A new kidney stone treatment has helped dogs and cats recover from strokes and other traumatic injuries more quickly than traditional surgical procedures, according to a new study.
Researchers at the University of California at San Francisco examined the efficacy of a kidney stone stone treatment on dogs with cerebral palsy and found it is effective and safe for both dogs and their owners.
The study is published online April 7 in the journal PLoS ONE.
“Our study is the first to demonstrate the effectiveness of a novel kidney stone-blocking drug on dogs and cat models of stroke and traumatic injury, with no adverse side effects,” said lead study author Amy Hsu, a professor of pediatrics at UCSF and associate director of UCSF’s Pediatric Stroke Center.
“The drug was developed by an independent laboratory and has never before been tested in dogs and has been validated in humans.”
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Taiwan University and the Taiwan Ministry of Science and Technology.
“This study provides important information for our veterinarians about the safety and efficacy of the kidney stone blocker, which is used in dogs for more than 30 years,” said senior author Andrew Baeza, an assistant professor of veterinary medicine at UCSB.
“We hope that this study will help increase awareness of the benefits of the drug for dogs, as well as the importance of animal-to-human translational research and education.”
The researchers looked at the data from 7,937 dogs and 4,856 cats between the ages of 1 and 5 years.
The dogs and the cats had at least one stroke, a traumatic injury that occurred after a cat fell off a couch or onto a hard surface.
Each dog was tested for cognitive impairment and neurological dysfunction.
The researchers used an electronic skull imaging device called a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to monitor brain activity.
The brain was scanned with electroencephalography (EEG) to measure brain waves and activity in the animals’ brains.
The data revealed that the drug prevented strokes in dogs by more than half compared to the controls, and it reduced neurological dysfunction in the cats by 80 percent compared to controls.
“In the past, we have been trying to find a drug that can treat brain damage that is irreversible, but we didn’t find anything that was effective for all of these dogs,” said study senior author Jai Yang, an associate professor of clinical pediatrics and director of the UCSF Pediatric Research Center.
Yang, who also is an associate director at the Taiwan Institute for Advanced Studies of Cognitive Disorders, and his colleagues also have been developing a drug to treat stroke.
Yang and his team have been working on the drug since 2013, when they first started testing it in dogs.
“At that time, we thought that the brain damage would not last forever, but it did,” Yang said.
“And in fact, after six months, we did find that it worked a little better than the standard treatment.”
The drug also helped the dogs live longer than their controls, as they were less likely to develop stroke or traumatic brain injury and more likely to recover from the injuries and survive them.
“It is really exciting to see that the benefit of the treatment in dogs is so significant,” Yang added.
Yang’s team is continuing to study the drug’s safety and effectiveness in humans and has a number of more studies in the pipeline. “
So this is really an important finding for us because it shows that if we can develop a drug for humans, it might be a potential solution for other disorders, like strokes or traumatic injuries.”
Yang’s team is continuing to study the drug’s safety and effectiveness in humans and has a number of more studies in the pipeline.
“A drug that we hope will be effective in dogs will help us understand how this drug works in other animals and possibly bring it to people,” Yang noted.
“There are a lot of unanswered questions about the effectiveness and safety of this drug, so we’re very excited to continue this research.”
The team will publish their findings in a peer-reviewed journal later this year.
“For more than 100 years, we’ve been treating animals with the same medications that we use in humans,” Yang explained.
“But now, we can see that this drug actually works in animals and we hope to develop it in humans as well.
We’re really excited to get the drug into the hands of dogs and hopefully see it work as well in people as we have in humans!”
About the University Of California, San Francisco: The University of Cal., with campuses in San Francisco, Berkeley and Emeryville, is among the nation’s top research universities.
Its 1,500-plus undergraduate and graduate students conduct research in health sciences, the humanities, social sciences and engineering.
The university’s research faculty members are internationally recognized for their expertise in teaching, research and service