Naturally Occurring Animal Models

Naturally Occurring Animal Models are living, non-human animals who have naturally occurring diseases that are often found in humans. Studying the disease in these animals is often more predictive of what will be useful and beneficial in humans than if an animal is studied where the disease is artificially created. Importantly, research into the cause and treatment of these diseases often leads to improved treatment in animals, as well as in humans.

Naturally occurring animal models (NOAM) are being increasingly understood as a very valuable tool for studying disease and its treatment in humans.


When disease develops naturally in an animal, rather than being induced for study, it is often more predictive of how that disease will ultimately respond to treatment. Diseases such as cancer can be extremely similar in animals, and especially dogs, to those developed by humans, and the information gained through clinical trials utilizing these animals may one day lead to human cures as well. Participating animals with naturally occurring disease can help veterinary oncologists investigate potential genetic markers and recognize trends that may be related to the disease’s development, but aren’t demonstrated by lab-created disease organisms.


Further, treating animals who have developed their disease organically is humane. In addition to limiting the need to induce disease for study purposes, these animals receive some of the most advanced treatments available for their illnesses. Costs, which may be prohibitive for some owners, may be reduced in a study where tests and/or treatments are paid for (partly or fully) by the study.


By allowing a portal through which owners and veterinarians can connect their pets to ongoing medical trials for which they may be eligible, the TVCR can provide:


  • - A potential reduction in the number of companion animals needed for experimental research
  • - More predictive animal models for development of human drugs and devices (vs. mice)
  • - A direct benefit to pets and their owners as new drugs, devices and diagnostic procedures are developed and tested where there is direct application to their health
  • - Promotion of evidence-based veterinary medicine to improve the quality of clinical veterinary care
  • - Reduced cost of veterinary care to owners whose pets are enrolled in clinical studies
  • - Availability of leading edge veterinary care for animal patients who are enrolled in clinical studies
  • - Identification of new, relevant models of spontaneous disease for drug development and device testing.
  • - Improved human health and animal health