Dr. Laurie McCauley, DVM, CCRT, is a renowned lecturer and pioneer in animal rehabilitation. Recently Dr. McCauley shared with us how Assisi pulsed electromagnetic therapy has become a staple in her repertoire. Our interviewer and blogger, Naomi Grunditz, is pleased to include the transcript as part of a series of interviews with rehabilitation and veterinary specialists using Assisi.
N: Thank you so much for taking time out to do this interview with me! If you could to start, I love to learn a bit of little background about yourself and how you started using the Assisi loop.
L: I’m a graduate of Colorado State Vet School, I did general medicine for six years, and now I have been doing canine rehabilitation for 14 years. We received the Assisi units from the Ivivi company to test with our patients, but we were in a bind because the animals couldn’t tell us if it worked or not, or how well it worked. Instead of trying a product on animals to see if it worked and then applying it to humans we took the opposite approach. We asked for volunteers from our employees to try it for different types of pain and learned that it worked very well for acute pain, acute on chronic pain, and pain from inflammation, but not for chronic pain or headaches. We have used it for acute pain and inflammation for several years now with good results.
N: So when is Assisi your go-to treatment for animals?
L: We use it for acute pain with patients that back and neck injuries, either post surgery or if surgery was not indicated or available. We also use it for post op orthopedic patients, for example post cruciate surgery. Assisi is one of the many pain treatments we offer here, and it is especially great for people that come from far away and can’t come in frequently. It’s something we can send home with them, which is nice.
N: Are there any specific recent cases you can think of where you went, “Wow, this worked really well!”?
L: Well I can tell you about my dog! I have an 11-year-old dachshund who had neck pain. We were thinking about doing surgery. We had done acupuncture with him and he hates acupuncture, and we had done chiropractic with him and he wanted no part of that. So we switched to a more hands-off approach and we did just the Assisi, oils, and laser. Just within 24 hours of switching to that, he was significantly better. We didn’t need to do surgery.
N: Have you used Assisi with horses?
L: The only horse I’ve worked with is my niece’s horse. She had a horse that was lame constantly. If she didn’t wrap the distal limb every night, when she came in in the morning it was swollen. She was showing him and he was not consistent. There was a 50 percent chance he would be able to show. She started using the Assisi ring daily and the lameness and swelling just stopped. She did not have to wrap him and he showed consistently from the time she started using the Assisi. It was very cool.
N: Do you like to talk about Assisi when you do your lectures and teaching engagements?
L: Yes, absolutely. I presented Assisi at North American [Veterinary Conference] and then I just did a pain management for geriatric patients in March where we presented the Assisi research and information on that. Assisi was nice enough to supply a unit for each of the student participants in hopes that they could go back and see how well it worked and start using them.
N: When you’re doing one of these talks, what’s the key thing you want your students to take away about Assisi and its benefits?
L: That there’s science behind it. I talk about the enhanced calcium-calmodulin binding increasing endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). The eNOS is released in short bursts (long bursts create a different effect) which decreases pain. There is also significantly more angiogenesis.
A study done with rats that evaluated tensile strength post surgical correction of the achilles tendon found that with Assisi therapy there was significantly more strength of the tendon. We just recently had a dog that had an Achilles rupture that had been repaired. It was nice to show the client, hey look, here’s a research article that shows, at least in rats, it increased tensile strength so they’re less likely to re-tear it and it heals a lot faster. Then they know, “Oh wow, this is worth the money that I’m putting into it, it’s something I can do at home, it decreases pain as well as helping it heal.” And they’re excited about it.
N: So would you recommend Assisi to be among the repertoire that vets use for healing?
L: Absolutely. Acute pain, post surgical issues, and to speed healing. The other reason we will use the Assisi is if we have a patient with a non-healing wound where they can’t come for laser. Selling them a unit in this instance is a great option.
A lot of my agility people and my other sporting people will purchase one because they travel a lot, and when they travel, if their dog gets injured, they need something to help them. It’s something they’ve got in their box of tricks.