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Posted on Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 4:45 p.m.

Area veterinarian uses Pulsed Signal Therapy to offer relief from chronic disease

By Lorrie Shaw


Pulsed Signal Therapy unit, at Animal Rehabilitation Facility.

Lorrie Shaw | Contributor

Companion animals suffer injuries and arthritis just as humans do, and while the choices in pain medications — typically NSAIDS — are growing in veterinary medicine, some pets may not be able to take medication, surgery may not be an option or their owners may prefer a different therapeutic approach.

One treatment option that pet owners have at their disposal now is one that you might not have heard of — a non-invasive approach called Pulsed Signal Therapy. PST, as it’s referred to, consists of pulsed electromagnetic signals being transmitted into the joint. These signals mimic the normal healthy physiological signals to facilitate cell repair, stimulating the existing cartilage and other damaged structures to repair themselves.

Dr. Mary Cardeccia, DVM,
CVA, CVFT, CCRT, owner of Animal Rehabilitation Facility, went into more detail about the treatment and what conditions it can be used for successfully, as her practice has the only PST unit in Michigan.

"The goal of using Pulsed Signal Therapy is to provide long-term relief of things like chronic disease like arthritis and is a non-surgical/no medication alternative for musculoskeletal injuries, non-healing wounds, slow-healing fractures,” noted Cardeccia when I met up with her at the facility in Dexter.

Because our companion animals are living longer and do experience chronic problems related to their mobility, I was intrigued.

Treating a patient using PST is relatively easy and is painless. The pet, which can range from a dog or cat to a bunny, ferret or guinea pig, is positioned inside the unit, which bears a resemblance to a miniature, open MRI machine. Owners can safely sit next to their pet during the process.

To get maximum benefit, recommended treatments are scheduled in a series of nine and last 30 minutes each. Sessions can be scheduled only hours apart, up to three times per day.

Because time restraints can be difficult for pet owners to manage, Cardeccia plans to offer drop-off service so that pets can be left to get consecutive treatments during the day while their owners are at work.

Other conditions for which this approach can be helpful are slow-healing fractures, soft-tissue injuries and Osteochondrosis (OCD) of the shoulder — a problem that commonly affects large and giant-breed canines.

Cardeccia cautions, “PST is not recommended for patients who have cancer, as the unit stimulates cells,” adding that further cell stimulation isn’t something that you want with cancer.

“In some cases, we can isolate the area being treated, but an initial dialogue between the pet owner and doctor is a must if this avenue is pursued to weigh the pros and cons.”

There are no side effects with PST.

Aside from adding the PST unit to her practice, Cardeccia has reconfigured a few things, like moving the water treadmill into the area that houses an 11- by 16-foot pool to make better use of space, and opening up the administrative area a bit. Because five or six new patients typically get referred to Cardeccia for treatment each week, this was a must. Cardeccia also offers acupuncture and Reiki on site and designs rehabilitation regimens for animals to perform at the facility and at home. Read more on that here.

For more information on Pulsed Signal Therapy, click here.

Dr.Cardeccia received her DVM from Michigan State University in 1995 and shifted the focus of her practice to complementary veterinary medicine nearly six years ago. Animal Rehabilitation Facility is located at 7275 Joy Road in Dexter. She can be reached at 734-417-4290.

Lorrie Shaw is lead pets blogger for and has previously written about pet health. Follow her daily adventures on Twitter @psa2 as a professional pet sitter and dog walker. She welcomes your contact via email.


Lorrie Shaw

Sat, Mar 12, 2011 : 6:39 p.m.

Trespass: Yes, as I understand it, the study at Baylor was with regard to magnetized insoles and small, static magnets. This is what the article that you refer to is talking about. &quot;The Baylor study compared the effects of magnets and sham magnets on knee pain.&quot; Whatever the other studies were done at NY Medical College, and appeared to reference magnetized insoles. However, neither study referenced PST. Here are a couple of abstract links that you might find interesting from PubMed, and an article from DVM360, both reliable sources of infomation: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;sk=&amp;date=&amp;%0A%09%09%09&amp;pageID=2</a> Thanks again for the interaction. It's much appreciated!


Sat, Mar 12, 2011 : 3:30 p.m.

I didn't see the article as an advertisement until trespass' comment then re-read the article and then perceived it as a news article about a local business with a new machine, although it gives the impression of providing science, which it's definitely not doing. The &quot;more info&quot; link went to a site that can hardly be considered unbiased. An internet search I did brought up dozens of sites that are clearly glomming on to these machines as something to sell ... with not much objective summary as far as I could see. I would like to see &quot;news&quot; articles contain links for more real information, as opposed to commercial sites like the one suggested that happen to come up #1 on Google. Perhaps someone can provide such links here in the comments.

Lorrie Shaw

Sat, Mar 12, 2011 : 6:57 p.m.

ArgoC: I posted some additional links with regard to PST. Thanks for your participation!


Sat, Mar 12, 2011 : 7:55 a.m.

Well I for one am interested. My little furball companion has painful arthritis at the young age of 6 due to a disease that requires meds that you cannot mix NSAIDS with. I would love to see some therapy that could help. She's far too young to hobble around on painful joints! Thanks Lorrie!

Lorrie Shaw

Sat, Mar 12, 2011 : 6:55 p.m.

KathrynHahn: I'm so sorry that your little one is in pain. Six years of age is definitely very young, and as she is a Yorkie (it looks like from your photo?) - she has a long lifespan. Spending the next few years in that state is terrible. Pain management is a growing field in veterinary medicine because pets are living longer and because of, as you indicated, disease in some cases. For some animals, medication is not an option to address pain. When pain can't be relieved effectively, lameness/inactivity is usually present, and that starts a whole other set of issues. Being mobile, regardless of the breed is incredibly important for other normal functions in the body. It's interesting, because by and large, people tend to treat small-breed dogs a little differently when there is a mobility/pain issue because those dogs can be picked up and carried around. That's not possible with large-breed dogs, and I'm guessing that euthanasia occurs much more frequently in the latter demographic for that very reason. Keep me posted on your little one's progress, and I hope that you find a pain management technique/modality that helps to resolve the issue.

Lorrie Shaw

Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 11 p.m.

trespass: Thanks for much for your comment. I just reviewed the link, and wanted to point out that the article itself notes that: &quot;Pulsed electromagnetic fields—which induce measurable electric fields —have been demonstrated effective for treating slow-healing fractures and have shown promise for a few other conditions.&quot; The article that I wrote is on the topic of a machine that employs pulsed electromagnetic signals/fields. One of the conditions that Dr. Cardeccia indicated that it's used for, is slow-healing fractures - and is reinforced by the aforementioned quotation from the article that you posted. The article that you posted appears to deal with magnetized insoles and small, static magnets that are marketed to resolve pain issues - a very different thing altogether. I hope that this clears up any confusion. I do appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on this piece.


Sat, Mar 12, 2011 : 4:33 a.m.

It also says that the studies that showed any benefit were flawed and that larger better studies generally did not show any benefit. Does the method have approval from the FDA for use in humans? It just seems like a good reporter would acknowledge the questionable benefits of the treatment rather than accepting the doctor's sales pitch.


Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 10:23 p.m.

Is this really reporting or is it an advertisement. This is a treatment with very limited evidence that it does anything therapeutic. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> A reporter would check out the literature to see if there is any basis for using this device rather than just reporting the doctor's story about how great it is.