There are about three million dogs in Australia with around 100,000 suffering epilepsy but about 30,000 do not respond to drug treatment.
Dr Matthias Le Chevoir, a Lecturer in Veterinary Neurology said, “Presently the treatment for dog epilepsy involves anticonvulsant medication and just under half also have side effects.”
“Our non invasive treatment involves holding a commercially available nerve stimulator device against the neck area of the dog.” “A pilot study showed it is safe for the animal and provided a decrease in seizure frequency and severity when used three times daily. In one case we found a two minute treatment could provide relief for up to 8 hours,” said Dr Le Chevoir
Nerve stimulators have been used for the last 25 years to treat headaches and drug resistant seizures in humans and animals. But these stimulators had to be surgically implanted and so were cost prohibitive.
“This novel non-surgical, non- invasive vagal nerve stimulation could be the effective treatment we are looking for. It’s an accessible way to achieve better seizure control, minimize side effects, and consequently improve quality of life for both the dog and its owner,” said Dr Le Chevoir
This new treatment will provide a valuable option to veterinary practitioners for the treatment for dogs with complicated epilepsy cases.
Researchers are seeking at least 25 eligible dogs for clinical trials.
Dog owners can call Dr Matthias Le Chevoir on 03 9731 2344 or Mrs Shasta Mendez on 03 9731 2357