Osteoarthritis is one of the most common conditions treated in veterinary medicine. Traditionally, a medical approach is used to help alleviate pain associated with this joint disease. The medical approach uses both dietary supplements as well as analgesics (pain medications). Some of the common dietary supplements include: glucosamine chondroitin, microlactin, Perna Canaliculus, omega-3, and others. Common analgesics include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID), steroids, opiates, and synthetic opiates.
Increasingly, owners are becoming more aware of the “over-use” of common analgesics and are open to limiting or eliminating their use through alternative modalities. While diet supplements typically have fewer health risks, analgesic use can be associated with short and long-term side effects, some even life threatening.
Alternative modalities for the treatment of pain include Traditional Chinese veterinary medicine (TCVM), chiropractics, laser, etc. Acupuncture can be used to alleviate pain associated with acute injuries as well as chronic disease processes. This is achieved through the manipulation of the body’s energy or “Qi” (pronounced chi). Physiologically speaking, acupuncture treatments cause the release of beta-endorphins, the body’s natural pain killer.
Kona, an 11 year old dog with arthritis due to hip dysplasia and an injury to the left stifle (cranial cruciate rupture), has been receiving acupuncture treatments as well as Chinese herbal formulas. As a result of her treatments, Kona’s owner has eliminated the use of NSAIDs and greatly reduced the use of Tramadol, a synthetic opiate. While Kona responded well after the initial acupuncture treatment, in some cases 5-6 treatments are required before marked changes are noted. We will keep you posted on Kona’s progress.