Guidance on clinical veterinary research

This page is primarily aimed at those interested in clinical research. If you are interested in writing for Companion or BSAVA Manuals please visit our Authors page.

Science is a core part of BSAVA's mission statement.  Through our charitable division, PetSavers, we fund clinical investigations into the diseases that affect companion animals. This page is designed to provide links to resources and articles that may be helpful for those contemplating a clinical veterinary research project, especially in the practice setting.

Help for clinical research

See our specially curated collection of lectures and other material designed to help those interested in research projects, whether in practice settings or elsewhere.

PetSavers grants

PetSavers funds crucial clinical research designed to advance our knowledge of conditions affecting small animals and with potential to relieve illness and suffering. The projects are selected in the hope that study results will have a rapid and positive impact on the way diseases are diagnosed, managed and treated in general practice as well as at a specialist level. For more information about Clinical Research Project funding, Masters Degree by Research and our Student Research Project, visit the funding page on the PetSavers website.

See also:

Petsavers clinical research project award panel 1. Applying for a Petsavers CRP award from practice 2. Getting the award is just the start what to do next 3. Stats how to handle them and who to ask for advice - a lecture at BSAVA Congress 2011 by Natasha Mitchell, Maggie Fisher, Darren Shaw. A link to this podcast will be available when the proceedings are added to the library.

How to apply for a PetSavers Grant - a lecture at BSAVA Congress 2015 by Gina Pinchbeck and Sally Everitt. A link to this podcast will be available when the proceedings are added to the library.

Study design and protocol – the Clinical Research Assessment and Guidance (CRAG) panel

The CRAG panel is an initiative by the Journal of Small Animal Practice to provide assistance in designing, running and analysing clinical research projects. The hope is that this will ease the path to publication for primary care veterinarians and house officers who wish to undertake high quality small animal clinical research. The concept is that an individual or group can come up with the idea for a clinical study and then work with the CRAG panel to refine the methodology so that the project will be feasible and likely to come up with reliable answers.

Upon approval of the study design and analysis plan there will be an assumption that - if the study is carried out according to the approved protocol - the finished article will be accepted for publication (following an accelerated peer-review process). It is hoped that the expectation of acceptance for publication would be a weight off the mind of those in specialist training programs intent on timely completion of their credentials. The panel also welcomes enquiries from practitioners who are interested in initiating or collaborating on research projects.

The CRAG panel currently consists of Rachel Dean, Nick Jeffery, Richard Mellanby and Lauren Trepanier.

If you would like to discuss ideas or submit a protocol to the CRAG panel please contact the Editor-in-Chief. Two editorials in JSAP may be useful:

Scaling the CRAG to smooth the path to publication in JSAP

CRAG rocks

BSAVA members, login via the JSAP page to gain access to these articles.


Journal of Small Animal Practice has published a number of statistical primers for veterinary practice which are available as a free online collection

Other resources

A number of other resources are available, such as:

Congress podcasts

Conducting research in practice - a lecture from 2011 BSAVA Congress by Mark Holmes

So you want to get published? The perils and pitfalls of peer review - a lecture from 2012 BSAVA Congress by Gerry Polton and Iain Grant

Evidence vs eminence: how to do a clinical study in practice - a lecture from 2013 BSAVA Congress by Damian Chase and Mike Farrell

The practicalities and delivery of questionnaire-based research - a lecture from 2014 BSAVA Congress by Rachel Dean

Links to these podcast will be available when the proceedings are added to the library.

JSAP articles

Ethical and evidential considerations on the use of novel therapies in veterinary practice - James Yeates et al (March 2013)

Promoting clinical research in practice - RJ Mellanby (November 2011)

Retrospective studies: The good, the bad or the ugly? - D Brodbelt (November 2009)

Veterinary clinical research – legal, ethical and welfare considerations - Sally Everitt (March 2013)

Questionnaire-based clinical research - Gerry Polton (January 2014)

BSAVA members, login via the JSAP page to gain access to these articles.


RCVS Guidance on recognised veterinary practice

ASPA flowchart

Ethical Review for practice based research - a report of the RCVS/BVA working party

RCVS Knowledge EBVM Toolkit designed to help busy veterinary practitioners answer a clinical question with the best available evidence.

If you have suggestions for developing this page, please contact [email protected]

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