dogs suffering from seizures sought for clinical trial

Qualified dogs receive study-related veterinary medical care at no cost

Tinton Falls, N.J. – An important veterinary clinical trial is underway in multiple cities across the United States evaluating a new medication for dogs with seizures.  Red Bank Veterinary Hospital (RBVH) in Tinton Falls is among the veterinary practices participating in this new research. 

Dr. Eric Glass, a board-certified veterinary neurologist, is assessing canine patients in the trial at RBVH.   Regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), this large trial offers some of the most advanced veterinary diagnostics and medical care available.  All study-related services are provided at no cost to dog owners for qualifying patients enrolled in the study.

Dogs qualifying for entry into the trial receive medical care that may include physical and neurological exams, blood and urine testing, and MRI, as well as medication—all free of charge.  In addition, owners of enrolled dogs are eligible to receive up to $150 to help with travel-related expenses.

Christian Lehmann of Howell, New Jersey, is the owner of Kylie, an Australian Shepherd participating in the study.  “Kylie’s first seizure happened early one morning,” he says.  “She was shaking and convulsing, and it was almost like her body was in a backward ‘C’ shape.”

Lehmann is a special education teacher and dog trainer, and has witnessed seizures in children in his class as well as other dogs he has owned before Kylie.  “Because of my past experience, I was certain what I was seeing was a seizure,” he says.  “So I did some research online, found the study, and discussed it with Dr. Glass.”

Based on his own personal experience with the study Lehmann definitely would recommend that other dog owners who have pets with seizures participate.  “If I can be part of the solution to find a medication that will control dogs’ seizures and will not alter their quality of life, then I have made a difference,” he says.  “If Kylie can help dogs in the future, that would be a wonderful thing.”

Study will expand understanding of seizures in dogs

Epilepsy is the single most common canine neurological disorder, and it is estimated that up to 780,000 dogs are diagnosed with epilepsy every year.[i],[ii]  Idiopathic epilepsy is defined as recurring seizures with no known cause.  However, little is known about this pervasive and puzzling disease.  This national study will provide important evidence-based research, which may lead to new insights and improvements in patient health and ultimately may advance treatment of certain seizures in dogs.

Most epileptic dogs suffer their first seizure between the ages of one and five years; however, epilepsy may be seen in dogs of any age.[iii],[iv] According to Dr. Glass, “Most seizures in dogs occur early in the morning or late at night, when the dog is at rest.”

A hereditary basis for idiopathic epilepsy may be a factor in some breeds of dogs, including Australian shepherds, beagles, Belgian Tervurens, Bernese mountain dogs, border collies, English Springer Spaniels, German shepherds, Golden retrievers, Irish Wolfhounds, Keeshonds, Labrador retrievers, Shetland Sheepdogs, Standard Poodles, and vizslas.[v]   

Patient qualifications

The study is open to dogs of all breeds. To qualify, dogs must:

  • Be at least 4 months of age
  • Have received no more than 7 days of prior treatment with an anti-seizure medication
  • Weigh at least 3.3 pounds
  • Have no previous history of seizure clusters or status epilepticus
  • Not be lactating,  pregnant, or suspected to be pregnant
  • Meet all other study requirements (which will be explained by the investigator when the dog is evaluated)

Dogs that meet the initial qualifications for the study receive in-depth diagnostic tests as well as medical evaluations.  Dogs must be evaluated by the investigator within seven days of the most recent seizure. Once enrolled into the treatment phase of the study, dogs are randomly assigned to receive either the investigational drug or a placebo. Two-thirds of dogs will receive the investigational medication.   

Veterinary trial sites located across the U.S.

The study is sponsored by a major animal health pharmaceutical company and regulated by the FDA.  Enrollment of patients is expected to run into 2014, and study sites are currently located in the following states: California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maine, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Tennessee.  The medication given to dogs in this trial may or may not help their seizures.  As with all medications, there are risks and benefits, all of which will be discussed with dog owners by the clinical investigator prior to enrollment. 

For more information
For more information on the study, visit the website, www.HelpForDogsWithSeizures.com, call the toll-free number at 888-598-7125, ext. 207, or ask your veterinarian.

About Visionaire Research & Education

Visionaire Research & Education helps veterinary pharmaceutical manufacturers in their recruitment efforts for clinical trials.  The company is located in Raleigh, NC.


