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Veterinary bills paid
Vet hospital seeks and subsidizes healthy dog volunteers
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
By Charlie Powell, College of Veterinary Medicine
Photo courtesy of Henry Moore,
Specifically, the group wants to determine the normal range for certain forms of enzymes found in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of healthy dogs. The isoenzymes are forms of creatine kinase (CK) and lactate dehydrogenase (LD). The group is seeking permission from owners to withdraw CSF from animals undergoing anesthesia for an elective surgery such as spay, neuter, dental cleaning, elective orthopedic procedures, or others. Samples will not be collected without owners’ consent.
CSF collection requires anesthesia in animals to control any motion. This common procedure is done in humans the same way except under just a local anesthesia because people will lie still.
Qualifying for study
To qualify for the study, the dog will need to be deemed healthy by a veterinarian via a physical exam, neurologic exam, complete blood count, serum chemistry panel, and urinalysis. If a client’s dog qualifies, the study will pay for the latter four examinations and tests reducing those costs as part of the owners’ surgery charges. If the same analyses have been done elsewhere within the last 30 days, the study will credit $100 towards the owner’s bill. The CSF analysis that follows will also be provided free to owners as a part of their pet’s medical record.
Common, low-risk procedure
CSF is collected using a long, very fine needle inserted between the vertebrae and into the spinal canal’s covering. A sample of CSF is collected in a sterile tube and the needle is withdrawn with no other treatment necessary.
"This is a very important piece of information we need to have and share with all veterinarians to assist in the diagnosis and eventual treatment of several serious neurologic diseases,” explained Annie Chen-Allen, neurologist and chief of the neurology service at WSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital. "Collecting CSF for analysis is a common procedure with an extremely low risk of any complications. Since it will be done while the dog is undergoing elective anesthesia, the dog will not feel the needle or any pain afterwards.”
Helping all dogs
Chen-Allen went on to explain that owners can be proud that their dog will have been part of determining a very important piece of medical information that will help all dogs from now on.
"By doing research in this way with volunteers versus research animals, it eliminates anesthetizing ownerless dogs for no other reason than to collect these samples.”
CK is an enzyme expressed by many different types of tissues including nervous tissue and is a key component of energy storage and availability. Medically, muscle CK levels are measured in blood to determine if a person has had a heart attack, severe muscle breakdown, muscular dystrophy, meningitis, inflammation of tissues around the brain or some types of kidney disease.
LD is present in many plants and animals. Elevated forms of LD can be used to diagnose tissue breakdown, blood cell destruction, heart attacks, cancer, and meningitis. Elevated levels of both CK and LD in CSF can indicate infections of the brain and central nervous system tissues in people.
Defining normal range
Once normal reference ranges are determined, Chen-Allen’s group will seek outside funding for a clinical trial to evaluate LD and CK in canine patients with neurologic diseases.
"Our goal is to determine the clinical significance of LD and CK in the diagnosis and prognosis of meningitis, encephalitis, strokes, and brain tumors,” said Chen-Allen. "We’d also like to determine whether these enzyme activities in CSF correlate with those in serum and whether changes in these isoenzyme patterns are useful for gauging treatment success and failure for various neurological diseases.”
NOTE: Clients wishing to discuss participation of their pet in this study can call the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine's neurology section at 509-335-0711.
Charlie Powell, 509-335-7073 or email@example.com