Use of low dose radiation for the treatment of pain associated with chronic
arthritis in the canine elbow
Patients that Qualify
Dogs with chronic osteoarthritis of the elbow
joint which have not responded to prior treatments.
Purpose of the Study
Upwards of 20% of dogs suffer from arthritis and
despite greater surgical and pharmaceutical options available many dogs
still live with chronic pain that decreases their quality of life. This
study is designed to determine whether or not low dose radiation therapy
delivered to arthritic elbow joints in dogs has a beneficial effect.
Radiation therapy has been used to treat arthritic conditions in humans
in Europe for over 70 years, and intermittently has been used in dogs as
well. The exact mechanism of how radiation benefits patients with
arthritis is unknown but experimental studies show a decrease in
inflammation in the joint after radiation is given. We propose
that use of a simple radiation protocol (3 fractions of 2 Gy in 6 days)
will decrease joint pain in dogs with chronic arthritis.
Patient Entry Criteria
Dogs will be considered candidates for
this study if they have a diagnosis of elbow arthritis in one or both
elbows, and a noticeable gait abnormality due to the elbow arthritis,
with minimal problems in other joints. They should be greater than 4
years of age but exceptions may be made. Dogs must be able to
undergo anesthesia (inhaled anesthetic Desflurane) for radiation therapy
and be willing to take part in force plate examinations. Force plate
examinations require walking across a metal plate positioned level with
the floor for a minimum of 5 measurable steps on the plate. Dogs
will not be excluded if they are receiving other types of therapies but
therapies must be continued throughout the study or discontinued for one
week before starting. Dogs will be excluded for concurrent disease that
that would make life expectancy beyond 6 months unlikely.
Owners will be financially responsible for cost
leading up to the diagnosis of elbow arthritis (exams, radiographs).
Once a dog is enrolled in the study it is important that all treatments
be given on a set schedule allowing for 3 treatments evenly spaced in a
6 day period. Force plate session must also occur on schedule with
the first being given any time prior to the first radiation treatment,
then at the third treatment and then 3 weeks and 6 weeks after finishing
treatment (minimum of 5 trips to WSU). Owners will be required to fill
out a “Canine Brief Pain Score” questionnaire to evaluate the dog’s
lameness at home prior to starting therapy and then each time the dog
returns for force plate analysis.
Therapy is done at no cost to owner.
Blood work and urinalysis will be paid for by the study if these have
not already been done. Treatment, lab work and rechecks would cost
approximately would cost approximately $800 if not supported by the
If interested please contact Paula Bielenberg or Kelly Hughes (firstname.lastname@example.org)
at the WSU VTH 335-0711.