Treating an Arthritic Patient with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)

Tully is a 9-year old Labrador Retriever and our first official HBOT patient. He is also the “best bud” of Dr. Hitt, our AVIM&O Medical Director and the lead on introducing Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to our facility in Annapolis. Tully was born with bilateral elbow dysplasia, a condition in which both elbows develop abnormally, resulting in pain and lameness. He underwent arthroscopic surgery for both elbows via CVSS, our surgery group, when he was just 7 months old. While these surgeries improved Tully’s comfort level for the next 7 years, progressive chronic osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia eventually began to set in.

To reduce the discomfort associated with these conditions, Tully started receiving higher doses of gabapentin, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, and several supplements to increase mobility in his joints. Until just a couple of months ago, Tully seemed to be doing well. However, since December, he has required an increase in his medications in order to stay comfortable—even with reduced activity.

Thus, Tully was chosen to be the first patient in our new SeChrist HBOT unit. He has already spent two sequential, 1-hour treatments in the chamber and will now undergo treatment once a week, and then twice a month. After his first treatment, it appeared that Tully seemed more willing to run around with his housemate. Time will tell if HBOT is truly improving his situation, but we are hopeful.

 

HBOT has a variety of uses, helping patients that have experienced:

  • Smoke inhalation
  • Near drowning
  • Toxic snake or spider bites
  • Prolonged wound healing
  • Non-responding infections

There are other diseases that may also benefit from HBOT, but clinical evidence of these benefits is still unclear. We’re constantly learning and working to expand our skill set with HBOT, and we look forward to using it for the benefit of many future patients.