Dogs needed for distemper study


Dogs with distemper suffering from the neurologic stage of the disease are being sought for a study into a promising treatment at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Made possible because of a grant from Maddie’s Fund, the study aims to document the effects of the NDV spinal tap in dogs where the distemper virus has attacked the nervous system. In this procedure, a small amount of Newcastle Disease Vaccine is injected into the spinal canal. The NDV spinal tap had been performed at Kansas State in May 2012 on a distemper dog that had been paralyzed and blind and subsequently regained its ability to see, walk and run. At least 10 dogs are needed to complete this study.

The grant will cover the costs of the treatment and related tests for participating dogs.

To be eligible for this study, the dogs should:

  • Be in the neurologic stage of canine distemper, which includes symptoms such as involuntary muscle tics, twitches, spasms, seizures, paralysis or blindness.
  • Be able to be brought to Kansas State University for treatment and returned for an evaluation 3-4 months later. If that return visit does not happen, the owner would be charged for the full cost of the treatment and tests.
  • Kansas State would also have to confirm that this is a case of neurologic distemper and meets other criteria for their study before they proceed.

Also, animal shelters with dogs in the neurologic stage of distemper would be welcome to participate.

If you are interested in this program, contact Dr. Ken Harkin at 785-532-5690.

— Ed Bond

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2016: Distemper study concludes