Researchers at Kansas State University are devoting their time to the study of improvements in pain management and the treatment of osteoarthritis in dogs. (For more information on pain management, see my June 2012 blog)
The projects are led by James Roush, a professor of clinical sciences.
In one study, the research team determined that the maximum effective time for using hot and cold packs for pain management is 10 minutes. The researchers studied how packing affects tissue temperature in beagles and beagle-sized dogs after surgery because hot and cold packing is a common technique for reducing swelling. After 10 minutes, the maximum change in tissue temperature has been reached.
In another study, a special mat is being used to study lameness in dogs suffering from osteoarthritis. When dogs step on the mat, it measures the pressure in their step and the study team can determine in which leg the lameness is worse.
“We’ve designed the study to help improve osteoarthritis treatment,” Roush said. “We will also use it to measure clinical patients when they come in for regular checkups. We can measure their recovery and a variety of other aspects: how they respond to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, how they respond to narcotics or how they respond to a surgical procedure that is designed to take that pressure off the joint.”
And in a third study, Roush is collaborating with researchers to study the effectiveness of a painkiller used to treat dogs to identify potential alternatives.
“To achieve the drug’s effect, the dosage in dogs is much higher than in people,” Roush said. “It also may not be a very good analgesic in dogs. We want to see if there is an alternative that requires smaller doses and does not have not as much of a discrepancy for patients.”