Ally was only 10 months old, yet she walked as though on egg shells, tentatively placing each front leg down and hobbling stiffly on her hind legs. Only the very tip of her tail wagged, almost apologetically for not acting like a young Golden Retriever should. Her big brown eyes pleaded for relief, that even powerful pain medications could only placate for short periods of time. She struggled getting up, and though she longed to run like a puppy she had to abort her efforts after a few awkward tries.
Concerned, her owners had her lameness evaluated and were devastated to learn that she was affected with both severe hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, resulting is the arthritic deterioration of these joints, as well as a shoulder defect. Despite both of her parents and many previous generations being clear of these defects, Ally received the combination of genes that lurk in all dogs, causing these diseases to emerge.
Ally was given a diagnosis stating: "Bilateral grade IV hip dysplasia with degenerative joint disease, bilateral elbow dysplasia and questionable flattening of the right humoral head (shoulder joint) consistent with osteochondrosis dissecans."
Ally was given a treatment plan of: "medical management with daily pain medication, restricted exercise and nutritional supplements. Watch for vomiting or passing black tarry feces (indicative of a stomach ulcer). Once medical management is no longer successful, surgery should be considered. For her hips, options are total hip replacement, denervation (cutting the nerves to the hip joints) with a success rate of 80 - 90 % lasting 2 - 3 years, and modifying her hip joints to form false joints of scar tissue. For her elbows, she can have an exploratory or an arthroscopic approach into the joints to clean them out, with little hope of stopping the progression of arthritis in the elbows."
Today, the flash of gold fur that runs along the trail, is Ally. She prances along with her tail wagging madly, waiting for the next adventure to start.
I will let Ally's owner Jeff tell her story, since her diagnosis: "It has been almost a month since Ally became a 'true golden' Her energy level is still high but we have noticed that since the implant she tends to limp a little the next day after a vigorous walk the day before. After some rest the limping stops and she's fine if we just take her for a good walk on her leash. She never whines or demonstrates any pain"just the limping." in an April 2008 email. From June: "It has been over three months since Ally had the gold implant procedure 'although she limped a little on occasion during the first month or so, we are happy to report that there has been no limping since' although she runs around like a puppy having a good time she shows no signs of any pain or discomfort afterwards. She is exercised at least twice a day, which includes long vigorous walks with some free running' her favorite activity is swimming at the cottage - She seems like a very happy puppy, she gets lots of attention, she is quite well behaved and responds to commands ALMOST all of the time." And lastly, from December: "It has been almost 10 months since Ally had her implants and we still have difficulty believing she is the same dog that we used to watch struggle getting up and walking and running awkwardly. She is a puppy all over again. She loves to swim and retrieve her water kong. As a precaution I don't throw it for her until she is in water up to her belly. She would never jump into or out of my SUV and now does it with ease although I limit this....again as a precaution to reduce impact and strain on her joints. She gets walked at least twice a day and if I let her it would be a run, not a walk. She loves the snow and runs through it and rolls in it having the time of her life. I try to limit her running in the deep snow or, for that matter, any of the above activities for extended periods, again, just as a precaution. When she finally decides to rest she will lay down in one of her favourite spots, but, when it's time to eat, relieve herself or for her next walk, getting up is not a problem and she does it with enthusiasm characteristic of a puppy. She plays with other dogs and chases or gets chased by them. She never whines or shows any sign of pain. For maintenance only, we give her a combo glucosamine & chondroitin pill twice a day. Ally is now the puppy we hoped for and we are
believers in the gold implant process."
What is this 'gold implant procedure' to which Jeff eludes?
The International Veterinary Acupuncture Society describes acupuncture as "an ancient Oriental method of therapy which is used in a wide variety of human and animal disorders. Most simply stated, it is a therapy first developed by the Ancient Chinese that consists of stimulating designated and precise points on the surface of the body by the insertion of fine solid needles. Usually treatment lasts 10 seconds to 30 minutes, depending upon the problem being treated 1-3 times per week for 4-6 weeks. A positive response is often (but not always) noticed within the first 4-6 treatments, sometimes earlier, depending on the condition treated."
