The Pet Tribune
Gold Bead Implants
Gold bead implants are an extension of acupuncture procedure. They provide acupuncture and long-term stimulation of acupuncture points on permanent basis. The beads, which are smaller in diameter then 1/16", are implanted at various sites subcutaneously or in the muscle bellies. These sites of implantation are acupuncture points and, in some cases, reactive points which merit the implant. The implant procedure was developed in the 1970s. The first implants performed in the Unites States were done by Dr. Grady Young, and have since been modified and tested by Dr. Terry Durkes. The procedure involves the implantation of either gold beads or 24kt. Gold wire into specified areas by using a 14-gauge 11/2" needle and a 3ml. Syringe (in the case of the gold beads). The procedures are performed under general anesthesia after the patient has been clipped and the area surgically scrubbed and prepared. The decision to use gold wire or gold beads is simply one of cost, gold wire being a more expensive proposition. At this facility we use magrain gold beads, which are very small gold-plated magnets with a very low magnetic charge. Since implantation is with a needle and syringe now sutures are placed at these sites. The uses which merit implants are many but the two most common are (1) degenerative joint disease (e.g., arthritis, hip dysplasia) and (2) seizures (e.g., epilepsy). It is important to note that age at implantation does affect the success rate of the procedure (especially with degenerative joint disease). The younger the patient and the earlier after diagnosis that the implants are done, the better the success rate. Seizures, which from a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) point of view can be due to an excess condition, have been shown to respond well to gold bead implants. According to Terry Durkes, D.V.M., approximately 60% of epileptic pets are cured. They no longer have seizures and will no longer need Phenobarbital. If on potassium bromide (KBr), they will have to continue its use. Another 20% will no longer have seizures, but they are required to take Phenobarbital at a reduced dose. The final 20% will continue to have seizures, in some cases fewer and of reduced severity, and some, of course, will not be helped at all. Gold beading in an important treatment modality for seizure control since not many treatment options are available from which owners can choose for this disease. Other conditions which may benefit from the use of gold beads are (1) chronic cruciate injury, (2) certain types of paralysis, (3) Cauda equina, (4) wrist and elbow paralysis, (5) intervetebral disk disease, (6) spondylosis, (7) traumatic never injury (e.g. brachial plexus injury), (8) allergic dermatitis (9) asthma and (10) incontinence. Thorough workups are essential when opting to treat your pet with gold bead implants. Full blood panels, neurological exams (for seizures), urinalysis, radiographs and sometimes cat scans, CSF exams and MRIs are advisable to rule out other problems that may obscure the diagnosis. It is of paramount importance to keep all channels of communication open with your regular veterinarian so everyone can be informed on the treatment and progress of your pet. Gold bead implants should be performed by someone with advanced training and certification in Veterinary Acupuncture and experience with implant procedures. Questions relating to the theory and basis for gold bead implants can be addressed to me. Dr. Robert Ferran, a holistic veterinary practitioner in South Miami, has been in practice for 18 years. He is certified in veterinary acupuncture and also graduated as an acupuncture physician. Most of his practice is dedicated to the art of acupuncture and related applications, such as gold bead implants, sport-related injury, rehabilitative acupuncture and laser acupuncture. His practice is located at 8271 South Dixie Hwy., Miami, FL 33134, tel: (305) 662-4202, fax: (305) 662-7973, www.naturalpetdoc.com.