Study evaluating potential treatment for degenerative myelopathy receives funding


The AKC Canine Health Foundation will fund the new groundbreaking study



The AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) announced that it will provide funding for a groundbreaking study to help find a potential treatment for canines suffering from degenerative myelopathy (DM). There is currently no treatment on the market for this disease's progression in dogs.

DM is a progressive neurologic disease in dogs that mirrors characteristics similar to forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This funding will provide support investigators at 4 veterinary teaching hospitals who will join forces to set up clinical trials and establish treatment protocols for dogs with DM using riluzole, the first drug to receive FDA approval for treating ALS in humans.

"This grant will allow for a platform trial design to recruit DM cases and get clinical trials underway," said Joan Coates DVM, MS, DACVIM-Neurology, the study's Principal Investigator and veterinary neurologist at the University of Missouri, in an organizational release.1 "Information about biomarker testing and control groups will be shared among the neurology researchers of the current participating institutions (University of Missouri, The Ohio State University [Dr Sarah Moore], Tufts University [Dr Dominik Faissler], North Carolina State University [Dr Natasha Olby]), facilitating consistent data collection and providing easier access for dog owners wanting to participate in clinical trials."

According to the release,1 a new treatment to help slop clinical progression of DM is gaining support from pet owners whose dogs are suffering and nonprofits like Bubba’s Buddies, which was created by pet owners who were frustrated with the lack of treatment options. Bubba’s Buddies raises money for DM research while also providing support to families affected.

"A treatment for degenerative myelopathy would have a profound impact on the quality of life of affected dogs and their families," expressed J. Charles Garvin, MD, FACS, chair of the CHF board of directors.1 "CHF is proud to partner with our dedicated investigators and passionate donors to make progress toward that goal."

This study is part of CHF's $13.4 million active research portfolio that funds studies ranging from canine physical health to behavior.


AKC Canine Health Foundation Funds Groundbreaking Study to Evaluate Potential Treatment for Degenerative Myelopathy. News release. AKC Canine Health Foundation. June 1, 2023. Accessed June 1, 2023.

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