AVSTS Research Cooperative


ARC was launched at the AVSTS Spring Meeting, Birmingham, UK, on 3rd April 2013.

ARC aim: “To facilitate the production of good-quality, multi-centre, clinical research of relevance to its membership."


What is ARC?

ARC is a clinical network of like-minded vets, who have the shared aim of working together to produce good-quality, multi-centre, clinical research of relevance to their day-to-day working lives. This network is run by a scientific committee drawn from the ARC membership. If you have skills or experience that you think might help ARC achieve its stated aim, and wish to give your time, please contact the chair of the scientific committee:


Scientific Committee:


Guillaume Chanoit (g.chanoit@bristol.ac.uk)



Stephen Baines (stephenbaines@gmail.com)

Nick Jeffery  (njeffery@cvm.tamu.edu)

Ian Nicholson ( inicholsonvet@gmail.com)


How do I join?

Anyone can join – it’s free, and with no obligations. Just email the chair of the scientific commitee and you’ll be included in all ARC’s communications, and the online discussion forum. If you wish to attend AVSTS meetings there is a £20 annual joining fee – for more information about this,  please explore the AVSTS website.


What does ARC do?

  • Sends out regular newsletter to its members via email
  • Runs a meeting-within-a-meeting at the AVSTS Spring and Autumn meetings, for AVSTS and ARC members to be updated about previous projects, for currently recruiting projects to be advertised, and for new project ideas to be created and refined.
  • Runs an online discussion forum
  • Runs a webpage on the AVSTS website (yes, the one you’re reading now)


How does ARC facilitate multi-centre research?

  • Encourages the creation of new project ideas of interest to ARC members, at meetings and online
  • Refines study ideas at the outset to help make them achievable, interesting, scientifically robust studies, including the planning of appropriate statistical analysis
  • Provides help for Ethical Review for studies at centres without their own ethical review panel, and helps to coordinate ethical review amongst centres with their own ethical review panels
  • Seeks to identify funding sources for individual projects, and advertise these to ARC members
  • Launches multi-centre clinical studies and advertises them to its membership and beyond, via email, discussion forum, social media, AVSTS and other meetings, and AVSTS website
  • Helps recruit individual vets, practices and hospitals, and their cases, for current studies
  • Actively promotes each study during the data gathering process
  • Can assist with statistical analysis
  • Coordinates multi-author simultaneous review during preparation of manuscript for publication
  • Offers the opportunity for work to be presented at AVSTS meetings
  • Obliges publication of all results


What can I actually do to be involved?

  • Become an ARC member! See above
  • Take an active part in the online discussion forum
  • Come to AVSTS meetings and contribute to the discussion
  • Submit an idea to  the chair of the scientific committee  for a study you’d like to see done, even if you don’t think you’ll be able to run it yourself – as a general rule, if YOU are interested in something, then so will be a lot of other people. The more ideas the better!
  • Contribute to an existing study by adding your case data (see below)
  • If you are already carrying out a clinical research project yourself, why not use ARC to make it multi-centre? Bigger is better in many ways (more cases, quicker case accumulation) and ARC can take the pain away from the headaches multi-centre studies can bring


How do I come up with a good study idea?

This can be harder than it sounds. There are a number of resources which can help, such as:


KEY POINT!! Use the work of others who have already recently looked and reviewed all the literature for you, identifying nicely the hole that needs to be filled. 


Running a project through ARC

Here’s how it works:

  1. Email the chair of the scientific committee  to make first contact with your idea, no matter if it’s just an idea, or if you’ve already advanced the idea well beyond the initial stage
  2. An email conversation will ensue, between you,  and the scientific committee to clarify exactly what it is you wish to test or demonstrate, how you wish to do it, and whether these two things match up. This process should allow a specific and realistic project to grow
  3. The project, along with any pilot work you’ve done such as a literature review, and/or using someone else’s systematic review (see above), and/or reviewing your own cases retrospectively, could  be presented to the AVSTS members at the next spring or autumn meeting, along with your project plan – to advertise it, and to refine it from audience feedback, plus to gain insight into the case accrual rate from a show of hands as to who sees how many cases of that type. This is by no means mandatory, just consider this as an extra-help for your study.
  4. By the end of this process you will need to fill out/provide:
    1. ARC Application Form Template (HYPERLINK)
    2. Ethical Approval  ( HYPERLINK TO RCVS ETHICAL REVIEW BOARD  RCVS ethics review panel:   https://www.rcvs.org.uk/who-we-are/committees/standards-committee/ethics-review-panel/
    3. A data table template (Excel spreadsheet) for participating vets to download and fill in their data
    4. An owner consent form (if appropriate)
    5. An owner information sheet (if appropriate)
  5. Once the project is green-lighted by the ARC, the documents above will be emailed to the ARC membership and the study will be advertised on this website
  6. Depending on the uptake, further promotion may be undertaken as needed, led by the lead author and/or the ARC scientific committee, until the case requirements are met, an appropriate time period has passed, or until it becomes clear that there is insufficient interest or case-load to make the study a success
  7. Once the study stops gathering data the lead author is in charge of coordinating presentation and publication, with help from the ARC Committee, both of which are expected. All vets submitting data are considered as co-authors, provided they continue to participate in every round of manuscript review before submission and whilst under review for an appropriate journal. If they do not wish to continue to contribute to the manuscript they will no longer be considered as co-authors, however their work will be acknowledged in the published manuscript.