In the technique of Gold Bead Acupuncture, implantation of 23-karat gold beads are placed into the 'acupoints'. Gold is used because it is readily available and hypoallergenic. The accepted theory credits the gold beads as maintaining permanent acupuncture stimulation to the surrounding tissues.
The day Ally received her gold bead implants, she was first tranquilized with medetomidine and butorphanol given intravenously. After clipping the fur over her hip and elbow joints, and washing her skin aseptically, she was injected with 23-karat gold 'beads' into several sites (acupuncture points) at each affected joint. Then, her joints were radiographed to ensure proper placement of the beads. Finally, Ally's tranquilizer was reversed and within 5 minutes, she was up and walking (slowly). The full effect of the technique can take several months, as Jeff describes above.
Photos of healthy hips and elbows, arthritic hips and elbows with gold bead implants.
Ally is one of seven dogs in Ontario to benefit, so far, from Gold Bead Acupuncture.
Jewl is a five-year-old German Shepherd/Lab cross who was so weak in her hind legs, she was putting almost 100% of her weight on her front legs as she walked, just barely touching her hind toes to the floor "she has grade 3 hip dysplasia in one hind leg and a torn cruciate (knee) ligament in the other hind leg. In January 2008 she had Gold Bead Implant treatment into her hips. From an email her owner Diane sent the following November: "Over the summer, Jewl was up and down" At times, she would be moving along well and then would re-injure herself by overexerting. As the summer came to an end and we headed into fall, Jewl continues to get better. She is not the same dog you treated last January. The Gold Bead Treatment gave Jewl quality of life back. She is a new dog again with lots of energy, sometimes too much energy but I would not change that back to where she was before in pain and lethargic not herself at all. I am very pleased with the results of the Gold Bead, it is like a miracle. I would highly recommend your procedure"thanks again for giving Jewl a second chance!!"
Emily is an 8 ½ year old German Shepherd who was diagnosed in 2006 with severe elbow arthritis maintained on pain medication for over a year, until she became so uncomfortable, she started snapping at the other pets. She received gold bead implants in her elbows (photo above) in February, with an immediate response such that she needed no further pain medication, at all! However, three months later Emily became lame in her hind legs, which pain medication could not placate, whereupon she was diagnosed with grade 3/4 hip dysplasia and its resultant arthritis. She had a second gold bead implant procedure, into her hips (photo above) and has not needed another pain pill since!
Merlin is back in the show ring, enjoying competition with a long flowing gait, within months of his gold bead implant. Buster can go up the stairs again, in comfort, and despite being a large, nine-year-old Labrador, plays like a puppy. Two other gold bead implants were done in December of 2008, so it is too soon to tell the end of their stories yet.
In areas of Germany, where this procedure is better known-several thousand dogs and a few horses have benefited--the Humane Society makes good use of Gold Bead Acupuncture. Because their funds need to be accounted for and used most effectively, and because their mandate is for the benefit of animals, Gold Bead Acupuncture has proven to be superior in both cost and success to surgical repair and pain medications.
Gold Bead Acupuncture is applied to chronic conditions such as arthritis of the hip(s), with a success rate of about 95%, and arthritis of the shoulder, elbow and knee, with a 90 %success
rate. It can also be used as a preventive measure in malformed (dysplastic) joints before they become arthritic. In those very rare cases where the desired result is not achieved the gold beads will not hinder any further treatment--naturopathic, medical or surgical.
Interestingly, due to its success in Veterinary Medicine, in Denmark research being done on the treatment of knee osteoarthritis is humans with Gold Bead Acupuncture, with promising results!
In conventional treatment of arthritic joints, the cure rate is abysmally low. Medication can relieve pain but often involves unwanted side-effects, and ideally should not be used long-term. Surgery may
be an option for a young dog, however there is a risk of complete failure, and its expense excludes many animals.
Further information on this alternative treatment for arthritis is available on the world-wide-web.
...Read about the scientific basis for the success or failure of gold bead implant for hip dysplasia and other arthritic conditions. This article is unique by giving the science behind gold bead implantation.