My beautiful Shepherd/Husky mix was diagnosed with Neosporosis, a Protozoan infection that causes a dog to slowly lose power and control over their hind legs, and eventually their front legs and from there it is a very sad slow death. The experience is obviously difficult for the dog, but it’s also very painful for the owner.
I have a solid background in molecular biology, and currently I develop and market immunotherapies for the veterinary market (see our cancer treatment we are just bringing to the vet market now). So when several vets told me that there are no effective treatments for dogs in the late stages of infection (showing signs of neurological degeneration), I took it as a challenge to either develop a treatment or to find one.
Let’s jump to my findings: I found an academic review of all the drugs in the experimental pipeline (difficult to read, but invaluable). Of all the drugs discussed, three caught my attention:
- “Compound 32”
It’s About Brain Cysts
The reason why prognosis is grim with conventional meds is because Neospora eventually forms cysts in the infected host. Once cysts are formed, neither the immune system nor conventional drugs have efficacy. That’s why there are cases where a dog gets diagnosed soon after being infected, gets antibiotics, and is cured. This is rare, but it goes to show how important it is to diagnose and treat the infection before it gets to the cyst state.
The three drugs above all cross the blood brain barrier and reduced the number of brain cysts. Of the three drugs, only Guanabenz and Miltefosine are FDA approved and available.
I went to my primary vet a few days ago and begged for a prescription for either Guanabenz or Miltefosine. My vet didn’t want to risk his license prescribing drugs not FDA approved for Neosporosis, which I can understand. Even if he had given me a prescription, it turns out the cost for these medications in the US is obscene: one month of Miltefosine would be $32,000. Guanabenz is about the same.
I leveraged overseas contacts in biotech, and was able to find Miltefosine (my first choice) for an affordable price. I should receive the medication in about ten days, and I’ll update this blog with results after we’ve started treatment. I am very anxious and eager to receive it, as Oscar cannot walk and everyday I worry about what function or comfort he will lose next. I love this dog so much and it’s just tearing me apart watching this infection progress.
If you have a dog with Neosporosis, and you have questions or comments, feel free to use the form below. If I can help a dog in need, I will!
There is a great support group on Facebook for owners of dogs with Neosporosis.