Alternatives to NSAIDs Attract Interest in Veterinary Field

A labrador retriever is shown on a PST machine, which can fold-up to conserve space. Photo provided by PST.

Pulsed Signal Therapy (PST™), a rehabilitation procedure for musculoskeletal disorders, has been used effectively as an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) on at least 200 dogs with joint disorders at TOPS Veterinary Rehabilitation in Illinois. Laurie McCauley, DVM, owner of TOPS, presented new research on PST and other alternatives to NSAIDs at the AVMA conference in July.

The procedure, which restores the body’s regeneration of tissue processes, has been used on human patients since 1992 and animals since 1994, and has a myriad of musculoskeletal applications. It is offered as a treatment option at 50 animal clinics worldwide (750 human) with no known side effects, said Richard Markoll, MD, PhD, scientific director of the Institute for Innovative Medicine in Germany and PST inventor.

PST machines, which cost between $12,000 and $30,000, aim a unidirectional electromagnetic current at 13 inches of a dog’s body, encompassing hips, knees and hocks simultaneously, McCauley explained.

“It stimulates the body’s natural magnetic field, regenerating healthy tissue, increasing mitosis and [production] of collagen and proteoglycan,” McCauley added. Because the treatment stimulates growth of tissues, PST is contraindicated in dogs with active cancer tumors.

Once a veterinarian rules out broken bones or the need for surgery, and prescribes PST, dogs undergo nine, 30-minute treatment sessions with the machine. It is activated by cards that contain microchips and cost $150. At TOPS, clients can use the machine independently of veterinary staff or, in some cases, rent machines for home use, McCauley said. She charges $560 for nine treatments, and has had several patients referred from radiologists and veterinarians who are eager for treatment options.

McCauley has treated dogs that could not stand before PST that now run and jump. Last month she completed research with seven rehabilitation centers that used PST on older dogs with chronic, degenerative musculoskeletal disease. “We saw a decrease in pain during treatment and a change in the range of motion afterwards,” McCauley said.

Markoll believes that with education, general practitioners will use PST, and compared its use by veterinarians to the diagnosis of osteoporosis in the 1950s. “In those days osteoporosis was only treated by endocrinologists. Today every general practitioner treats it because we understand it better. It’s the same thing with musculoskeletal [cases]. You don’t need an orthopedic surgeon to handle most problems.”

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