Big news came out this week from North Carolina State University when a paralyzed dog walked on a treadmill following a clinical trial. The NCSU study tried to get paraplegic dogs walking again with the help of two medications. It’s the kind of news that made me wish I lived closer to North Carolina.
The NCSU clinical trial tested two forms of a drug called 4-Aminopyridine (4-AP) on 19 dogs with similar types of spinal cord injuries. All of the dogs received a course of both types of 4-AP plus a round of a placebo drug. The goal was to determine if 4-AP helped damaged nerves transmit signals to the brain.
The initial results were very promising. Every dog showed significant improvement in their ability to take steps on their own. The big news came when a few of the paralyzed dogs walked on a treadmill.
4-AP has been around for a while and helps boost the ability to walk in multiple sclerosis patients. The results were not as clear cut in the canine participants.
Natasha Olby, professor of neurology at NCSU, sees the need for a bigger and more individualized clinical trial. She wants to find out why some of the dogs did better on 4-AP than others. To do this she is recruiting a large number of paralyzed dogs into a new advanced study.
If you know a dog who has suffered a spinal cord injury that has left her a paraplegic, please contact The Canine Spinal Cord Injury Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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