Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF) is a viable alternative to drugs for the treatment of pain and inflammation in dogs due to a variety of causes such as arthritis, surgery, and wounds. Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy affects pain perception in many different ways. It affects calcium ion movement, endorphin levels, acupuncture point stimulation, nerve regeneration, circulation, tissue oxygen, and even cellular metabolism. All these affects help reduce inflammation and promote healing.
How does it work? No one really has a definitive answer but there are some good theories and some good scientifically based research pointing to some very likely causes of the success of this treatment. One of the more prominent and most likely reasons for the reduction of pain and inflammation has to do with the calcium ion movement that an electrical field causes in the body. PEMF therapy causes a natural anti-inflammatory process to occur more rapidly. It binds Calcium and in a cascade of events produces Nitric Oxide (NO), a natural anti-inflammatory. NO then continues the natural healing process by reducing pain, improving blood flow, reducing swelling and helps in the production of a molecule called cGMP, a growth factor producer. This growth factor producer helps in the regeneration of blood vessels and tissue growth and remodeling.
In the past the machines that produced the electromagnetic fields were large and very powerful. New research however has suggested that the fields do not have to be so large to produce great healing effects. Also with the advancement of technology now we can produce a good healing PEMF with a very small device powered by simple batteries. One of the devices available for dogs and horses is made by the company ASSISI Animal Health. Assisi makes 2 types of units one for the veterinarian for use in the office and a portable PEMF unit for an owner to bring to the barn and do treatments themselves. Considering that treatments should be given for up to 15 min twice a day for 2 weeks or even longer for dogs suffering with arthritis, the portable units are an excellent choice. The cost is about $250 for a unit which gives 90 15 min treatments which is about $2.75 a treatment and should last about 6 weeks.
One of my clients is currently using them for her dog with severe degeneration in its knee joints. The dog is doing very well with nutritional supplements and using the unit every other day for 15 minutes and no need for pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories, so there is no risk of stomach ulcers or liver damage.
PEMF is a great tool for veterinarians and dog owners in the treatment of pain. Check out Assisi they will send information to your veterinarian for you.