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Veterinary Forum February 2008 (Vol 25, No 2)

CVM leads national trial involving acute disk herniation in dogs

    The Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) is leading a national trial evaluating the effectiveness of adjunctive therapies combined with surgery for severe acute intervertebral disk disease (IVDD) in dogs.

    A common problem in dachshunds, basset hounds, Pekingese, beagles and Lhasa apsos, acute IVDD occurs when the disk degenerates and herniates into the spinal canal, causing both contusive injury and compression of the spinal cord. Signs range from loss of coordination and back pain to paralysis.

    "Current IVDD treatment calls for surgical decompression of the spinal cord, followed by rehabilitation to help the dog recover full mobility," says Natasha Olby, VetMB, PhD, DACVIM, associate professor of neurology at CVM and principal investigator for the study. "There is controversy, however, about whether ad­junctive medical therapy could improve the outcome, and that is what this blinded clinical trial will investigate."

    The trial will compare methylprednisolone sodium succinate, polyethylene glycol and a placebo as adjunctive therapy to surgical decompression of the spinal cord.

    In addition to the CVM Veterinary Teaching Hospital, 11 veterinary medical centers are recruiting cases. To be considered as a participant, patients must have the most severe grade of injury and paralysis, with no sensation in the hindlimbs of no more than 24 hours' duration.

    For information about enrolling patients in the study and to contact the investigators, go to the CVM website at www.cvm.ncsu.edu/docs/neuro/acutedischerniations.html.

    NEXT: Cardiology update: canine heart failure


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