studies.

CKD Studies Where Attendance is Necessary


These studies require you to attend at a particular vet school or specialist centre.

Stem Cell Transplant: Animal Medical Center, NYC


Autogenous stem cell delivery for chronic kidney disease. Phase II: Efficacy


The Animal Medical Center is researching stem cell treatment in CKD cats. The cat cannot be over 16 years old and must have no history of stones or any other illness, although controlled hypertension is acceptable. Creatinine levels must be between 2.9 - 5.0 mg/dl. Follow up tests are covered for three years.


The stem cells will be obtained from the cat's own fat, and will be transplanted into the cat's renal artery via the femoral artery under general anaesthetic.


Leah Soergel

Phone 212-329-8835



Mirtazapine: Ohio State University


Assessment of transdermal mirtazapine as an appetite stimulant in cats with chronic kidney disease


Mirtazapine is commonly used as an appetite stimulant in CKD cats (see Persuading Your Cat to Eat). This study is researching the effectiveness of mirtazapine when given transdermally (applied to the outside of the ear).


Cats with stable CKD with creatinine 2-5 mg/dl are eligible to participate. Cats with other illnesses such as hyperthyroidism or complications such as pyelonephritis are not eligible. The study requires three visits and medicating your cat for six weeks. Your vet can liaise with Ohio State University to arrange everything.


Dr Jessica Quimby



Omeprazole: University of Tennessee


Evaluation of the effect of omeprazole on clinical signs in cats with chronic kidney didease


Omeprazole is commonly used to help CKD cats with gastrointestinal problems by inhibiting the release of stomach acid. This study is looking at the effects of omeprazole on clinical signs in cats with chronic kidney disease.


Cats with a stable creatinine over 2.9mg/dL and a USG below 1.035 (IRIS stage III or IV) are eligible to participate. Cats with other illnesses such as diabetes, pancreatitis or gastrointestinal disease are not eligible. The study requires weekly to biweekly exams and blood work for eight weeks. Your cat will be given omeprazole or a placebo once per day for two weeks. After a fourteen day rest period the cat will be given the drug not given during the first two weeks. A physical exam, CBC, serum biochemistry, urinalysis, urine culture, blood pressure and total T4 will be paid for, as will a physical exam and serum biochemistry every two weeks for eight weeks during the study. If acid suppressants are being used, they will need to be discontinued for a minimum of seven days prior to joining the study. Other medications are permitted if they have been started for more than two weeks and are given consistently.


Dr. Katie Tolbert



Aluminium Concentrations: Ohio State University


Aluminum concentrations in cats with kidney disease


Since phosphorus levels often rise in CKD cats, treatments called phosphorus binders are often necessary, and one commonly used phosphorus binder is aluminium hydroxide. There is some concern about the possible risk of aluminium toxicity in cats using aluminium hydroxide based binders, but it is not known what is a normal aluminium level in cats. This study aims to ascertain normal blood aluminium levels in healthy cats and CKD cats, and check the effect of aluminium hydroxide binders on blood aluminium levels.


Participants must be healthy based on tests within the last week, or alternatively have been diagnosed with CKD within the last week.


Dr Cathy Langston

Phone (614) 247-8706




Aluminium Food Cans: Ohio State University


Effect of aluminum food cans on cats with kidney disease


Since phosphorus levels often rise in CKD cats, treatments called phosphorus binders are often necessary, and one commonly used phosphorus binder is aluminium hydroxide. There is some concern about the possible risk of aluminium toxicity in cats using aluminium hydroxide based binders. In this study, which aims to determine blood aluminium levels in CKD cats to see if diet influences blood aluminium levels.


Dr Cathy Langston

Phone (614) 247-8706




Hyperammonaemia: Tufts University


Evaluation of hyperammonema in cats with renal azotemia


Azotaemia means there is increased nitrogenous waste in the bloodstream, i.e. BUN/urea and creatinine levels are elevated. Hyperammonaemia means elevated levels of ammonia. This study will examine the hypothesis that blood ammonia levels will be elevated in cats with renal azotaemia. If the ammonia levels are high, therapy will be used to reduce them. Vitamin B12 levels will also be checked and supplemented if they are low.


Cats with confirmed CKD with creatinine over 1.6 mg/dl are eligible. Cats with other diseases which may increase ammonia levels (e.g. portosystemic shunt) or a previously documented vitamin B12 deficiency are not eligible to participate. Cats taking medications which reduce ammonia levels such as lactulose or antibiotics may not participate.




Ureteral Obstructions and Stent Placement: UC Davis


Evaluation of post-operative outcome in cats undergoing ureteral stent placement to relieve ureteral obstruction


This study is to assess the complications that may arise during and after the placement of a ureteral stent to relieve blockages. Bloodwork and urine output will be monitored, with visits required two weeks and three months after stent placement. Some of the blood tests and ultrasound tests will be paid for by the study.


