Antioxidant Study for Dogs with Spinal Cord Injury

This is a PAST clinic study

See all current clinical studies

Effect of N-acetylcysteine in dogs with spinal cord injury – a prospective, blinded clinical trial

Purpose of Study

Spinal cord injury is a common problem in veterinary medicine. In severe cases, spinal cord injury can lead to permanent loss of sensation, paralysis, urinary and fecal incontinence, and, in some cases, death. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is an antioxidant commonly used in veterinary medicine for the treatment of acetaminophen toxicity. In clinical studies NAC has been shown to have valuable effects for humans and laboratory animals with spinal and brain injuries. NAC is affordable, has little to no adverse side effects, and has a wide margin of safety. The purpose of this study is to evaluate whether NAC helps to lower the biomarkers of spinal cord injury and oxidative stress and aid in the recovery of dogs with spinal cord injuries.


By participating in this study, you and your dog will be contributing to potentially groundbreaking research that will help determine if N-acetylcysteine can help dogs such as yours with spinal cord injuries. Dogs enrolled in this study will receive the assigned study treatment (either NAC or placebo) at no cost to their owners.

Enrollment Requirements

  • To participate in this study, dogs must present to the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital (WSU VTH) within 72 hours of the onset of their non-ambulatory status.
  • Eligible dogs must be diagnosed (either before or after arriving at the WSU VTH) with intervertebral disc extrusion, fibrocartilaginous embolic myelopathy, or acute non-compressive nucleus pulposus extrusion in the thoracolumbar spine.
  • For this study, dogs can be of any age or weight.

Treatment Methods

Once enrolled, your dog will be randomly assigned to one of two groups: the study group (which will receive NAC) or the control group (which will receive a placebo). All dogs will receive their assigned treatment intravenously starting from the time of MRI/CT diagnosis, then every 6 hours for a total of 7 treatments and will need to remain at the WSU VTH for the duration of these treatments (approximately 48 hours). Blood and urine will be collected prior to the first treatment and two hours after the last treatment to measure biomarker levels.

Owner Responsibilities

  • Owners must bring their dog to the WSU VTH for an appointment with the Neurology Service, or through the Emergency Service in order for their dogs to qualify for this study. Treatment for this study will only be administered at the WSU VTH and cannot be done at any other veterinary clinic.
  • Owners are responsible for the costs associated with routine diagnostic testing, surgery, and hospitalization of their dog

Contact Information

Dr. Sarvenaz Bagheri
Resident in Neurology & Neurosurgery