To evaluate the adherence of veterinary randomized controlled trial (RCT) abstracts to the recommendations on minimum abstract information included in the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) checklist for RCT abstracts and to identify characteristics associated with the number of CONSORT items reported.
212 abstracts representing all RCTs published in 5 general veterinary journals in 2013 and 2018.
2 investigators independently assessed whether each of the 15 CONSORT checklist items for abstracts applicable to veterinary medicine was reported. Generalized linear mixed models were built to explore associations of selected variables with the total number of checklist items reported.
Abstracts included a median of 5 checklist items (range, 2 to 10 items). None met the recommendations for reporting participant recruitment and funding source. Less than 25% of abstracts met the recommendations for the title, participant eligibility criteria, primary outcome, randomization technique, blinding, numbers analyzed, primary outcome results, and harms to participants. The number of items reported was higher in abstracts of RCTs that included clinical patients (vs other participants; OR, 1.13; 95% CI, 1.05 to 1.22). The number of items reported did not significantly change over time.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Results suggested that the reporting quality of abstracts of RCTs in general veterinary journals was suboptimal per CONSORT recommendations. Because abstracts may be the only reference material available in certain settings, improvements are warranted to ensure readers have the information they need to properly interpret reported findings.