Ava Frick, DVM, CVC, FAIS, chief of staff at Pet Rehab & Pain Clinic in Eureka, Missouri, explains how electroceuticals are used to treat pain and instances where it is most effective.

Video by American Veterinarian

Electroceuticals, and microcurrent therapy, is also approved for use as a pain device. Some specific cases would be chronic arthritis, we could actually use it through a degenerative arthritic joint, one that has a lot of exostosis— that bone that’s laid down where it shouldn’t be.

We can use it in referred pain, like a radiculopathy, where there might be pain in the neck that is radiating down the leg. We’ve used it for phantom limb pain. Just like with people, if you lose an arm. Animals can lose a leg it still feels like it’s there, which initially creates a real problem in figuring out how to walk., because they want to use that leg, which then they’re going to stumble because the legs not there. And that happens because there’s body mapping on the cerebral cortex and it didn’t go away just because the leg got amputated. And there’s pain at that site and that creates a whole syndrome of issues as well. So, I’ve used it for those.

Just any situation you can have post-operative pain. We can have it from a a cruciate repair. You can have from chronic pain, and the reason that chronic anything exists—so you could have chronic pain in your liver, you could have chronic lung problems, you can have the chronic arthritis—the reason that it persists is because when it stays there for a long time there’s a lot of resistance built up in that tissue. You get extra layers built around it, there’s scar tissue, there’s adhesions. Electricity is like a lazy person, it’s going to take the path of least resistance.

So now, the electricity just goes around that damaged area. If we cannot get electricity through somewhere you cannot get new cells to proliferate. You cannot get healing. You can’t get nutrients in. You can’t get medicinals in there. So, what the microcurrent then does is to allow then this easy flow of an electrical waveform, and this is very important when we look at microcurrent devices is the waveform. And if it’s of the right waveform, meaning the right intensity, also the right frequency, the body accepts it and it moves through the tissue, it breaks up that blockage. Instead of being like a two-by-four it turns it into a screen, and now you can get healing to happen. So with microcurrent devices, part of the ability to address pain is that it actually does change the parameters of that environment.