PetSavers – BSAVA’s PetSavers Funds Dachshund Disc Herniation Research With Support From The Debs Foundation

20 December 2019

The Debs Foundation charitable trust has donated £5,000 to BSAVA’s PetSavers, to support a clinical research project on thoracolumbar intervertebral disc herniation in Dachshunds.

The Debs Foundation charitable trust was set-up two years ago, in memory of veterinarian Debbie Gittleson. The Foundation’s aim is to support charities that reflect the causes Debbie believed in and advocated for, in particular those with an emphasis on animal welfare. It is the second year that the Foundation has supported PetSavers clinical research with a donation and the intention is to develop a long-term relationship with PetSavers.

The study Recovery of ambulation in medically managed non-ambulatory dachshund dogs with thoracolumbar intervertebral disc herniation, being conducted by Paul Freeman at Queen’s Veterinary School Hospital, Cambridge, was chosen for this year’s grant. The project will investigate dachshunds and other small breed dogs weighing less than 10kg, with intervertebral disc disease, with the aim of identifying a group of affected dogs which may be able to recover the ability to walk without the need for decompressive surgery. Instead, nursing care and appropriate pain relief will be provided. The study will also look at whether the type of intervention affects the extent and speed of recovery, and how frequently the body may remove disc material by natural processes.

Paul Freeman said: “I am delighted to have received the support of PetSavers and the Debs Foundation for this important study. We will start work as soon as possible, aiming to recruit at least 40 dogs over the next two years. Study participants must have suspected thoracolumbar intervertebral disc herniation or “slipped disc” in the back and be unable to walk, with their owners being unable to afford referral for an MRI scan and surgical treatment.”

Owners of such affected dogs, or veterinary surgeons with clients they feel may fall into this category, can contact Paul at Queen’s Veterinary School Hospital on 01223 337621, or by email to .

PetSavers is a part of the BSAVA. Its mission is to fund vital clinical research into the prevention, treatment and/or cure of illnesses and conditions affecting pets, so that companion animals can enjoy longer, fuller and healthier lives.

The PetSavers Clinical Research Project grants are available to qualified veterinary surgeons to enable them to undertake small-scale clinical research in small animals kept as pets, with the ultimate objective to advance understanding of the causes and/or management of a clinical disorder. Projects are selected in the hope that study results will have a rapid and positive impact on the way diseases are diagnosed, managed and treated in general practice as well as at a specialist level. Funding of between £1,000 and £8,000 is available to help support research expenses and consumables.

To find out more about when and how to apply visit

For information on how to become a BSAVA member visit how to become a member