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Riluzole as a Neuroprotectant in Canine Degenerative Myelopathy

Principle Investigator

Dr Natasha Olby


This study will evaluate the effect of Riluzole, a drug already FDA-approved for the treatment of human ALS, on the progression of clinical signs in dogs with degenerative myelopathy (DM). This therapy has been previously tested for safety in dogs. The study will be randomized and blinded. This means that some dogs will receive the therapy, and some dogs will receive a control treatment made of similar ingredients but not containing the Riluzole. Dogs that participate in the clinical trial will receive daily doses of either riluzole or placebo over a period of a year and will be evaluated at the vet school at the study start, 1 month then every 3 months. They will be anesthetized for spinal fluid sampling at the study start and at 6 and 12 months.

Testing Requirements

Dogs will undergo a physical and neurological examination, blood work and urinalysis, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis as well as video recording of gait and testing of their ability to feel their feet.

Enrollment Start


Enrollment Finish



Participating dogs must be 7 years or older, have a clinical diagnosis of early stage degenerative myelopathy based on history, clinical signs, spinal MRI and CSF analysis and genetic testing.




Dr Natasha Olby. Contact on