Life for Miro, a 5-year-old German shepherd, has been what his owner describes as an “emotional roller coaster” over the past two years. Several peaks and valleys have dotted his metaphorical landscape as he has gone from premiere fitness to dealing with injuries and disease. But a clinical trial at the UC Davis veterinary hospital may have put him back on a positive track.

Working as a patrol dog with his handler/owner Martin Gilbertson, a ranger with California State Parks, Miro spent three years performing duties that required him to be at the top of his game. In early 2019, he was just that, having won the top dog award for his department.

By that summer, however, things started declining for Miro. He was diagnosed with lumbosacral intervertebral disc disease that caused spinal cord compression. UC Davis veterinary neurosurgeons performed a surgical decompression, and Miro…

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