Seventy-eight dogs with pain due to hip dysplasia were studied in a controlled, double-blind clinical trial to evaluate gold bead implantation as a pain-relieving treatment. The dogs were randomly assigned to two groups, 36 in the gold implantation group and 42 in the placebo group. Both groups were treated equally regarding anaesthesia, hair clipping and penetration of the skin with the same type of needle. The gold implantation group had small pieces of 24 carat gold inserted through needles at five different acupuncture points and the placebo group had the skin penetrated at five non-acupuncture points so as to avoid any possible effect of stimulating the acupuncture points. A certified veterinary acupuncturist marked the points, and two surgeons performed the implantations according to a randomisation code made in advance. After 14 days, three months and six months, the owners assessed the overall effect of the treatments by answering a questionnaire, and the same veterinarian examined each dog and evaluated its degree of lameness by examining videotaped footage of it walking and trotting. The treatment was blinded for both the owners and the veterinarian. There were significantly greater improvements in mobility and greater reductions in the signs of pain in the dogs treated with gold implantation than in the placebo group. The veterinarian’s and the owners’ assessments corresponded well.
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