Clinical trials offered to help pets with epilepsy or spinal cord injuries


Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)

Dr. Kari Foss is a veterinary neurologist at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital. In addition to diagnosing and treating dogs and cats with neurologic problems, she conducts research to find better ways to help them. Currently she is seeking patients eligible to enroll in two clinical trials.

Dogs with Epilepsy

Dogs that have seizures for which the cause is not known are said to have “idiopathic epilepsy.” In this study, Dr. Foss will use a technique that is used in human medicine to image the brain to detect the origin of seizure activity. She will use this very novel MRI technique to noninvasively measure which parts of the brain are active in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy.

Dogs with Spinal Cord Injury (and their healthy housemates!)

Studies have shown that people with spinal cord injury may have alterations in their gut microbiome (the natural population of bacteria that live in the intestine). These alterations include producing fewer short-chain fatty acids, which play a role in reducing inflammation in the central nervous system. In this study, Dr. Foss will conduct a fecal analysis of eligible dogs with a spinal cord injury and of that dog’s canine housemate that does not have spinal cord injury. The goal is to see if the spinal cord injury is related to a change in microbiome in dogs, and ultimately to see if addressing the microbiome could provide a way to reduce inflammation in dogs with spinal cord injury.

For more information about these and other clinical trials taking place at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, see:

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