The objective of this study was to evaluate intra-articular dextrose prolotherapy for osteoarthritis of the elbow or stifle in dogs in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, prospective pilot study. Seventeen dogs were evaluated with 10 meeting inclusion criteria for this study. Evaluations included orthopedic exam, visual lameness scoring, Canine Brief Pain Inventory (CBPI), goniometry, kinetic gait analysis, and radiography.
Initial lameness score, age, body weight, duration of lameness, and CBPI scores did not differ between groups. Change in CBPI pain severity score in the prolotherapy group from wk 6-12 was significantly less improved than in the placebo group, with no other significant differences in pain severity or pain interference scores between groups. Range of motion and radiographic scores did not differ between groups at any time. Mean kinetic forces improved in prolotherapy dogs but were not significantly different between treatment groups at any time.
Although easily performed and well-tolerated, there were no statistically significant benefits of dextrose prolotherapy for treatment of osteoarthritis of the elbow and stifle in dogs. Post hoc power analysis of these sample means and standard deviations found that 29-106 animals per group would be necessary to demonstrate significant differences in kinetic forces, providing useful guidance for future studies.