Fast Facts About Canine Seizures

·       Epilepsy is the single most common canine neurological disorder, and it is estimated that up to 780,000 dogs are diagnosed with epilepsy every year.[i],[ii] 

·       Seizures result from abnormal electrical activity in the brain.  There are many different kinds of canine seizures with different causes, and much is still to be learned through research. 

·       The term epilepsy is used to describe recurring seizures.

·       Most epileptic dogs suffer their first seizure between the ages of one and five years; however, it can be seen in dogs of any age.[iii],[iv]

·       A hereditary basis for idiopathic epilepsy may be a factor in some breeds of dogs, including Australian shepherds, beagles, Belgian Tervurens, Bernese mountain dogs,  border collies, English Springer Spaniels, German shepherds, Golden retrievers, Irish Wolfhounds, Keeshonds, Labrador retrievers, Shetland Sheepdogs, Standard Poodles, and vizslas.[v]

·       Seizures with an unknown cause are referred to as idiopathic epilepsy. 

·       MRIs of the brain are sometimes used to help in the diagnostic evaluation of dogs experiencing seizures.

·       Seizures in dogs typically occur early in the morning or late at night, when the dog is at rest.

·       Seizures can be frightening and traumatic for dog owners.

·       If left untreated, seizures will likely get worse.  The more seizures a dog has, the more easily seizures occur, and the more resistant the seizures may be to treatment.

·       Although seizures are frightening to watch, it is unlikely that a dog will choke or hurt itself during a seizure, but pet owners should ensure that the pet is in a safe position, out of danger, such as from falling down a flight of stairs.

·       Dog owners are encouraged to observe and record all activities related to the seizure so they can accurately report events to their veterinarian. The goal of treatment is to help reduce the severity, frequency, and duration of seizures.

·       For a limited time, free veterinary medical care is available for dogs presumed to have idiopathic epilepsy through a clinical trial. (See patient qualifications, below.)  The study is expected to run into 2014.

·       Study sites are currently operating in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maine, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

·       This Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-regulated clinical trial is evaluating a new medication for the treatment of idiopathic epilepsy.  Interested dog owners should contact their family veterinarian about participating in the trial, or visit www.HelpForDogsWithSeizures.com


[i] Holliday TA, Cunningham JG and Gutnick MJ: Comparative Clinical and Electroencephalographic Studies of Canine Epilepsy.  Epilepsia, 1970, 11: 281-292.

[ii] Schwartz-Porsche D: Epidemiological, Clinical, and Pharmacokinetic Studies in Spontaneously Epileptic Dogs and Cats.  Proceedings ACVIM, 1986, 11:61-63.

[iii] Jaggy A and Bernardini M: Idiopathic epilepsy in 125 dogs: a long-term study.  Clinical and electroencephalographic findings. Journal of Small Animal Practice, Vol. 39, January 1988, pp. 23-29.

[iv] Podell M, Fenner WR and Powers JD: Seizure classification in dogs from a nonreferral-based population. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Vol. 206, No. 11, June 1, 1995, pp. 1721-1728.

[v] Ekenstedt KJ, Patterson EE and Mickelson JR: Canine epilepsy genetics.  Mammalian Genome, (2012) Vol. 23, pp. 28-39.

 


[i] Holliday TA, Cunningham JG and Gutnick MJ: Comparative Clinical and Electroencephalographic Studies of Canine Epilepsy.  Epilepsia, 1970, 11: 281-292.

[ii] Schwartz-Porsche D: Epidemiological, Clinical, and Pharmacokinetic Studies in Spontaneously Epileptic Dogs and Cats.  Proceedings ACVIM, 1986, 11:61-63.

[iii] Jaggy A and Bernardini M: Idiopathic epilepsy in 125 dogs: a long-term study.  Clinical and electroencephalographic findings. Journal of Small Animal Practice, Vol. 39, January 1988, pp. 23-29.

[iv] Podell M, Fenner WR and Powers JD: Seizure classification in dogs from a nonreferral-based population. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Vol. 206, No. 11, June 1, 1995, pp. 1721-1728.

[v] Ekenstedt KJ, Patterson EE and Mickelson JR: Canine epilepsy genetics.  Mammalian Genome, (2012) Vol. 23, pp. 28-39.