Exotic Animals

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Below, please find links to all of the clinical trials currently accepting exotic animal patients. The studies are organized by discipline and include a multitude of information, including (but not limited to) the study’s purpose, benefits for participating, and financial incentive information.

Please contact the individual outlined in each trial summary if you have any questions about the trial. 

Internal Medicine

NEW! Healthy Pet Lizards: Studying Fungal Pathogens on the Skin

Title: Screening of Companion Lizards for fungal pathogen on the skin

Purpose: Nanniziopsis guarroi is a non-zoonotic fungal pathogen of many lizard species and is the causative agent of "yellow fungus disease" in the bearded dragon. There is little known about the prevalence of Nannizziopsis guarroi in the general population, and only a few case reports of clinical infection including diagnostics and treatment have been reported. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the prevalence of Nannizziopsis spp., a fungal pathogen, on the skin of companion (pet) lizards. This study is in collaboration with the University of Illinois.

Contact: Make an appointment with the UC Davis Companion Exotic Animal Medicine & Surgery service or the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital

Participation Requirements:

  • Any pet lizard
  • Ineligible: Lizards who do not accept being held for swabs or who are too sick and cannot handle additional stress

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Make an appointment with the UC Davis Companion Exotic Animal Medicine & Surgery service or the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital

Procedures: We will swab your lizard’s skin for fungal DNA during your lizard’s physical examination.

Benefits: The study will cover all costs of the swab. While there is no direct benefit to your lizard, we hope to use this data to see how prevalent this fungus is among captive lizards and determine if its presence is linked to health of the animal. This information can help understand the epidemiology of the disease, and help in future cases for diagnostic and treatment purposes.

Owner Responsibilities: You will be responsible for bringing your lizard in to see the Exotics and Avian Services. The results of the test unfortunately will not be available, since the samples will be stored and process at a later time. If you think your lizard has “yellow fungus disease”, we will have to perform additional diagnostic tests, for which fees you will be responsible.

Printable Flyer (PDF)


Mammary Tumor (Fibroadenoma): Assessing a Treatment in Pet Rats

Title: Evaluation of deslorelin implants on fibroadenoma recurrence in rats

Purpose: The objective of this clinical study is to determine whether the deslorelin implant (Suprelorin®) can prevent the recurrence of certain mammary tumors in rats, as these tumors frequently re-occur after surgical removal.

Contact: Email capeservice@ucdavis.edu 

Participation Requirements: Female rats that are not spayed and diagnosed with a subcutaneous mass that could be a mammary tumor

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Physical examination indicating no contraindication for anesthesia


  • While your rat is under anesthesia, the mass will be surgically removed. It will then be analyzed to confirm diagnosis of a fibroadenoma, a process that may take several days.
  • If the diagnosis is confirmed and you have elected for your rat to have the implant:
    • The implant will be placed while your rat is sedated, approximately one month of the mass being removed.
    • A recheck exam will be performed every 6 months or sooner if you detect a mass. During these examinations, your veterinarian will be performing a complete physical examination and palpate for masses in the mammary tissue as is standard for any consultation.
  • You may also receive phone calls or email every few months to monitor how your rat is doing.

Benefits: The study will cover the cost of the implant while your rat is enrolled in the trial.

Although there are potentially no benefits if your rat receives the placebo (inactive) implant, the active implant may help to prevent the recurrence of the mammary tumor.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your rat to participate in this study, you will be responsible for bringing your rat to your veterinarian for a routine visit every 6 months (or more often if you notice any mass recurrence or any abnormal clinical signs) and covering costs of the anesthetic and surgical fees, post-operative treatments and hospitalization, as well as recheck examinations required for your rat. If the implant proves to prevent mammary tumor recurrence and you would like your rat to be implanted with another deslorelin implant in a year, the cost of this implant will be at your charge.

If you cannot find what you are looking for, please email us or call (530) 752-5366.