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Gold Implantation Acupuncture for Arthritis


Gold injections have long been used in human medicine to alleviate arthritis. In an acupuncture application of gold it is implanted in the form of short pieces of pure (24ct) gold wire or alloy beads coated with pure gold. In the tissues gold is very stable but small amounts of Aurocyanide (Au(CN)2-) are released and bind to inflammatory cells and inhibit their function. The small pieces of wire or beads also act to inhibit pain and increase local blood circulation in the same way that acupuncture needles do. The combined affect is to alleviate pain which is associated with arthritis, increase local blood circulation and secondarily enable the animal to use its joints and body in a better way, resulting in enhanced joint and body health.


Gold implantation acupuncture was first used by veterinarians to treat hip arthritis in the early 1970’s (Drs Grady Young and Terry Durkes in the USA). Dr Durkes is still treating dogs with gold beads and has successfully treated a long list of conditions this way (see www.himmlisch.com/goldbeads.htm). Dr Erhard Schulze of Germany is also one of the world leaders in this form of arthritic treatment for animals and has treated in excess of 4000 dogs with a reported success rate of 95% for young dogs and around 70% for old dogs (good or very good control of arthritic pain).

Local Experience

Dr Ian Bidstrup has used gold bead and gold wire implantation for hip, stifle and back arthritis since 1994. In the last 10 years he has also treated elbow and hock arthritis this way. The results with stifle and hip arthritis have been good to very good in 90% of cases of younger dogs and around 70% in aged dogs. Elbow and hock arthritis is harder to treat but recent advances in technique have improved the results for elbows at least to good or very good in 80% of young dog cases.

How is the implantation done?

The process of gold implantation involves surgical preparation of the skin (clipping of the hair around the acupuncture point and sterilisation of the skin). Acupuncture needles are then inserted so the point of the needle is where the gold is to be deposited. The gold wire or gold beads are then implanted at the position corresponding to the tip of the acupuncture needle using a large bore hypodermic (hollow) needle. If only one or two points are to be implanted the procedure is usually done with the patient sedated and with the area of implantation numbed with local anaesthetic. If numerous points are being implanted my patients are put under a gaseous anaesthetic so they are fully unconscious for the procedure.

What can you expect after having your dog implanted?

Once the joint has been implanted with gold there is usually a gradual increase in joint comfort, normally first seen as a noticeable reduction in lameness after the first three weeks. The appetite and demeanour of the patients also appear to improve. Further improvement in lameness is usually seen over a period of 5 months, although some dogs are their best after as long as two years, with not only more comfortable joints but overall stronger bodies. Chronic shortness of stride resulting from bony arthritis may not change but usually the symptoms of arthritic pain diminish well.

Further information on gold implantation can be found on the world wide web. A good site to start with is www.goldimplantation.dk/web/gbarb.htm