Mizzou lab helps veterinarians treat joint pain in dogs

COLUMBIA, MO (KPLR) – New technology at the University of Missouri is helping veterinarians study how to keep man’s best friend pain free.

Six-year-old Maeby has arthritis in both ankles and is one of the first patients at the new motion analysis lab at Mizzou.

“Millions and millions of dogs in the US suffer from some sort of arthritis in their joints and that number is increasing,” Dr. Bryan Torres said.

The lab, which opened in January, helps veterinarians see how well a therapy or surgery is working to relieve joint pain.

Torres said when the animal comes in with an injury doctors can monitor where they are at that time, prescribe a surgery or therapy and then reanalyze their movement.

“We are able to take a look and say, have we made an improvement, have things changed, do we need to alter what we are doing to get the best result from that patient,” Torres said.

Torres starts monitoring his patients by sticking markers on them. These show him how the limbs and joints are moving. Then he has the dog walk across force plates which show how they are baring their weight

“We have the ability to look at how much weight they are baring on their legs and how their limbs and joints are moving in space all in real time,” he said.

Torres said the information they get from this new technology can help vets everywhere come up with better treatment plans for an animal in pain.

Based on Maeby’s tests throughout the months Torres can see that her arthritis hasn`t changed so he will need to schedule her for surgery.

This is the only lab like this in Missouri. Torres said the cost of this can vary depending on the situation but it is usually in line with other diagnostic visits.

To get more information about getting your pet in the program click here.