Dr. Nicholas Jeffery, professor at Texas A&M Small Animal Neurology Department just sent a notice that paralyzed dogs are needed for trial treatment programs. If your dog’s been a paraplegic for more than 3 months, this is a wonderful opportunity to take part in two cutting edge therapies.
I write about clinical trials a lot, but this is the first time we have a trial treatment to offer families of paralyzed dogs. And both are very exciting.
The difference between a clinical trial and a trial treatment
A clinical trial is when researchers test an idea. It’s an experiment about a hypothesis. The treatment phase comes later, when researchers have shown there are benefits from the clinical trial. It’s the phase where they refine a therapy and move forward to get it on the market.
Trial treatment program number one – Chondroitinase injections
Dr. Jeffery is seeking dogs with long-term spinal cord injuries. These are pups who had a disc herniation and have not recovered the ability to walk. Dogs must also have been paralyzed for more than 3 months.
The trial treatment will develop the routine use of chondroitinase injections. Dr. Jeffery is working with a pharmaceutical company to try to make these injections part of the normal therapy for dogs with disc disease.
The goal is to determine the best dose and method of delivery of the medication.
“We know it’s safe from our previous research and so there should be little risk of adverse effects,” said Dr. Jeffery.
Dr. Jeffery ran the original research about the benefits of chondroitinase at Iowa State University. The trial combined physical therapy with injections of the medication. The research studied whether the drug could restore communication between a dog’s brain and their limbs.
The outcome was that chondroitinase injections into the spinal cord had a beneficial effect on walking in chronically injured dogs.
Two readers at Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog took part in this original study. You can read about their experiences here: Clinical Trial For Paralyzed Dogs Update
Trial treatment program number two – Use of electrical stimulation
This treatment requires dogs who’ve been paralyzed for at least 3 months and have not recovered the ability to feel at the back end.
Dr. Jeffery is working with a Texas A&M engineer to make devices to electrically stimulate the nervous system to regenerate walking movements in chronically paralyzed dogs.
“There are a number of ways of doing this and we are actively looking for suitable cases now,” said Dr. Jeffery. “We can use external stimulation (on the tail) or implant electrodes into the dog.”
Dr. Jeffery said the procedure won’t be as dramatic as it sounds and it won’t be painful because only dogs that have lost their ability to feel pain in the hindquarters will be accepted.
Here’s more information about electrical stimulation: Canine Exoskeleton Braces.
How to register for the trials
Please include your phone number with the email.
Dr. Jeffery will contact you to discuss which trial might be suitable for your specific dog. He also explained the Chondroitinase injections trial is ready to begin.
Please spread the word
I want to thank Linda Stowe at Dodgerslist for dogs with IVDD for letting me know about these treatment programs. And I want to thank Dr. Jeffery for sharing the details so I can alert pet families.
If you know a dog who might fit the criteria for either program, please share this information with them. And please encourage them to email Dr. Jeffery ASAP.