West Lafayette, Ind. - With the help of an experimental procedure under way at Purdue University, a dog whose rear legs were paralyzed after being struck by a car has regained the use of the legs.
West Lafayette, Ind. - With the help of an experimental procedureunder way at Purdue University, a dog whose rear legs were paralyzed afterbeing struck by a car has regained the use of the legs.
The medical progress of the dog is being monitored as part of an ongoingclinical trial involving canines. Coincidentally, the school's Center forParalysis Research in the School of Veterinary Medicine was preparing toconduct a trial using dogs with spinal injuries at the same time the GermanShorthaired Pointer was struck by a car.
The treatment involves injecting the dogs with polyethylene glycol (PEG),a compound found in detergent, antifreeze and cosmetics. Scientists reportthat PEG can repair damaged cell membranes by coating them with a protectivefilm that seals holes formed by disease or trauma.
Until now, PEG had not yet been used to repair spinal cord tissue. Purdueresearchers first tested the chemical on guinea pigs, but had to experiment on larger animals before the therapy could be cleared for humans with spinalcord injuries.
Clinical trials involving humans are expected to begin next year.
For the German Shorthaired Pointer, Duke, researchers gave him a doseof PEG, and stainless steel plates and screws were used to hold his fracturedspine together. A second surgery was needed and another round of PEG wasadministered.
A few days later, the dog's hind quarters showed signs of small motormovements. After several months, he did gain the ability to walk again withthe help of his owners.
Visit the Purdue paralysis center on the Web at http://www.vet.purdue.edu/cpr/.