Many interventions have been shown to improve outcome after experimental spinal cord injury in laboratory animals. The challenge now is to determine whether any of these can be translated to become an efficacious therapy for clinical lesions – a process that is often difficult and frequently fails. Here, we discuss the steps that are required to make this transition and the need for rigorous clinical trials. A key component is an outcome measure that is amenable to statistical analysis; we describe methods that we have developed to accurately measure function after spinal cord injury in dogs. The general methodology may have parallels in the development of veterinary models to test putative therapies for other diseases of humans and animals.
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Provenance commissioned; externally peer reviewed