ARC projects: Published studies


  1. J. L. J. Proot, P. Nelissen, J. F. Ladlow, K. Bowlt Blacklock, N. Kulendra, B. de la Puerta, and D. E. Sheahan.

Parotidectomy for the treatment of parotid sialocoele in 14 dogs.

J Small Anim Pract. 2016 Feb;57(2):79-83.


  1. F Swinbourne, N. Jeffery, M. Tivers, L. Rutherford, B. de la Puerta, J. Hughes, J. Hall, R. Hattersley, T. Charlesworth, S. Woods, A. Freeman, T. Ryan, R. Burrow, I. Doran, H. Brissot, R. Artingstall, F. Bird, J. Henken, I. Nicholson

The incidence of surgical site dehiscence following full thickness gastrointestinal biopsies in cats and associated risk factors – an Association for Veterinary Soft Tissue Surgery (AVSTS) Research Cooperative (ARC) multi-centre study.

J Small Anim Pract. 2017 Sep;58(9):495-503


  1. Field E, Scurr DJ, Piggott MJ, Anderson TS, Chanoit GP.

The chemical and ultra-structural analysis of thin plastic films used for surgical attenuation of portosystemic shunts in dogs and cats.

Res Vet Sci. 2019 Oct;126:192-198


  1. Proot JLJ, Jeffery N, Culp WTN, Buracco P, de la Puerta B, Williams JM, Ladlow JF, Field EJ, Nelissen P, Ragni RA, Pope JFA, Baines SJ, Liptak JM, Nicholson I.

Is the caudal auricular axial pattern flap robust? A multi-centre cohort study of 16 dogs and 12 cats (2005 to 2016).

J Small Anim Pract. 2019 Feb;60(2):102-106.


  1. Howes CL, Sumner JP, Ahlstrand K, Hardie RJ, Anderson D, Woods S, Goh D, de la Puerta B, Brissot HN, Das S, Nolff M, Liehmann L, Chanoit G.

Long-term clinical outcomes following surgery for spontaneous pneumothorax caused by pulmonary blebs and bullae in dogs - a multicentre (AVSTS Research Cooperative) retrospective study.

J Small Anim Pract. 2020 Jul;61(7):436-441.


ARC projects: Completed studies

  1. Colectomy in cats 

PI: Caitlin Tzounos , DWR referrals

  1. Outcome of superficial brachial axial pattern flap for reconstruction of skin defects in the dog

PI : Erika Villedieu, Willows Referrals

  1. Colonic perforation in dogs: A case series

PI: Mark Longley, Pride Veterinary centre

  1. Surgical management of oesophageal foreign bodies

PI: Andrew Beer, Langford Vets

  1. Superficial temporal axial pattern flap

PI : Benito de la Puerta

  1. Grading of small animal surgical complications using a modified Clavien-Dindo classification

PI: Ian Nicholson,Island Vet care

  1. Outcome following sternotomy closure with wire or suture in large dogs

PI: Mariette Pilot , Langford Vets

  1. Outcome following sternotomy closure in cats

PI : Julie Hennet,


ARC projects: Ongoing data collection




Type of study

Information about the study?





Partial and total vaginectomy; surgical approach, complications and outcomes


Kate Foster



Contact  PI or ARC

Massive cholangiocellular carcinomas in dogs: A multi-institutional, retrospective study


Phil Franklin 



Contact PI or ARC

A multi-centre retrospective study of pharyngeal mucocoeles in dogs


Akash Alexander (akashalexander7@gmail.com)



Contact PI

Evaluation of serum formation following surgical exploration of ventral neck abscesses in dogs


Joy Fenner (joy.fenner@dwr.co.uk).



Contact PI

The use of the facial/angularis oris axial pattern flap in cats and dogs


Chris Shales (chris.shales@willows.uk.net) 



Contact PI

Tracheostomy tube placement in cats 


Kine.Elmenhorst (Kine.Elmenhorst@willows.uk.net). 



Contact PI

Clinical signs, complications and outcomes of dogs undergoing percutaneous drainage, sclerotherapy or surgical management of renal cysts 


Ronan Mullins (ronan.mullins@ucd.ie). 



Contact PI or ARC

Genicular axial pattern flap in dogs and cats


Joy Fenner (joy.fenner@dwr.co.uk).  



Contact PI

Lateral thoracic axial pattern flap in dogs and cats.


Emma Hall (emmahall1987@gmail.com)



Contact PI

Septic peritonitis in dogs: Open vs closed abdominal drainage  


Mirja Nolff (mirjachristine.nolff@uzh.ch). 



Contact PI


If you would like to get involved and have case(s) that you think might be suitable for one (or more) of the ongoing studies, please contact the  either the listed PI directly  or the ARC committee for more information on eligibility criteria, and other study details.