Clinical research involves writing a paper on a scientific topic – it does not mean that we do experiments on animals! The paper may describe observations of disease features in a number individuals or assess the effect of a treatment intervention. Ideally there is a large number of cases and statistical analysis is performed to determine whether any differences are due to chance or likely to be caused by a treatment. To assist in increasing the number of cases, papers are often prepared by teams of colleagues working at different institutions.
Once the paper has been submitted to the journal editors it enters an anonymous peer review process where the article is reviewed by other specialists who will then submit their comments to refine the article prior to it being accepted for publication.
This paper describes heart rhythm during episodes of collapse in Boxers and has been in preparation for around 8 years involving collaborators from two centres in the UK and Australia. The preconception was that these boxers would collapse due to a dangerous heart rhythm called ventricular tachycardia. A surprising aspect of our findings was that actually many of the dogs had a normal heart rhythm and therefore a key findings of this paper is that we need to be sure of the cause of these collapse events prior to starting treatment especially as some of of the drugs used to treat abnormal heart rhythms can be toxic.