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Serum Neurofilament Light Chain as a Biomarker in Dogs with Seizures


To measure Neurofilament light chain (NfL), a neuronal structural protein, to help assess seizure control and differentiate seizures from similar appearing neurologic episodes.


Neurofilament light chain (NfL) helps the neurological system function properly by promoting the growth of an important part of neural cells. Measuring NfL after neuronal injury is commonly used in humans to gauge disease severity and the effectiveness of treatment in neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Our study is assessing NfL serum and cerebrospinal fluid concentrations in dogs with seizures. In the future, this measurement may be useful in assessing seizure control and telling seizures apart from similar appearing neurologic episodes.


We are enrolling two groups of dogs, between 1-5 years of age:

  1. Dogs who have experienced a seizure in the last 5 days.
  2. Dogs with well-controlled idiopathic epilepsy. 
    • Dogs in this group should be seizure-free for at least 2 months prior to enrollment.
    • Dogs in this group may be on or off anti-seizure medications at the time of enrollment.

We are also enrolling dogs aged 6 or older who have a sudden onset of focal or generalized seizures. For this group, owners must be willing to pursue a diagnostic MRI at their own expense.


  • Dogs should not have any neurologic signs on their exam unrelated to post-ictal changes

Study Design

After the dog’s owner signs the client consent form, we will collect a small blood sample. Results of the analysis are for research only and are not shared with owners. The blood draw will typically be performed as part of routine clinical care, so we do not anticipate any additional risk or discomfort for enrolled dogs.


The study covers the cost of the exam and blood draw. For dogs in the age 6+ group, the cost of the MRI is part of standard of care work-up for new onset seizures and is not covered by the study. For the other groups, there is no charge for participating in this study.  We hope that the results of the study will help in the diagnosis and treatment of future dogs with seizures.


Dr. Kayla Fowler, Neurology Resident
Phone: 540-231-4621

Mindy Quigley, Clinical Trials Coordinator
Office Phone: 540-231-1363 | Email:

If your query is urgent, please call the Small Animal Hospital on 540-231-4621.

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