Questions about Prolotherapy

1. Does prolotherapy treat only back pain?

No, prolotherapy treats pain from arthritis of almost any joint in the body. It also helps healing of ligaments and tendons and can be used for cruciate tears, other ligament injury, elbow and shoulder arthritis or injury, hip injuries etc.

2. Can prolotherapy be done without sedation?

Yes, depending on the level of pain and the pain threshold of your dog or cat. I assess how painful each patient is. In the more stoic patient or in one with less severe injuries or pain, I am able to perform prolotherapy without sedation. However, I find 90% of my patients do need sedation to keep them immobile so I can be more precise in my palpation and injection.

3. My dog is older and I am not sure I want her sedated. What can I do?

The sedation is mild and is only done for a very short period of time, anywhere from 10-20 minutes. As soon as the procedure is compete, I actually reverse the sedation so your pet is awake within a few minutes. During the procedure, the patient is continuously monitored by my Registered Veterinary Technician so I am aware of her vitals like heart rate, temperature and respiratory rate. I can reverse the sedation at any point. As well, if my patient is geriatric and has a history of cardiac, I would prefer to attempt the procedure without sedation.

4. Why is it important to have x-rays done prior to performing prolotherapy?

I strongly advise X-rays prior to any prolotherapy or acupuncture treatment as we need to know what we are treating. For example a painful knee can be from any injury from a ligament tear to a fracture to possibly even a tumour.

5. I have heard that some patients need as many as 10 treatments. I do not think I can spend several thousand dollars on so many treatments.

In veterinary medicine, we have needed anywhere between 1-4 treatments for a successful outcome based on the patient. I have not seen a case that needed more than 3-4 treatments. Therefore, the chances of you spending several thousand dollars are slim. Besides, if I do not see an adequate response by the second treatment, I do not continue following that course. I try an alternative procedure that works and produces results.

6. If my dog needs more than one treatment, how often are these treatments done?

I space out the treatments over 4-6 week intervals. I usually prefer to wait and watch to evaluate the response before performing the next round of prolotherapy.

7. How do you know if a second round of prolotherapy is required?

If the patient is completely pain-free and starts walking and running without any lameness, I do not perform a second round of treatment.

8. If I try prolotherapy and after the first round, the results are unsatisfactory, would this interfere with my decision to go ahead with surgery?

Prolotherapy is very forgiving. It does not cause any harm or damage to tissues and joints. So if the results are unsatisfactory, you can still go ahead with surgery.

9. Is prolotherapy good for full cruciate tears ?

For a full thickness cruciate tear, I still recommend surgery as the first line of treatment. However, if financial constraints play a role and you are unable to go ahead with surgery, I am still willing to try prolotherapy on your dog.

10. Why is weight control important even after prolotherapy for arthritis or cruciate tears?

Even after a patient has shown good mobility after prolotherapy, weight control is important because the hips and especially the knees are under more mechanical stress in bearing the weight of the body and  places a lot of pressure on these joints. Overweight dogs tend to have more problems with arthritis or ligament tears.

11. Why is it important that my dog not have any anti-inflammatory medications 1 week prior to and 2 weeks following prolotherapy?

This is because with prolotherapy we want increased blood flow and circulation in the affected area so the body’s own cells come in through the blood to heal these areas. Anti-inflammatories actually decrease blood flow in these areas.

12. Should I completely restrict movement after prolotherapy and for how long?

It is not recommended that you completely restrict movement after prolotherapy. This is because we want to keep the blood circulation going in these areas. However, certain activities that could lead to further injuries should be avoided like jumping on and off furniture or use of stairs.

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