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Ozone Therapy in the Veterinary Practice

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Ozone and other oxygen therapies have been used for over 100 years around the world for human and animal healing. These therapies continue to gain popularity, as scientists learn about the health benefits of increased oxygen in the body. Currently, ozone therapy and hyperbaric treatments, which bring easily soluble oxygen to target tissues, are being proven effective for treating viruses, fungi and bacteria, and for general health improvement anytime there is inflammation and damaged tissue. In addition to medical uses, ozone is a great disinfectant used for livestock water tanks, cattle embryo transfer(tt), swimming pools, spas and the water treatment systems of over 2,000 municipalities around the world.

How it works

Ozone contains three oxygen atoms, which react in the tissue as it breaks down to ordinary oxygen (O2) and a reactive singlet oxygen molecule that can combine with chemicals and other molecules. Free from side effects, this is an extremely safe therapy that works in a number of ways by:

1. Decreasing inflammation. When you have inflammation, swelling, bruising, infection, cancer and trauma to the tissue, there are higher amounts of carbon dioxide within the tissue. This increase of carbon dioxide contributes to inflammation and pain. Increasing the amount of oxygen delivered to the tissue in the form of reactive ozone decreases inflammation, pain and swelling, and helps increase healing.

2. Activating the immune system. Ozone therapy has also been shown to activate the immune system by stimulating cytokine production. Cytokines are “messenger cells”, such as interferons and interleukins, which “set off a cascade reaction of positive changes throughout the immune system.”(t). Ozone also promotes the production of glutathione peroxidase, catalase, reductase and super-oxide dismutase, the enzymes forming the cell wall coating; thereby enhancing cellular immunity. 3. Inactivating bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeast and protozoa. Healthy cells are surrounded by an enzyme coating, which ozone does not penetrate, but bacteria and viruses have no such coatings. Ozone therapy disrupts the integrity of the bacterial cell envelope through oxidation of the phospholipids and lipoproteins (peroxidation). In viruses, this peroxidation disrupts the reproductive cycle and damages the viral capsid. In fungi, ozone inhibits cell growth. Consider chronic otitis, which often has multiple organisms as primary or secondary invaders; this explains the efficacy of ozone treatment.

Administration options

Since ozone helps with the healing of any problem, it can be added to any treatment protocol.

1. Percolate into saline fluids to be used as a flush (decreases inflammation and pain) to wounds, bladder, rectum, ear, nose, mouth; enema; IV or SQ fluids to be absorbed through the capillaries of the subcutaneous tissue.

2. Percolate through olive oil with or without essential oils for the skin.

3. As a gas via a catheter, internally, or by sealing a wounded area in a bag (old fluid bags work well). It will be absorbed through the caudal rectal vein.

4. Injected as a gas into joints with a prolotherapy injection (prolozone). Human study1 showed efficacy in pain relief for many conditions.

An added technique using ozone is Biophotonic Blood Therapy (BBT), in which blood is infused with ozone, exposed to ultraviolet light in a crystal cuvette, and then given back to the patient. Also called Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation, it has been used worldwide for over 50 years for an array of medical conditions. It may be more effective than mere ozone for stimulating cytokines and activating the mitochondria in each cell to strengthen an animal’s immune system.

Ozone preparation

Oxygen as a single molecule is highly unstable and exists for only microseconds in nature. However, when two oxygen atoms unite to share electrons, they form an oxygen molecule, referred to as O2. This molecule is very stable, and comprises the form of oxygen found in the atmosphere. To create ozone, pure surgical oxygen (ordinary air cannot be used as it has 20% nitrogen which would be converted to nitrous oxide and nitric oxide, both highly toxic) is flowed through a glass tube (do not use models with plastic tubing). A low voltage electrical spark is then applied through the outside of the tube. This briefly splits the paired oxygen atoms, most of which reform into pairs within microseconds. A small percentage of the individual oxygen atoms form triplets – ozone (O3). The ozone produced exists in a very active form for about 30 minutes before breaking down (dismutating) into two atoms of oxygen, which are very easily absorbed into the cells, by giving up one atom of singlet oxygen. Ozone will dismutate at a rate of 50% every 45 minutes in glass, and every 30 minutes in plastic. Therefore the ozone cannot be stored and used later.

Uses are many and varied

Any time there are infections or inflammation, tissue damage or abnormal cellular proliferation, ozone can be use to support treatments, conventional or holistic. A few examples are:

1. Skin – wounds, especially degloving ones and deep abrasions; hot spots; pyodermas; allergic dermatitis; abscesses

2. Pain relief

3. Head trauma, spinal cord inflammation–ozone and oxygen go through the blood/brain barrier so it is an excellent way to aid treatment of any neurological issue

4. Chronic and acute Lyme disease

5. Mouth–stomatitis, gingivitis, abscesses; ozone therapy is ADA-approved for dental abscesses

6. Cancer and autoimmune problems

7. Ears – chronic and acute otitis from bacteria or yeast; aural hematomas

8. Eyes – infections and allergic reactions

9. Upper respiratory ailments

10. Potentiates acupuncture, homeopathy and chiropractic treatments as it brings more needed oxygen to the body

11. GI tract – constipation, diarrhea, IBS (decreases inflammation)

12. Equine infectious anemia

Integrating ozone into your veterinary clinic protocols gives you a wonderful opportunity to use something very natural and sustainable that can reduce and possibly prevent the overuse of antibiotics and drugs. Technicians can administer ozone in most of its applications. As a holistic integrative veterinarian, I think it potentiates some of the other natural modalities I use, such as acupuncture, homeopathy, herbs and chiropractic. Antibiotics are also more effective with ozone as an adjunct. It is also a practice builder, since clients are searching for supportive ways to help their pets. With training, pet owners can get an ozone unit and administer it in a variety of ways themselves. Because ozone is antiviral, it should be a must for any animal shelter that deals with a lot of infectious viruses.

A veterinary certification course is now offered by the American Academy of Ozonotherapy AAOT (aaot.us).You can also contact veterinarians using ozone therapy for their own experiences and case reports at the AHVMA (ahvma.org).

Dr. Margo Roman graduated from the Veterinary College at Tuskegee Institute of Alabama, and was on the faculty of Tufts University, teaching anatomy, physiology and acupuncture. She was the consulting veterinarian in an IACUC for Creature Biomolecule in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, studying osteogenic proteins. Dr. Roman’s integrative practice, Main Street Animal Services of Hopkinton (M.A.S.H.), offers chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, Reiki, acupuncture, herbs, conventional medicine and more.