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Linda Faris, DVM, CVA
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist
By Linda Faris, DVM, CVA
Rylee was less than a year and a half old when he appeared on my schedule May 21, 2008. Being a large mixed breed dog, Rylee had Collie, German shepherd and Rottweiler blood in his pedigree. X-rays showed misshapen hip joints and he had been diagnosed with hip dysplasia. His regular veterinarian prescribed strong non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, but still he was not able to move without pain. In April he had had an encounter with a wild animal and stressed his rear legs and joints. After the fight he was limping, lost his appetite, and was in severe pain. His condition had deteriorated in the weeks prior to coming to visit my office. He was unable to stand or walk normally after the injury. He was not healing or getting better. When I manipulated his joints during the initial physical examination, I could feel bones grating against each other. One of his hips was nearly dislocated. In spite of being a laid back and gentle dog, he threatened me when I extended his hind legs. His concerned owners described how he would crawl across the room with his forelegs and drag his rear legs to avoid standing and walking. Excruciating pain is debilitating and Rylee was very thin. The muscles of his rear legs were atrophied from lack of exercise and his refusal to stand, walk or run. He was in so much pain that he wouldn’t eat. He was a dog in trouble.
Hip dysplasia is the most common single cause of pelvic joint disease in dogs. It is a hereditary problem that can cause crippling lameness and painful arthritis of the joints. A combination of genetic and environmental factors causes hip dysplasia. Symptoms include stiffness or soreness after rising from rest, reluctance to exercise, bunny-hopping, lameness, pain, reluctance to stand on rear legs, jump up, or climb stairs. Wasting away of the muscle mass in the hip area is frequently a symptom. It is more common to see cases of arthritis and joint pain in older dogs. Very severe cases of hip dysplasia often present in younger animals when they can no longer compensate for their pain and weakness. Treatment for hip dysplasia varies widely. There are many pain medications and nutritional supplements available to help manage these cases. In extreme cases, surgery is recommended. Several surgical techniques can be performed to correct the stress on joints and to relieve pain. The most ideal surgery is a procedure called a total hip replacement. It is an invasive and costly procedure that entails replacing the hip joint with a metal implant. The recovery period after a total hip surgery is several months. Total hip replacement was one option presented to Rylee’s owners by their regular veterinarian. They didn’t want Rylee to go through a difficult surgery and recovery period if there was another option.
Gold bead implants are a non-traditional treatment for severe pain and joint instability. Implants are a type of permanent acupuncture treatment. I learned how to do the implant procedure several years ago at an acupuncture workshop taught by a veterinarian from Norway. The implant procedure is done on an outpatient basis and can provide safe, long-term pain relief. First I inject a local anesthetic agent similar to Novocain, which your dentist uses to numb your mouth for dental work. After a few minutes gold beads are inserted through a large bore hypodermic needle into acupuncture points near the toes. The points used depend on the type of problem we are treating and the meridians that pass through the affected area. We use the Source point on the Liver meridian to treat hip dysplasia. A light pressure bandage is applied and the procedure is over. It is very safe, non-invasive, quick, and costs a fraction of the cost of surgery. There is no post-operative recovery period required after a gold bead implant. The dogs walk out of our office and back to their lives. Once implants are in place, routine treatments we do like acupuncture are more effective and last longer. Often drugs can be given at reduced dosages or completely discontinued. If a surgical procedure needs to be done later, it still can be done. A gold bead implant is a good first treatment option to manage a difficult case.
I’ve seen many amazing things in practice, but few surpass the remarkable results in some of the hip dysplastic dogs following a gold bead implant. Numerous cases have gone on to live normal lives and have not suffered severe debilitation, which is the expected outcome for dogs with hip dysplasia. I suggested we try the implants in an attempt to give Rylee some relief. His people were very motivated to help him and they scheduled the procedure for the very next week. Individual response to treatment varies. Sometimes the effect is immediate and sometimes it is delayed by days or weeks. It took about a week for the owners to see improvement begin for Rylee. He quit crawling across the floor like GI Joe, and started getting up to move around. He began walking more and playing. His appetite improved, along with his endurance and desire to exercise. Rylee came back for regular acupuncture treatments at two week intervals to make sure he continued to improve. He started eating more and gained weight. His prescription drug dosage is at half the pre-implant dosage and he continues to improve. He will have a better life because of a little scrap of gold placed between his toes. Who would have dreamed…..
Not The End
Additional note: Gold bead implants can be effective for many severe, otherwise degenerative conditions, such as wobbler’s disease, degenerative myelopathy, severe spondylosis or "back arthritis", hip dysplasia, elbow or knee arthritis, allergies and epilepsy. In my opinion, it is reasonable to have the gold implant procedure done as a prophylactic measure in large breed dogs prone to hip dysplasia.
In April, Rylee our 16 month old dog,was diagnosed with hip dyplasia. He was having trouble walking, getting up and down, and was in pain. After consulting with our family vet we decided to have Rylee see a holistic vet, Dr. Faris, for alternative treatment for his hip dyplasia. In early June, Rylee had gold bead implants. He has also had acupuncture treatments
and has included herbs in his diet. After a few days we saw a drastic improvement with Rylee's physical activity and his pain. We feel that Rylee has made great gains with the gold bead implants and acupunture treatments. Candy