A sudden injury to the spinal cord triggers a cascade of changes that cause expansion of the area of tissue damage over a 24 – 48 hour window. Many different therapies have been developed to target this window of time, and limit the extension of damage. In this trial, we rigorously tested two different drugs that have reached clinical use, the steroid, methylprednisolone sodium succinate, and polyethylene glycol, a substance that fuses cell membranes.
Thirteen different centers participated in the trial across the US, and submitted their data to our research group. The dogs recruited had suffered the most severe grade of spinal cord injury due to a disc herniation and received standard surgical decompression. Their recovery was followed over a 12-week period. The results of the trial demonstrated that while both treatments appeared safe, neither showed any effect on the outcome. The results of this study will be published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine shortly.