In January 2015 I posted a story that was big news for paralyzed dogs. North Carolina State University had just released a video of a paraplegic pug taking steps on a treadmill. The dog had taken part in a clinical trial run by Dr. Natasha Olby, professor of neurology at NCSU. Now in January 2017, I am excited to announce that Dr. Olby is continuing her Canine Spinal Cord Injury Program. NCSU is recruiting paralyzed dogs for their clinical trial. Enrollment in Part Two of this groundbreaking study starts February 3, 2017.
The trial is brief. It only requires dogs to be at NCSU for two days. If you are the pet parent of a paralyzed dog, I strongly encourage you to enroll. It might make a world of difference to your dog and it will be a game-changer for future paraplegic pets and people.
These are the details about the NCSU paralyzed dogs clinical trial.
Natasha Olby Vet MB, PhD, MRCVS, DACVIM (Neurology) is investigating why some dogs with a spinal cord injury respond to a medication called 4-aminopyridine (4-AP) to improve their walking ability while others do not. The initial clinical trial gave 4-AP, a potassium channel-blocking drug, to each participant. Some of the dogs improved their hind limb stepping ability to the point of being able to walk without assistance.
“With this trial, we are looking for ways to predict which chronically paralyzed dogs will respond to 4-AP and, more broadly, improve our understanding of spinal cord injury and recovery in this population of dogs,” said Dr. Olby.
Click here to read about Dr. Olby’s original study: Dog Walks On Treadmill At NCSU Study
Here is a video of the pug who walked on a treadmill at the original NCSU study.
Qualifications to apply:
- Dogs must have had a severe, acute spinal cord injury that caused paralysis. The injury must be severe enough for the dog to lose deep pain sensations.
- Participants must be 3 months out from their injury and still be deep pain negative in their back legs.
- Dogs must not have a history of seizures. 4-AP can make them worse.
- Dogs must be willing to being handled.
Once dogs are accepted into the study they will be invited to NCSU. On day 1, dogs will be admitted to the hospital for a thorough neurologic exam. This includes a baseline evaluation of their electrical pathways and an MRI of their spine. Both of these tests require dogs to be sedated. Participants will also be evaluated for their ability to walk (with the help of a sling) on a flat surface and on a treadmill. On day 2, participants will receive a dose of 4-AP and the neurologic evaluation done on day 1 will be repeated.
If you are interested in more information or think you have a dog who might be a good candidate, please contact Dr. Melissa Lewis at 919-5131-7235 or [email protected]
The NCSU website describes more details about the trial here: Canine Spinal Cord Injury Program. I want to thank our friends at Dodgerslist for sharing the information about this study. Dodgerslist is the number one resource for dogs with IVDD.
Dr. Natasha Olby earned her veterinary degree from Cambridge University in the UK in 1991. She later returned to Cambridge to complete her PhD in spinal cord injury and surgical training. She moved to North Carolina State University to do a neurology residency and stayed on as a faculty member. In 2014 Dr. Olby received the Faculty Achievement Award from the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians. She is the author of more than 100 scientific publications.
We are truly living in an exciting technological era. Medical miracles are coming true every year. I know one day we will look at spinal cord injuries as a mere hiccup instead of a life-changing event. Please let me know if your dog is accepted into the Canine Spinal Cord Injury Program.