Intra-articular injections: Special care that needs no veterinary specialist

August 7, 2019

The future of treating conditions like osteoarthritis has arrived, and these veterinarians say that you (yes, you) can see it through.

Osteoarthritis in both feline and canine veterinary patients, like many long-term, chronic conditions, is a pain to treat. Especially when your patients are adept at hiding their pain.

No one understands this more than David Dycus, DVM, MS, CCRP, DACVS-SA, orthopedic surgeon, and Matthew Brunke, DVM, DACVSMR, CCRP, CVPP, CVA, rehab, pain and acupuncture specialist at Veterinary Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Group in Annapolis Junction, Maryland.

“Traditionally,” Dr. Dycus says in the video, “the approach was to simply put them on an anti-inflammatory-maybe a pain medication-and that was pretty much what we were stuck with doing.”

But that was back in the day, right? Right. In the video, Dr. Dycus explains that other avenues have now opened to veterinary professionals along with the advancement of medicine and new technologies.

One of those modalities in particular deals with interarticular injections.

“These are helpful,” Dr. Brunke explains in the video, “because we can do targeted treatments to the affected area without getting into systemic influences. So for those patients that may have compromised organs, why not be able to just put the relief where they need it and not put it anywhere else?”

For intra-articular injections, Dr. Brunke says there are both biologic and pharmaceutical options. “So, depending on the severity of the disease,” he says, “and how far we can move forward with different technologies, we can talk about things such as cortisone or hyaluronic acid-or move onto the platelet-rich plasma and even stem cell therapy.”

That's a lot to take in, huh? Even Dr. Dycus agrees that it seems like intense management that requires special consideration-not just something that anyone can do on a daily basis.

“You know, when we all were vet students, we didn't think we'd be able to spay dogs,” Dr. Brunke counters. “But we learned it, and you can start to get into the concept of good jobs doing joint injections under sedation-we have to do them for diagnostic purposes, we can do them for therapeutic purposes.”

Check out the rest of their exchange in the video below.