In today's VetGirl blog, we interview Dr. Hilary Hu, PhD candidate at Iowa State University. Dr. Hu and Dr. Nick Jeffery are conducting a clinical study on the experimental use of chondroitinase, which may improve outcome in dogs after spinal cord injury.
During the past decade, numerous experiments in laboratory rodents have shown the benefits of injecting chondroitinase into regions of damaged spinal cord. The drug works by dissolving away some of the scarring tissue that forms after spinal cord injury, allowing new nerve fibers to grow across the damaged region and restore communication. Successful intervention using chondroitinase in laboratory animals has been especially notable when it has been combined with physical therapy.
During this clinical study, chondroitinase is injected directly into the spinal cord. Follow-up evaluation is conducted over a 6 month window to assess improvements in neurologic function (e.g., including urinary continence). In this podcast, Dr. Hu discusses which dogs qualify for the study, any potential side effects, and overall goals of therapy.
Interested in referring a dog for the study? Any dogs with severe injury to the spinal cord in the middle of the back are eligible, so long as they also:
Weigh less than 20 kg
Have not recovered the ability to walk unaided by at least 6 weeks after injury
Do not have another medical condition that would interfere with treatment and assessment
Will not become distressed by being in a hospital
Have owner consent to undergo treatment
For more information, check out further details here.