Dr. Culp

Phone (530) 752-1393



SDMA and Creatinine Levels in Cats with Blockages: Animal Medical Center, NYC


Assessment of symmetric dimethylarginine SDMA and creatinine concentrations in cats with post-renal obstructions before and after decompression of the obstruction


This study investigates the usefulness of SDMA, a new measure of kidney function, in cats with post-renal azotemia (increased kidney values caused by obstructions of the ureters or urethra).


Dr. Kendall Wilson




Studies Where Attendance is Not Necessary


These studies may require you to make regular vet visits, but these can be done to your regular vet.

Constipation Study


CKD feline faecal survey


Constipation is a frequent problem for CKD cats. This study aims to assess the frequency and consistency of defecation in cats with CKD, and to investigate owner awareness of their cat’s defecation habits. There is a similar survey for non-CKD cats.


Inspire Study




This study is looking into whether the medication in question delays the progression or worsening of CKD in cats.


I believe that the medication in question is telmisartan. Telmisartan is a heart medication (an angiotensin II receptor blocker or ARB), which is already approved for the treatment of proteinuria in cats in Europe and Canada under the name of Semintra.


This study is aiming to recruit 500 cats worldwide to participate in this randomised, double-blind study (i.e. neither you nor your vet will know if your cat is receiving the medication or a placebo), which will last for three years. I presume the potentioal delay in the progression or worsening of CKD in cats would be via the medication's effect on proteinuria (which not all CKD cats have).


Cats with confirmed CKD with creatinine over 1.9 mg/dl (168 µmol/L) but below 5 mg/dl (440 µmol/L) are eligible, as are cats at risk of CKD (i.e. cats with some of the symptoms of CKD, as described at the above link). If USG was measured when bloodwork was checked, it must be below 1.035. Cats receiving a therapeutic kidney diet must have been on it for at least four weeks before enrollment in the study. Participants may not have hyperthyroidism, diabetes or cancer.


A couple of members of Tanya's CKD Support Group have looked into this study but have told me they were informed that their cats would not be able to receive sub-Qs at home for the duration of the study, and sub-Qs could only be given twice a week at their vet's office, so they decided not to proceed.


Telomere Senescence Study: Colorado State University


Telomeres are specialised protective structures located at the ends of chromosomes. The DNA component of telomeres gradually shortens with age and eventually becomes too short to allow protective structures to form and signal the cell to stop dividing. This process is called cell senescence.


In a study sponsored by the Morris Animal Foundation, researchers at Colorado State University are investigating the role of cell senescence in the development of feline CKD. Using a series of tests, they will compare measurements of cell senescence in deceased CKD cats and deceased cats who did not have CKD. They hope this may help lead to further treatment options for CKD.


In order to do this, the researchers need to obtain kidney samples from deceased cats. They are particularly interested in the kidneys of cats with kidney stones. Although this is a difficult thing to contemplate, some people might like to consider donating their cat's body to Colorado State University, to allow them to take a few small samples after death. In return, they are offering free cremation. The ashes of the deceased cat would be returned to their caregiver within about a week.


The kidney samples would also help with studies into whether nausea and lack of appetite in cats with CKD are caused by a specific condition, and to better understand the stages of kidney disease.


Please note: Dr Quimby has left Colorado State University (see below), and it is not yet clear whether this study will continue. Dr Lappin may know more in due course.


Dr Michael Lappin

Phone 970-297-0313



Amyloidosis Research at the University of Missouri


Lyons Feline Genetics Laboratory at the University of Missouri


Is a research project in the USA and Europe where you can provide blood or buccal samples from Siamese and Oriental cats to assist with research into feline amyloidosis.


Prof Maria Longeri University of Milan (



Donations to Feline CKD Research


Buttons Feline Kidney Research Fund

Buttons Feline Kidney Research Fund is a fund set up to finance CKD research by Dr Jessica Quimby, the leading researcher into CKD in cats. Dr Quimby was previously at Colorado State University and is now at Ohio State University, where the fund is based.


Foundation for Feline Renal Research

The Foundation for Feline Renal Research is currently funding a genetic study at the Royal Veterinary College in the UK. Unravelling the genetic basis of blood pressure and kidney function in the cat is a 2016 update on the study.


Finding Other Research Studies


Above I list the current trials I am aware of that may be of use to CKD cats. You can check for other trials at the following:


American Veterinary Medical Association

maintains a database of trials across the USA and Canada.


Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital

CKD research studies at Colorado State.


Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital

Studies at Colorado State.


University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine

Studies at Penn.


Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

Studies at Tufts.


University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine

Studies at Wisconsin-Madison.


University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine

Studies at Minnesota.


Kansas State University Veterinary Health Center

Studies at Kansas State.


University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

Studies at Davis.


Animal Medical Center

Studies at Animal Medical Center, NYC.


Chronic Kidney Disease Feline Research - Closed Studies


Kidney Samples from Cats with Kidney Stones: University of Minnesota


Cats with kidney stones and/or chronic kidney disease


Kidneys removed from cats with kidney stones (either as part of the treatment plan or from deceased cats) could be sent to the Minnesota Urolith Center to assist with research into kidney stones.


