Gold treatment relieves pain in dogs

Jun 26, 2009
Gold treatment relieves pain
Photo: crestock

Many animals and people experience chronic joint pain. In dogs, a common source of joint pain is hip dysplasia, a developmental defect of the hip joint. Implantation of gold into the soft tissues around the hip joints of dogs with dysplasia can relieve pain and lessen stiffness for several years.

Joint pain in animals and man may be due to injury, wear or deformity. Hip dysplasia of dogs is a congenital defect that makes itself known during the growth phase, leading to varying degrees of pain and loss of function as the dogs age. Dog owners will as a rule notice that their dogs are reluctant to jump, that they lag behind on longer walks, or that they are stiff and sore when standing after resting. Some dogs also become lame after longer walks.

Early in the 1970's, an American veterinary surgeon and acupuncturist described a form of pain relief in dogs that involved implanting small grains of pure gold into acupuncture points round painful joints in dogs. The theory behind the treatment was that the gold grains implanted into the acupuncture points would provide chronic stimulation of the points.

The method has been used both on dogs and people in the USA and Europe, although no scientific documentation of the pain-relieving affect of gold-implants existed. Gry Tove Jæger has in her doctorate investigated whether grains of metallic gold implanted around painful joints could reduce pain and improve function in patients, using dogs as a model.

Dogs with hip dysplasia as an experimental model

Family dogs with pain and loss of function due to hip dysplasia were chosen as experimental animals. The dogs were divided randomly into two groups, one of which received gold transplants, while the other acted as control. Neither the owner nor the veterinarian assessing the affect of the gold treatment knew which group an individual dog belonged to. This is called double-blind experimentation. The study was designed to provide an answer to whether gold implantation had an effect or not, and any possible acupuncture effect was not considered.

After six months the effect of the treatment was considered. Statistically-significant differences were shown to exist between the two groups. The dogs with implanted gold had less pain and loss of function compared to those that had not received gold. As was expected, the dogs in the control group also improved, but the effect was greater in those that had received gold.

The dogs were followed for a further year and a half. After two years, 80% of the dogs still showed a positive effect of treatment. The hip dysplasia had not improved, and many showed in fact an increased degree of calcification round the affected joints, but they lived better after the gold treatment. An inflammatory response was shown to have developed around the grains of gold, which may possibly explain in part the pain-relieving effect.

Implantation of gold is an effective treatment for chronic degenerative joint disease and the method has few serious side-effects. This study could not uncover if part of the effect was due to acupuncture, to the lying in the soft tissue, or to a combination of the two.

Cand. med. vet. Gry Jæger defended her Ph. D. thesis, entitled "The effect of bead implantation in a dog model with chronic joint arthritis - a method of pain control", at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, on May 29, 2009.

Provided by Norwegian School of Veterinary Science (news : web)

Explore further: Alabama man claims penis mistakenly amputated

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Modelling virtual dogs: It's a walk in the park!

Apr 04, 2006

Dog walking is a national pastime, but how does your dog walk? Different breeds have different gaits, for example greyhounds tend to be thin and fast whilst labradors are thicker set and tend to waddle.

Dog 'laugh' silences other dogs

Dec 05, 2005

Washington state researchers report discovering what might be the sound of dog laughter. The scientists say the long, loud pant they recorded has a calming or soothing effect on the behavior of other dogs, ABC News reported.

Computer savvy canines

Nov 28, 2007

Like us, our canine friends are able to form abstract concepts. Friederike Range and colleagues from the University of Vienna in Austria have shown for the first time that dogs can classify complex color photographs and ...

Penn State studies storm-phobic canines

Dec 15, 2005

Penn State University researchers have determined pet owners can't resolve storm phobia in their dogs, but having a multi-dog home may reduce stress.

Recommended for you

User comments : 6

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

douglas2
not rated yet Jun 26, 2009
I like my labrador retriever, but do not consider them a GODS
mongander
not rated yet Jun 26, 2009
Another report from Dyslexic Science.
ArtflDgr
not rated yet Jun 26, 2009
in gods?
Fazer
not rated yet Jun 26, 2009
oops, they let the truth slip out. all this time the real gods have been pooping in our back yards and chewing rawhide bones while they relax beside our lazy-boys, hiding their true identities with a clever mispelling of their names.

they have been biding their time, watching us watch television as we consume mass quantities of pizza, chips and beer...as we belch, fart and commit other gross indecencies before their gaze in our horribly mistaken faith in our own privacy.

now that the truth of their identity (and their pain) has been revealed to us, the Day of Judgement will soon be upon us...
Bob_Kob
not rated yet Jun 27, 2009
ahahahaha what the hell~ dyslexic science FTW, gods != dogs.
Fazer
not rated yet Jun 27, 2009
Awwww, they fixed the typo.