Our Research

Who we are and what we fund

The British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) has been supporting small animal clinical research since 1974 initially through the Clinical Studies Trust Fund, which was later brought “in-house” and renamed PetSavers. This was set up to improve the health of pets by funding vital clinical research designed to advance our knowledge of conditions affecting small animals and with potential to relieve illness and suffering.

Our funding provides a lifeline for clinicians and researchers, as grant funding for small animal clinical research is notoriously difficult to access. Our priority is to support clinical research designed to improve our knowledge and understanding of conditions affecting small animals. The research projects are selected in the hope that study results will have a rapid and positive impact on the way diseases are diagnosed, managed and treated in general practice as well as at a specialist level.

The use of experimental animals is not permitted in any work funded by BSAVA PetSavers. This includes work on tissues derived from experimental animals.

A project will only be considered by BSAVA PetSavers to constitute ‘small animal clinical research’ if it meets the following criteria:

  • The study involves only naturally occurring disease in small animals; there must be no experimental or artificial induction of disease.
  • Any interventions on animals (including obtaining samples) would be considered part of Recognised Veterinary Practice
  • The anticipated results of the study will result in a change in diagnosis or management of small animal disease.
  • The study is supervised by people with appropriate veterinary clinical skills and knowledge.       

Our grants - supporting your research throughout your career

We offer funding for research at every stage of your career – Student Research Projects (SRPs) for undergraduate vets and vet nurses; Master's Degrees by Research (MDRs) for postgraduate study; Research Fellowships for early-career veterinary researchers; and Clinical Research Projects (CRPs) for more established veterinary and/or research professionals. We also support specialist areas of veterinary science by partnering with BSAVA affiliates and other organisations that share our principles. Check out our joint-funded CRPs here.

Read about the experiences and advice of undergraduate student vets and vet nurses in carrying out research projects funded by BSAVA PetSavers. Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a researcher in animal medicine and health? Or perhaps you have a clinical question that you'd like to investigate but don't know how. Meet some of our BSAVA PetSavers-funded researchers and find out how they got started in research, and read about the impact of BSAVA PetSavers' funding on their work, careers and the welfare of companion animals.

Current grants

Old Age Pets Citizen Science Research Project

BSAVA PetSavers is funding a major research project at the University of Liverpool – Old Age Pets – aimed at helping veterinary professionals and owners to provide the best care for their senior dogs.

The research grant will support the development of a new canine ageing and well-being tool for use in veterinary practice. The team, led by Carri Westgarth, is using citizen science to enable pet owners, veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses to be involved throughout the research process.

The two-year project has investigated owner expectations, experiences and attitudes to ageing in dogs. Pet owners have also been invited to submit diaries, photographs or videos, to share their experiences of living with an older dog.

The online surveys for veterinary professionals and owners are now closed, and the team are currently analysing the data.

The findings will be used to develop a guidance tool with the intention of helping veterinary professionals and owners to provide the best care to senior dogs.

Find out more



Find out which projects we funded pre-2022              

Read about the study outcomes and access publications              

Grants awarded in 2022

Investigating the potential of phage therapy to tackle Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections in dogs

MDR Grant: £35,650

Institution: University of Edinburgh

Find out more and apply for the Master's studentship

Acute phase protein and microRNA signatures for the diagnosis and prognosis of feline infectious peritonitis

MDR Grant: £39,865

Institution: University of Edinburgh

Autoimmune encephalitis in cats: beyond the tip of the iceberg

MDR Grant: £39,961.60

Institution: University of Oxford

Find out more and apply for the Master's studentship

Characterising the virus neutralising antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 in the UK feline population and examining changes in seroprevalence during the different phases of the pandemic

SRP Grant: £2771

Institution: University of Glasgow

Feasibility of using a point-of-care analyser for faecal calprotectin to differentiate different intestinal disease in cats

SRP Grant: £2890

Institution: University of Edinburgh

Registered Company No. 02837793. A Company Limited by Guarantee in England. Registered as a Charity No. 1024811.