The study was open until 1 January 2018.


Dr. Lulich

Phone 612-625-4221




Meloxicam: Kansas State University



Evaluation of the effectiveness of low-dose meloxicam (Metacam) in slowing the progression of renal dysfunction in cats with chronic kidney disease


Meloxicam is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) which is commonly used post-surgery and which is sometimes used on an ongoing basis for problems such as arthritis. Two studies in Australia indicated that CKD cats given low doses of meloxicam appeared to be more stable, with improved quality of life and they lived longer than CKD cats who were not given low dose meloxicam. This double-blinded randomised study is investigating further. Unfortunately the nature of the study does not permit us to be told exactly what is meant by "low dose."


Cats with stable CKD with creatinine above 2 mg/dl and below 4 mg/dl were eligible to participate. Cats with proteinuria or hypertension were still eligible. Cats in the study could only eat the therapeutic kidney diet provided by the study, which lasted six months.


Stem Cell Transplants: Colorado State University


A 2004 study demonstrated that adult stem cells may assist with repairing damaged kidneys in mice. Adult stem cells were taken from the muscle tissue of healthy mice and cultured. Following implantation into mice with damaged kidneys, the cells formed new blood vessels and appeared to improve kidney function.


A number of CKD cats have now received stem cell treatments at Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and the Animal Medical Center, NYC. Please see Treatments for more information on stem cell transplants in cats and the findings of published studies. Colorado State University are not currently recruiting for stem cell research, but see above for more information on the criteria for taking part in the ongoing AMC research.




Administration of pimobendan to cats with chronic kidney disease


Pimobendan (Vetmedin) is a heart medication commonly used in dogs. It belongs to a family of drugs known as imodilators, and is usually used in conjunction with other heart medications. It appears to be particularly effective in cases of congestive heart failure.


The Winn Feline Foundation reported in 2012 on a new study to investigate the use of pimobendan to help cats with CKD at Tufts University. The researchers had already found it helpful in previous studies for cats who developed congestive heart failure following intravenous fluids. They found that pimobendan not only helped with the heart problems, but the cats' kidney values also improved. The study, Administration of pimobendan to cats with chronic kidney disease, was still recruiting in 2015 but has now closed. The findings will presumably be published in due course.


The University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine is currently (2017) investigating the use of pimobendan to treat a type of heart problem called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), rather than congestive heart failure (which is often secondary to HCM). Participants must have suspected or confirmed HCM. Cats with heart murmurs, congestive heart failure or elevated NT-ProBNP on bloodwork (>100pmol/L) are eligible but cats with other systemic diseases (such as CKD, hypertension or on certain heart medications are not. The trial only lasts one week, but cats may receive a placebo rather than pimobendan. Contact  sterngenetics@ucdavis.edu for more information.


Anaemia Study: University of Pennsylvania


CKD cats are prone to developing anaemia because the kidneys produce a hormone (erythropoietin) which stimulates the bone marrow to make red blood cells, but damaged kidneys find it hard to do this, so anaemia results. There are treatments available but they have potential downsides, so there is interest in finding safer alternatives.


University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine ran a study in 2016 into a new treatment for CKD cats with anaemia, with qualifying criteria being that the cat should be in at least Stage 3 CKD, have a haematocrit level (HCV or PCV) below 29% and not have previously been given any form of ESA. I thought the treatment might be a prolyl hydroxylase inhibitor (HIF-PH inhibitor) but that is normally an oral treatment, whereas in this study, the cats were given one intramuscular injection of the treatment, so I don't know for sure. I expect the results of the trial will be published in due course.


Oxidative Stress Study: University of Wisconsin-Madison


Feline kidney disease may need earlier treatment


In humans, it is known that the degree of oxidative stress reflects the stage of CKD. Initial research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine aimed to measure a biomarker of oxidative stress in the kidney called urinary F2-Isoprostanes (F2-IsoP) to see whether the same correlation exists in cats.


The results were unexpected: F2-IsoP levels for cats in IRIS stages 2-4 were much lower than levels in healthy cats, which is the opposite of what happens in humans. However, it was also found that F2-IsoP levels were noticeably increased in IRIS stage 1 cats compared to healthy cats.


In 2014 further research was being conducted, because the initial findings may indicate that antioxidant treatment is necessary earlier in CKD than was previously thought.



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This page last updated: 31 May 2019

Links on this page last checked: 05 March 2017







I have tried very hard to ensure that the information provided in this website is accurate, but I am NOT a vet, just an ordinary person who has lived through CKD with three cats. This website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to be used to diagnose or treat any cat. Before trying any of the treatments described herein, you MUST consult a qualified veterinarian and obtain professional advice on the correct regimen for your cat and his or her particular requirements; and you should only use any treatments described here with the full knowledge and approval of your vet. No responsibility can be accepted.


If your cat appears to be in pain or distress, do not waste time on the internet, contact your vet immediately.




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