Drugs optimized by genetics (D.O.G.)

Development of a Cytochrome P450 Phenotyping Test to Quantify Breed and Genetic Differences in Drug Sensitivities in Dogs

Purpose of study

Some differences in dog breeds are obvious. As pet owners we seek out the characteristics we find most desirable. What if we could also use these traits to make sure they get the best selection of medications? This study is looking for a genetic difference that is not as obvious but is important to the medical care of dogs.  We are  developing a drug sensitivity test to help veterinarians treat dogs with medications based on their genetics and their individual needs. We will give your dog a combination of carefully chosen drugs that have already been proven to be safe, to determine how fast their bodies can process (metabolize) them. This will be done by measuring the drug levels in their blood and urine.


This project could help provide all dogs, including yours, with safer more effective drug therapies in the future.

Enrollment requirements

Dogs ages 1-12 years and weighing between 11-176 pounds with no underlying medical conditions are welcome for this study. They need to be receptive to taking oral medications and cooperative when being handled, including blood and urine collection.  A full day in the hospital will be necessary to complete this study, so dogs that are comfortable in the clinic environment are wanted.

Treatment methods

A review of your dog’s medical history will be done before enrollment to this study.  If it is determined your dog is a candidate for this study, we will arrange a morning appointment for you at the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH) in Pullman, WA. At this appointment, your dog will receive a physical exam and temperament evaluation to determine if this study is appropriate for them. If anything of concern is found, you will be notified, and your dog will be able to leave with you. If the physical exam confirms that your dog is qualified for the study, we will proceed with the following study protocol:

  • After the physical exam, dogs will be made comfortable in a kennel and will be offered a half portion of their breakfast, in addition to water. After one hour, we will remove any remaining food. Your dog will continue to have free access to water for the day.
  • Two hours after your dog finishes eating, we will give your dog the following medications, orally: bupropion, dextromethorphan, and omeprazole.
  • Blood samples (less than 1 teaspoon) will be taken twice during the study visit: prior to drug administration and four hours after receiving the drug.
  • Dogs will be walked twice during the day where urine samples will be collected. Once, prior to drug administration and six hours after drug administration

Approximately nine hours after arriving at the VTH (6 hours after drug administration), your dog will be ready to go home with you.

Owner responsibilities

If your dog is not a current patient at the WSU VTH, we will request your dog’s records from their veterinarian.  We will ask you for a complete list a of any prescribed or over-the-counter drugs or supplements your dog is currently taking. You will need to bring your dog, along with a half-portion of its breakfast to the WSU VTH for a one-day visit (for a period up to 9 hours). It is not necessary for you to stay at the study site for the duration of this period.

Contact information

Jennifer Heusser
Clinical Studies Coordinator
cell: 509-432-8002