New Drug Could Help Dogs Walk Again

April Livingston | October 4th, 2017

For many pet owners, it can be a struggle to deal with a dog that has serious health issues. Many breeds, like dachshunds for example, often deal with spinal cord damage or injuries. While these dogs can typically use a specialized custom wheelchair in order to get around and navigate the world, scientists are continuing their research. Specifically, researchers are hoping to use an experimental drug to find new treatment options. These options are not only useful for dogs, but could also lead to treatments for humans who have similar injuries.

This new drug is being researched by the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and the University of California, San Francisco. In early research, this drug has been shown to help mice with spinal cord injuries walk again. This has led researchers to consider expanding trials to dogs with spinal cord injuries. These injuries typically happen to dogs that have short legs and long torsos, like beagles, corgis, dachshunds, Pekingese and Shih Tzus. They typically encounter a spontaneously ruptured disk, which causes them to lose use of their back legs. It is incredibly common in the dachshund breed in particular.

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So, how does this new drug work for these animals? The drug works by blocking a protein that spikes to abnormally immediately following a spinal cord injury. What typically happens is that a dog injures its spine, but the bulk of the damage occurs after the first injury. This new drug wouldn’t heal the first injury, but it would help prevent the cycle of destruction afterwards.

This is a big deal for dogs and the people who love them, if the drug is able to have the same results in dogs that it had for mice. Researchers say that mice can walk again if they are treated within three hours of the injury and over the course of three days afterwards. What an amazing find for dogs!

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