Companion animal pen study capability

With the fully equipped Wongaburra Research Centre housing 120 dogs and 50 cats, Invetus has in-house capabilities in a wide range of research areas

Pen studies . . .

Invetus can provide research capability in a wide range of research areas, including

  • Dose titration and dose confirmation pen efficacy studies
  • Palatability studies
    • Australian paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclus)
    • Brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineous)
    • Flea (Ctenocephalides felis)
  • Pharmacokinetic and bioequivalence studies
  • Target animal safety (TAS) studies
  • Dental and ear studies
  • Digestibility studies (pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and pet foods)
  • Acceptability testing of pharmaceuticals and neutraceuticals
  • Blood collection and processing
  • Surgical, analgesic and anaesthetic studies
  • Behavioural studies
  • Screening exercises (including experimental screening of new insecticide active
  • Feasibility/pilot studies leading to dose titration and confirmation studies
  • Study design

Studies are conducted in accordance with Australian and / or international guidelines, as required by our clients. When guidelines are unavailable, studies can be designs as necessary, in collaboration with our customers, in order to achieve the required objectives.

Using Invetus as an independent testing organisation provides extra validity to the studies, as they are scientifically validated through approved test systems and statistical analysis.


Palatability testing

Palatability testing is a fundamental part of the development process for petfood manufacturers; it is important to understand the impact of any formulation changes, compared to the current formulation and competition. Invetus is able to carry out testing on all food types (dry, canned, semi-dry, refrigerated) using standard protocols or ad hoc protocols designed in conjunction with our clients.

Invetus conducts feeding trials in dogs and cats based on AAFCO Guidelines (American Association of Feed Control Officials) using qualified panels of animals. Panels are qualified so as to eliminate those dogs and cats that have a feeding bias.

Standard Invetus protocols:

  • Intake studies - generally single bowl testing, measuring total quantity consumed and can be related to the energy requirement of the animal

  • Preference testing - twin bowl palatability testing will provide information on first choice or preference (often used in marketing claims), as well as intake data

  • Meat reference studies - as well as comparing two different petfoods, preference testing can be utilised to reference palatability against meat (direct or indirectly)

  • Long term puppy studies - can also be undertaken to test the effects of feeding growing puppies from weaning to 6 months or maturity on a single product. These studies may require that puppies are blood sampled every month to check critical blood parameters. Puppies also receive a full veterinary examination monthly and at other times if required. Puppy weights are recorded weekly. At the conclusion of these studies a full report is presented to the client with statistical analysis if required.

For any of the palatability studies, the effect on stool quality can also be scored.

Invetus palatability trial

Digestability testing

As well as palatability testing Invetus can undertake digestibility testing, which gives a measure of the total quantity of nutrients utilised by the dog or cat by comparing the quantity fed to the quantity excreted in the faeces and urine. These studies are typically conducted over 5 days and it is important to select non-coprophagic animals for the study. An overall digestibility can be calculated and if specific digestibility is required for protein, carbohydrate and fat, Invetus can arrange for the detailed analysis.

Acceptability testing

Invetus also conducts acceptability testing of pharmaceuticals and neutraceuticals for palatable medicines in both dogs and cats. These are run on a consumption versus time scoring system. This type of testing applies to medicines usually in tablet, chew, paste or liquid form. Animals undertaking this form of testing are fed over a number of days to map any change in acceptance over time.


Please contact Florian Roeber on 02 6695 5515