Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) has been used on humans for years, and now this amazing science is looking to be applied for healing dogs, too.
While scientists in Vienna are working on cancer treatment for dogs, Americans are promoting new ways of treating those injuries of their pets that used to be impossible to fix. When used, Hyperbaric medicine treatment, or HBOT, raises the oxygen level in the blood and promotes healing by allowing the oxygen to diffuse into the tissue three to four times deeper than normal. Typical treatments last for about an hour and are given one to two times a day.
The HBOT for dogs treatment has been proven to positively affect not only our canines but most pets and animals in general with so far no reported side effects.
In order to undergo Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, the dog is placed in a hyperbaric chamber where he or she breathes a 100% oxygen between 1.5 to 3 times the normal atmospheric pressure. The number of required treatments is different for each specific case and it varies depending on the way they respond to the treatments and how severe the injury is.
Being locked in the chamber has not seemed to affect any of the animals that have been treated so far, but if your dog has anxiety issues, it can possibly make them nervous to be confined in a strange place. Dr. Gary Richter, the medical director of the Holistic Veterinary Care and Rehabilitation Center in Oakland, California and HBOT specialist, reports that animals tend to just go to sleep while undergoing treatment.
“As far as the animal’s concerned, nothing’s happening,” says Dr. Richter.
One of the more recent trials done in California was performed on a small dog that had gotten a string wrapped tightly around his paw. Because of the dog’s fur, the owner did not notice the string until it had completely cut off circulation to the paw. By that time the skin and tissue of the paw had become completely cut off from the blood supply.
Since the injury was so severe, during the initial assessment by the veterinarian amputation was recommended as the only choice, but the owner insisted on trying to save his pal’s paw. The pet was then taken for HBOT treatment, which fully restored canine’s paw.
Dr. Gary Richter is also a veterinarian who performed the said HBOT treatment on the dog in the above example, and he has been using Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in his practice for years.
“When there’s inflammation, damaged tissues or injury, lack of oxygen is very commonly the limiting factor. By increasing the amount of oxygen delivered to tissues, we are stimulating these patients’ own healing abilities—immune systems, stem cells—to begin the healing process where other types of conventional medicine might not be able to achieve that goal,” said Dr. Richter.
Although there have been no proven side effects, Dr. Richter has stated that it is extremely important to choose candidates appropriately for HBOT.
We must remember that dogs and all pets in general have certain types of seizures or respiratory problems that need to be closely examined before they can undergo this still unusual treatment. And even though it has been approved for a large number of different uses in humans, there is still an absence of clinical trial studies and information to support all the positive claims of HBOT in animals.
Nevertheless, based on its success in humans and the positive results so far with dogs and other pets, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy has shown that it could have great potential as a valuable tool in veterinary medicine, and hopefully we’ll see more research studies on this in the future.
- Patrick M. Tibbles, M.D., and John S. Edelsberg, M.D., M.P.H. Review Article: Hyperbaric-Oxygen Therapy. N Engl J Med 1996; 334:1642-1648. DOI: 10.1056/NEJM199606203342506