Experts estimate that more than four million U.S. dogs may have idiopathic epilepsy, a chronic condition characterized by recurring seizures. Currently, no known underlying cause exists. But a clinical trial—regulated by the Food and Drug Administration—is hoping to change that. In an effort to evaluate a new medication for the treatment of canine idiopathic seizures, an anonymous animal health pharmaceutical company is offering eligible dogs free veterinary care for participating in the trial.
Trial participants may receive various evaluations and diagnostic tests such as, blood work, CT scans, and MRIs. The dogs will also receive either the current FDA-approved treatment for epilepsy or the test medication. (Researchers emphasize that the medication given to dogs in the trial may or may not help prevent seizures. As with all medications, there are risks and benefits, all of which will be discussed with dog owners prior to enrollment.) The trial will also reward participating dogs' owners with a gift certificate of up to $300 to spend at their veterinary hospital.
In order to qualify, patients must:
Be at least 4 months old
Have not been previously treated with anti-seizure medication
Weigh at least 11 lbs (5 kg)
Have no previous history of seizure clusters
Not be pregnant or suspected to be pregnant
Be seen by the clinical investigator within seven days of the most recent seizure.
The blinded study is expected to run through the end of 2009 at multiple investigator sites across the country including, Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Veterinarians and technicians interested in referring dogs to the trial may call (888) 598-7125, or visit the consumer Web site, helpfordogswithseizures.com.