Canine polyneuropathy is a progressively destructive condition involving the peripheral nerves. Most commonly involving motor nerves that control movement, it can also involve sensory nerves. Although there are several types of polyneuropathies, a large number of the conditions involve the immune system. According to several studies, the progressive breakdown of the neurons can be traced back to a hyperactive immune response for reasons yet discovered. The logic would imply that if we can control the immune system’s response, we should be able to improve, or at least stabilize, the condition.
My experience with low dose naltrexone (LDN) therapy in humans confirms that this novel approach to treating disorders of the immune system could hold hope for those animals suffering from immune related diseases such as polyneuropathy. My research into this topic confirms this. LDN therapy is quickly becoming an effective treatment for this condition.
Naltrexone has been available for decades as an opioid antagonist, a drug used to treat overdoses of narcotics in humans. It is most widely used for that purpose. It actively blocks narcotics from binding to pain receptors and allows the drug to circulate without effect until it is broken down in the liver and eliminated.
Years ago, researchers found that Naltrexone had a curious effect on the immune system, it “resets” the immune response.
While mainstream medicine will argue that the immune system is not associated with the pain response (and thus, delaying its use in millions of human cases), the handful of health professionals (and veterinarians) currently using it will argue to the contrary and point to the increasing body of success cases. For example, in the case of the autoimmune disorder known as Crohn’s Disease, what affects millions of people, LDN has proven itself to eliminate or dramatically reduce the symptoms. Similar success has been observed in cancer, AIDS, Parkinson’s, Lupus, and numerous other conditions. The rising numbers of successfully treated cases can no longer be ignored.
Interestingly, the typical dosage for narcotic overdose is 50mg. The dosage used for the average human is 4.5 mg. well below the recommended clinical dosage (thus the term “low dose”). At such low doses, there are very few side effects, mostly limited to insomnia.
If LDN can successfully treat human polyneuropathy, can it also treat canine polyneuropathy? It seems so. In studies, LDN has been proven to be safe and effective for a variety of animals, including cats and dogs. In dogs, the drug is metabolized much quicker than in humans so they will require a slightly higher dose than their human owners. How much more? In one report, a pharmacist familiar with filling prescriptions for canine use recommended two 4.5 mg. doses for a large dog. As this is a fairly new treatment, it is highly advisable to have a qualified veterinarian or pharmacist calculate the recommended dosages.
In humans, it takes a while to notice an effect (typically 30 days) so you can expect the same for dogs.
It is also interesting to note that while Naltrexone blocks narcotics from binding to pain receptors to diminish pain response, in LDN treatments, it is used to actually cause the brain to produce its own endorphins and this is beneficial in reducing the pain associated with neuropathies.
In light of the lack of effective treatments for polyneuropathy in canines, LDN offers a safe and potentially effective novel approach. The drug is fairly inexpensive and at the lower doses, safe for use. Unfortunately, most of the medical community is either unaware of this treatment or has dismissed it altogether.
The following are sites where you can get more information on LDN therapies.
This article if for educational purposes only. Please consult your veterinarian before beginning any treatment regimen with your dog(s).
If you have any experience using LDN, please share in the comments section below.