CSF Study in Dogs with Non-tumor Related Seizure Disorders

This is a PAST clinic study

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CSF Metabolomics in idiopathic epileptic dogs and meningoencephalitis of unknown etiology

Purpose of the Study

This study is designed to identify and profile cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) differences between healthy dogs and dogs with seizure disorders not caused by tumors or other structural abnormalities.

Metabolomics is the study of very small molecules, known as metabolites, found in biological fluids, tissues, and cells. For this study, we will look at the metabolic profile in populations of “normal” dogs and compare those to dogs with specific seizure disorders that are considered less responsive to medical treatment: idiopathic epilepsy, meningoenceopalomyelitis of unknown etiology (MUE), and seizure-like diseases such as “fly biting syndrome” and movement disorders. Our is to discover whether specific CSF metabolic profiles exist, for each of these diseases, which can offer a better understanding of the underlying cause and an explanation for the altered response to medical treatment. In addition to gaining more knowledge, we hope that this study will lead to future studies that explore new, more effective treatments.


By participating in this study, you and your dog will be helping us learn more about diseases that are traditionally difficult to treat.

Enrollment Requirements

This study is being conducted in dogs that weigh more than 5lbs. To be eligible for this study, dogs must have an appointment with the Neurology Service at the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital (WSU VTH). Dogs enrolled in this study must suffer from seizures and have no sign of a tumor or other structural abnormalities.

Treatment Methods

Dogs in this study will be at the WSU VTH for an appointment with the neurology service because they are having seizures. By nature of their appointment, these dogs will already be scheduled for a neurologic exam, blood work and a spinal tap. Once the spinal tap is completed, study participation is complete.

For the spinal tap, dogs will be anesthetized and routinely monitored by an anesthesiologist. A 3×3 square-shaped area will be shaved and cleaned on the back of the dog’s head prior to the tap. Using a standardized sterile technique, a board-certified neurologist will obtain CSF.

*This study will be making use of the CSF and blood leftover after laboratory testing for your dog’s appointment has been completed. No extra CSF or blood will be drawn for this study.

Owner Responsibilities

Owners are responsible for bringing their dog to the WSU VTH for the appointment. They are responsible for the costs associated with the diagnosis of their dog’s seizure disorder, including the cost of the anesthesia necessary for the spinal tap procedure.

Contact Information

Dr. Yael Merbl
Assistant Professor, Neurology and Neurosurgery