Pain Management & Integrative Medicine
Veterinary acupuncture is an ancient technique of placing needles into special points, called acupoints, in order to affect the flow of qi (pronounced “chee”). Traditional Chinese Medicine describes qi as energy in the body. Qi flows along channels, or meridians, similarly to how a car moves along a winding highway. By western definition, the patient benefits from needle placement along these meridians through stimulation of certain local biochemical substances that can control pain and inflammation, improve circulation, and stimulate the immune system. Acupuncture is used to improve pain control in patients suffering from degenerative joint disease, such as arthritis. This technique can also be used to improve strength, comfort, and neurological function with intervertebral disc disease, control of nausea or vomiting associated with cancer or illness, stimulation of appetite, increased level of energy or awareness, management of behavioral conditions, and control of other symptoms such as incontinence or weakness. If you are interested in making an appointment with Dr. Heather Troyer, board certified generalist and certified acupuncturist, please call 201-262-0010. Her goal is to improve the quality of life in pets through integration of both conventional and holistic medical options.
Link to hear Dr. Troyer’s discussion on pain management. “Your Pet Matters” talk radio show, Ryder University, NJ.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
PRP Therapy is performed by injection and is used to treat dogs with osteoarthritis.
- PRP is a form of Regenerative Therapy, which also includes stem cell therapy, autologous protein solution, autologous conditioned serum, and autologous conditioned plasma
- PRP is a blood product that would be produced from blood drawn from the dog and injected back into the dog’s joint. It is not validated for cats (yet).
- Platelets contain growth factors that promote healing through stimulation of vascular endothelial cells, fibroblasts, promote cellular proliferation, and promote extracellular matrix formation which helps build a scaffold for cartilage and synovial fluid within the joint
- PRP products are not all the same; we chose the Companion Regenerative System because of it’s low RBC and neutrophil count in the final product (both of which are pro-inflammatory within a joint) and easy-to-use system
- PRP does NOT re-grow a healthy joint. PRP modulates the pain pathway within the joint, helps with some healing, and makes the joint healthier
There is no “magic bullet” for osteoarthritis and PRP does NOT take the place of multi-modal therapy. However, it is proving to be a viable solution for dogs who suffer from chronic degenerative joint disease.
Who can benefit from PRP?
- Any dog with CONFIRMED osteoarthritis (must have radiographs and clinical signs)
- A dog who is NSAID or other pain med-intolerant
- End-stage arthritis where new options would be valuable
- PRP works well with laser (activates cells which are trying to respond to the PRP), acupuncture and PT, as well as pharmaceuticals
Benefits of PRP:
- it can be very useful for dogs who have one gnarly joint (especially elbows), or multi-focal disease that is not responding to other forms of therapy
- Rare side effects other than sedation at the time of harvesting (1/10 may have an inflammatory “flair” in the immediate post-procedural period)
- Holistic, non-pharmaceutical approach to pain management
Pain Management & Integrative Medicine
Many animals are masters of disguise and you may not know your pet is experiencing pain until a trip to your veterinarian. While animals are unable to verbally communicate how they feel on a human level, there are specific behaviors that tend to indicate pain and help us assess it.
At Oradell Animal Hospital, our veterinarians take an active role in treating many problematic conditions and the pain associated with them. Animals that are in need of pain management may benefit from additional medications or supplements, appropriate exercise and/or the possibility of minimally invasive therapeutic procedures.
Common Pain-Induced Behaviors
- Abnormal or hunched posture
- Behavioral changes
- Crying, whining or vocalizing
- Excessive panting
- Hypersalivating (drooling)
- Not grooming regularly
- Reluctant to eat, loss of appetite
- Shaking or trembling