Melanocortin 4 receptor antagonist in the treatment of canine cachexia

The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is currently recruiting dogs with cachexia for a clinical research trial using a new medication (melanocortin 4 receptor antagonist).

  • Inclusion Criteria: Dogs with evidence of cachexia (muscle wasting) and at least 5% weight loss over 3 months, with or without lethargy or anorexia, regardless of underlying cause, are eligible for enrollment.  More specific criteria will be discussed with you at evaluation.
  • Treatment:  Treatment involves a small injection given underneath the skin once daily, at home.  Study visits are planned at first treatment, 2 weeks, and 4 weeks.  If treatment is effective, your dog may continue on trial if you wish.
  • Cost: You will need to schedule an Oncology evaluation or consultation for your dog.  This evaluation appointment is not covered by the study but is a pre-requisite for determining eligibility and does not guarantee that your dog will qualify for the trial.  The costs of trial including some screening diagnostics and therapy are covered by the trial.  Additional costs will be discussed during the evaluation.
  • Contact:  Contact the Oncology Staff at the Small Animal Hospital 352-392-2235 or by email at
  • PI: Dr. Sandra Bechtel


Cachexia is a condition of weight loss, muscle wasting and decreased appetite leading to a decline in quality of life.  This study is aimed at treating cachexia in dogs regardless of the underlying disease process, in the hopes of improving appetite, muscle mass and overall quality of life.