02790-A: Characterization of the Fecal Microbiome in Dogs with Spinal Cord Injury Secondary to Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD)

Grant Status: Open

Grant Amount: $14,958
Kari Foss, DVM, MS; University of Illinois
April 1, 2020 - March 31, 2025


Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Neurology
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Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is a common cause of spinal cord injury (SCI) in dogs and can significantly impact quality of life in this patient population. Surgery is the current standard of care and focuses on relieving the actual spinal cord compression. In addition to compression, the spinal cord also suffers from contusive injury for which there are not established treatments. As such, even with surgery, the contusive injury can lead to progressive damage of the spinal cord. Studies in mice and people have shown that gut dysbiosis (bacterial imbalance in the gut) occurs as a result of SCI but can also contribute to further injury and damage. This is because the dysbiosis is thought to cause further inflammation within the spinal cord tissue. Not only is the dysbiosis a result of the SCI, but it further contributes to the injury in a vicious cycle. Studies in dogs have shown that spinal cord inflammation contributes to significant injury to the spinal cord secondary to disc disease. Therefore, targeting gut dysbiosis could play an important role in the management of SCI. This study will focus on determining the presence of gut dysbiosis in dogs with SCI secondary to IVDD when compared to healthy dogs.

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