Pet dogs commonly suffer spinal cord injury, mainly because many small breeds are susceptible to degeneration of their intervertebral discs, which then rupture and cause injury to the spinal cord. Veterinarians treat the resulting spinal cord injury in ways that are very similar to those used in human patients and most cases recover good function. However, despite treatment some dogs are left permanently incontinent and paralyzed in the hind legs. Nowadays, many owners are able to care for these dogs, who can then continue to live long and happy lives. On the other hand, it would be desirable if we, as veterinarians, were able to reverse these deficits and so these affected dogs can be candidates for novel therapies designed and tested in laboratories by experimental scientists.

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