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In both dogs and people with Chiari malformation/syringomyelia (CM/SM), there is a high documented incidence of hyperesthesia (lowered pain threshold). The purpose of this study to validate the use of a sensory threshold test, von Frey anesthesiometry (VFA), for use in dogs withCM/SM. First we must determine what constitutes a normal response using VFA in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (CKCS), then we will compare that response to what is seen in CKCS with CM/SM.
(1) CKCS with normal neurologic examinations (these dogs will serve as our control group),
(2) those with neurologic abnormalities on examination and evidence of CM/CM on MRI.
Your dog will undergo a brief neurologic examination to document any spinal cord, bone or joint problems that may be present. Next, your dog will be asked to lay quietly on his or her side while the level to which he can feel a pressure stimulus is tested. Minimal restrain may be used, but if your pet protests to lying on his side or becomes stressed by the testing, he may not continue in the study. We will use an electronic device called a von Frey anesthesiometer to apply steady pressure to your dog’s paw until he feels the pressure and pulls his foot away. The amount of pressure (in grams) required for your dog to pull his foot away will be recorded. We will test both paws on your dog’s back legs and the entire process will take approximately 20 minutes.
There have been no side effects reported in conjunction with the use of VFA in dogs. Two studies have examined this previously and found that even with the maximum pressure of the device is applied to the paw, there is not tissue damage or residual discomfort.
Each dog will have their sensory threshold tested only once, so this is the only visit where your dog will be included in this study.
You may decide to withdraw your dog from the clinical trial at any time. Additionally, your dog may be removed from the study at any time if we believe it is in your dog’s best interest. An example of this might be if your dog appears stressed during sensory testing of his foot.
There are no special financial incentives provided for participation in this study.
Sarah Moore, DVM, DACVIM (Neurology) 614-292-2597