VetCompass Australia is a great way for you and your pet/s to contribute to our knowledge and understanding of diseases, conditions, treatments and risk factors. All you need to do is take your pet to the vet as you usually would, and you are contributing to important research.
VetCompass Australia will be able to generate a baseline of disease information for the general Australian dog, cat and horse population, as well as within breeds. This database will allow us to monitor ongoing trends in disease prevalence, to design control programs and to judge their success over time.
This is why we are so keen to include your pet’s clinical information in this project. Improvements to the future health and welfare of our animals depend on the excellence of our veterinary research and this database will be a huge step forward.
Your veterinarian works hard to prevent disease and discomfort and maintain the health of your pet. A greater understanding of the frequency and risk factors of diseases can improve their identification, treatment or prevention.
VetCompass Australia collects demographic and clinical information from veterinary consultations around the country, in order to investigate the range and frequency of health problems seen in cats, dogs and horses.
We will not collect or hold any client information, apart from your postcode. The postcode may be used to investigate if a certain disorder is more common in a particular geographic area. However, there will be a unique number assigned to identify each animal. This unique number is necessary, so that a complete case history can be coordinated together from separate veterinary visits. Researchers will not be able to identify you from the data collected.
VetCompass will collect records of your animal’s visit to the vet. This information includes patient demographics, such as breed, date of birth, sex and neuter status, as well as clinical information, such as clinical notes, presenting complaint, diagnosis and treatment. Animals are not named but each one is given a unique number to identify it. This is necessary to collate a complete case history from separate visit events. It will enable the project to refer to the animal’s records in the future, if required, to check data validity and record animals with conditions of specific interest for future research.
VetCompass will not collect any of your information apart from your postcode. This may be used to establish clusters of disease in a particular geographic area.
A researcher may need to ask for further clinical details, laboratory or referral reports on the animal in order to validate accuracy and completeness of data. In these cases, we would give your vet a letter of request and consent to send to you, asking for voluntary participation in this further study.
VetCompass Australia will collect data on a range of conditions seen in general practice veterinary clinics. These may be specific disorders such as diabetes, or syndromes such as arthritis. Certain disorders will be investigated to determine if there is an increased frequency in particular breeds of dogs, cats or horses.
In the UK, research already underway with VetCompass has targeted numerous disorders including canine kidney disease, epilepsy, pyoderma (skin infection) and cancer. VetCompass has also reported on the age of death of dogs of different breeds and the use of antibiotics in general practice in the UK.
Summaries of research that comes out of VetCompass will be available on our website: vetcompass.com.au. Many findings will also be published in peer-reviewed scientific literature.
Once your vet has signed up to be part of the project, all you have to do is take your pet to the vet like you usually would. If you are happy for your pet’s data to be included in VetCompass Australia, the health records of your pet will be recorded at the time of consultation, as they would normally be, then forwarded to VetCompass Australia at a later time.
Perhaps your vet is already involved. You can see if they are on our list of participating vets [link to Participating Practices], look out for our posters in the waiting room or ask them. If they aren’t involved, you can tell your vet about the project and ask them to contact us. We’re always happy to answer any questions.
Absolutely and it won’t change your treatment in any way. If you do not want your pet to be included in this study, just let your vet know. They will notify us and we will delete your records from all future studies. Where past records have already been used in the analysis of data, the animal's data will remain included in the study.
Data collection, storage and analysis are compliant with privacy legislation in Australia and have approval from the University of Sydney Human Research Ethics Committee (Project No. 2013/919).
All aspects of the study will be strictly confidential and only researchers in VetCompass or collaborating research projects, such as VetCompass at RVC London, will have access to the raw data. The results of analyses on data you provide will be submitted for publication in scientific papers, PhD theses and VetCompass websites. Individual practices, animals or clients will not be identifiable in any of these reports.
Discover Learn Zone, a wide range of resources that have been developed using VetCompass data at the Royal Veterinary College in London.