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Helping Injured Pups Walk
Experimental drug could help dogs and humans with spiral cord injuries

I love when medical research benefits both canines and humans. This latest study aims to help dogs and people retain their ability to walk with a new medication.

The U.S. Department of Defense is funding research to explore an experimental drug that will help dogs and humans with spinal cord injuries. The collaboration between the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Texas A&M has already proved that the drug mitigates spinal cord damage in mice. The next step will be to see how the medication works in dogs. The study will specifically be looking at short-legged, long-torso breeds like Dachshunds, Beagles and Corgis. It's not uncommon for these breeds to spontaneously rupture a disc, damaging the spinal cord.

Most spinal cord injuries lead to chemical reactions that damage nearby cells and pathways, contributing to decreased hind limb function. The experimental drug may help stop this process and help dogs preserve the use of their legs.

Canine spinal cord injuries are similar to human spinal cord injuries, so scientists are hopeful that the research can help both dogs and people. A win-win for everyone!

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by UCSF.

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