Pets: Hyperbaric oxygen therapy showing promise in veterinary medicine
Flickr photo by yukari*
Much of that progress has come from experience in human medicine, and when situations arise where traditional treatment isn't working, researchers and clinicians have decided to think outside the box a bit.
There has been some controversy about using some approaches to achieving wellness in humans and then using it on animals -— like acupuncture, pulsed signal therapy and massage — but as many of you know first hand, these modalities have been used with great success.
Another area of veterinary medicine is getting some attention lately, and one vet school is demonstrating that, despite its unusual nature, it's proving to be beneficial.
Doctors at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine have recently used a hyperbaric chamber on dogs, cats, ferrets and other animals to address situations like snakebites, injuries from being hit by a car and wounds that won't heal.
Oxygen chambers are showing promise in reducing swelling and speeding up the healing process. In fact, as one veterinary professor tells it, the school will start clinical trials soon to see how effective using hyperbaric therapy can be, if at all.
“Any place we have swelling of tissue, we oftentimes are thinking about the hyperbaric chamber as something we could do to decrease that,” says Justin Shmalberg, DVM, and Clinical Assistant Professor of Integrative Medicine at UF.
Although this treatment isn't widely used in private offices, it's starting to catch on.
A small number of clinicians have incorporated hyperbaric treatment in their practices for their most critical cases.
“I find that it’s really very effective for any kind of trauma,” notes Dr. Andrew Turkell, a veterinarian in Boca Raton, Fla.
The cost for a lot of pet owners seems to be manageable: for example, a treatment session at UF runs about $125.
Using the chambers doesn't come without its dangers. Since 100 percent oxygen — which is very combustible — is being used, pets need to be patted down with water to mitigate any static electricity before entering the chamber.
Click here to read more about the topic on the Washington Post.