Winter weather can be tough on senior pets suffering arthritis or other inflammatory conditions. Pain mitigation strategies include traditional medication, supplementation and environmental enhancements such as warming beds, cold-weather apparel, and paw-protection. One area of increasing interest to pet parents is LDN therapy for pain and inflammation management.
“While we can’t turn back time, there are many ways you can give your cat or dog the gift of a more comfortable winter, and LDN is a promising part of that strategy,” said Dr. Laurie Brush, founder of Heaven at Home Pet Hospice.
What is LDN Therapy?
LDN stands for Low Dose Naltrexone and is a novel approach to decrease the release of inflammatory substances, reduce nerve cell inflammation and autoimmune mediators in both human and animal medicine.
In humans, physicians historically prescribed Naltrexone to treat opioid addictions. Physicians and veterinarians now are employing much smaller doses of the drug in off-label uses to lessen the pain of chronic arthritis, to treat some autoimmune disorders and to help slow the growth of some tumors.
Veterinary Compounding Pharmacist Tom Magnifico first witnessed LDN in action at Keystone pharmacy in Cascade. A client who’d experienced good results with LDN had asked him to help formulate a prescription for his cat. Both were impressed with the results.
“What LDN can give pets is a more comfortable life, a more active life, and a better quality of life by taking care of the pain,” Magnifico said.
How Does LDN Work?
- Rebound Action: – By temporarily binding and blocking a mechanism called the MU receptor, which is linked to pain. Blocking the receptor tells our bodies that we aren’t producing enough endorphins (our natural pain relievers), and thus releases more.
- Inflammation Reduction: – By reducing pro-inflammatory chemicals called cytokines, which are known to inflame and sensitize various tissues that can cause pain. By down regulating inflammation in the nervous system, it reduces pain as well as improves physical function.
How Do I Know If My Pet Would Benefit from LDN?
Work with your routine veterinarian or a home hospice veterinarian to assess your pet’s pain and quality of life. If your veterinarian is unfamiliar with LDN, they can reach out directly to Tom Magnifico at Keystone Pharmacy to learn more about compound dosing and use.
Tom Magnifico RPh, FACA, FACVP is a veterinary compounding specialist at Keystone: KeystoneRx.com