New VetCompass PhD aims to find Causes rather than Associations
VetCompass are excited to announce that their new “VetCompass eClinical Trials” PhD project, supported by Dogs Trust, will commence in October 2021.
Although veterinarians are encouraged to apply ‘evidence based principles’, there is a paucity of published evidence to support many current veterinary interventions in dogs. This is because good evidence on the clinical effects of therapy has previously required randomised control trials that are invariably complex, slow, expensive and frequently ethically challenging.
The RVC has invested substantial resources over the past decade into companion animal health surveillance via the VetCompass Programme. Clinical data are now shared with VetCompass from over 1800 UK practices across the UK and are used to answer important clinical research questions. VetCompass research has led to over 90 peer-reviewed publications.
To date, VetCompass studies have aimed to report association between risk factors (e.g breed) and outcomes (e.g. disease). But the holy grail has always been to reveal causality between interventions and outcomes. The new VetCompass eClinical Trials project aims to change all this by developing and applying novel causal inference methods to evaluate the value of real world interventions via analysis of anonymised clinical records. This work will begin by providing real world inference for 4 conditions with welfare importance in dogs in the UK: osteoarthritis, otitis externa, chronic diarrhoea and cruciate ligament rupture.
Camilla Pegram, veterinarian and current VetCompass epidemiologist, has been awarded this PhD studentship and says that she is excited to be part of this new wave of veterinary research, with clear applied benefits for dog welfare, that will start in October. Her PhD is funded by Dogs Trust and will be supervised by Dr Dan O’Neill (RVC) and Associate Professor Karla Diaz-Ordaz of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, along with Professor Dave Brodbelt, Dr Ruby Chang and Mr Noel Kennedy of the RVC.
The novel results from this PhD project offer welfare opportunities to improve thousands of daily clinical decisions made by veterinary professionals for common conditions of dogs. To find out more about this PhD visit https://www.rvc.ac.uk/vetcompass/research-projects-and-opportunities/projects/projects/vetcompass-eclinical-trials.
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