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Permanent Acupuncture with Gold Bead Implants

Gold bead implants are a permanent form of acupuncture. The gold beads are implanted on the acupuncture points on the dog's back and head. The gold beads are very tiny, about the size of a pinhead or tip of a fine ball point pen. They provide a long-term stimulation of the points. This form of treatment was pioneered in the 1970's . As with all forms of treatment, it will work for some and not for others. The first gold bead implants performed in the US were done in the early 1970's by Dr. Grady Young. Dr. Terry Durkes in Marion, IN began doing clinical research on using the implants in 1975, and initially used them to treat seizure disorders and hip dysplasia. He now uses the gold implants for other conditions such as:

  • Allergic Dermatitis
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Certain Types of Paralysis
  • Fecal Incontinence
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Intervertebral Disc Disease
  • Long Term Injuries
  • Lick Granulomas
  • Non-healing Fractures
  • Seizure Activity - Epilepsy
  • Sensory Neurodermatitis
  • Spondyloarthritis
  • Surgical Analgesia
  • Traumatic Nerve Injury
  • Urinary Incontinence

Using a needle, three gold beads are implanted in each location, and the location is very precise. If the beads are off even one sixteenth of an inch (slightly less than 1.6 mm), they will not be successful.

People have reported that their dogs have bled at the locations where the gold beads were implanted, and this is a good sign. From the Chinese medicine perspective, seizures can be caused by too much internal heat, often from the liver, which creates wind and seizures are a symptom of the excess wind. When bleeding occurs where the beads are implanted, this means that the excess heat is being released. This makes it likely that the implants was needed in that area.

Gold is used because it is non-reactive with the body. It is not known exactly how the gold bead implants work, but Dr. Durkes said that he believes that the gold beads emit a minute electrical charge, and the points that respond well to the implants have excessive negative charges.

Success Rates

Dr. Durkes lists the following as his success rates for epilepsy:

Percent of Cases  Description
60 These dogs are "cured". They no longer have seizures and will no longer need any Phenobarbital. If the dog is on Potassium Bromide (KBr), they will have to continue its use.
20 These dogs will "no longer have seizures", but are required to take Phenobarbital but at a reduced dose.
20 These dogs will "continue to have seizures". Some of these will at least have fewer seizures and will have less severe seizures. Some of course will not be helped at all.

Dr. Durkes also noted that 10 to 20 percent of the dogs that have some other condition (i.e. vision or skin problems, etc.) might see an improvement in that condition as well. Success rates are lower for dogs who cluster. These success rates listed here coincide with the success rates of a doctor of Chinese medicine for using acupuncture to treat epilepsy. A great deal depends on the skill of the vet, but even the most skilled practitioner can not help everyone.


Acupuncture is one of a variety of therapies for use by the veterinarian. Acupuncture, from the Latin acus - a needle, and pungere - to pierce or puncture, is the stimulation of specific points on the body which have the ability to alter various biochemical and physiological conditions in order to achieve the desired effect. It has been used successfully for over 4000 years on animals and humans. It is not a panacea or cure-all, but where it is indicated, it works wonderfully.

How Acupuncture Works

Acupuncture is now known to affect all major physiological systems. It works primarily through the central nervous system affecting the musculoskeletal, hormonal, and cardiovascular systems. It does more than just relieve pain. How it works depends on what condition one is treating and which points are utilized. Acupuncture increases circulation, causes a release of many neurotransmitters and neurohormones, some of which are endorphins, the bodies "natural pain killing" hormones, relieves muscle spasms, stimulates nerves, stimulates the bodies defense systems, as well as numerous other beneficial effects. It is interesting to note that according to Chinese philosophy, disease is an imbalance of energy in the body. Acupuncture therapy is based on balancing the energy, correcting the flow of energy and thereby healing the animal.

Acupuncture balances the body's own system of healing and complications rarely, if ever develop. Based on the Chinese theory, a skilled acupuncturist can feel the energy imbalances in someone being treated. Dr. Durkes uses a form of energy reading where he feels changes in his own pulse while moving his hand, which contains the needle, over the dog's body. Where there is a fluctuation in his own pulse, that is the spot that needs to have gold beads implanted.

The acupuncture points can be stimulated by using any one of the following methods:

  • needles
  • electro-acupuncture
  • aquapuncture - injecting a solution into the point
  • moxibustion - heating the point
  • implants - implanting gold or other metals into the point
  • laser

Dr. Durkes notes that in cases of epilepsy, that there are certain points he almost always uses for doing implants. He adds additional implants where needed.

For all of the positive aspirations of gold bead implants, there is also a negative side to the procedure. First of all, there is the procedure itself and the preparation. According to Dr. Durkes, some dogs react to the surgical scrub and develop a rash. Placing a dog under anesthesia always creates some risks. However, all dogs are at risk to anesthesia regardless of the operation. The beads occasionally slip out of place; they cause no harm, but then they provide no benefit to the dog either. Microchips may also slip out of place too. If you have any questions or concerns, Dr. Durkes is always available.

If your dog has cancer, gold beads should not be used. The gold stimulates the cancer. The gold beads do not cause cancer, so the dogs with the implants are no more likely to get cancer than any other dog. If your dog already has cancer, the gold beads are contradicted.

Remember, do not omit your regular veterinarian from the decision making process when you are considering gold bead implants for your dog.

Karen Foster's vet says that Dr. Durkes's ability to do the procedure and the way he takes his own pulse to decide where to put the beads, is a gift. He said that in his 30 years of practice, he has seen only one other vet - a horse vet - who could perform the same pulse measurement technique with the same level of success. Jeri (Kuneval), Kathi and I with Korie, Karen (Preston), and others can tell you of our skepticism when we first heard of the procedure. Not even Dr. Durkes knows why the gold bead procedure works.

Perhaps the American Indian healers and healers in other cultures just have the "touch".

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Business Hours

Tues, Weds, & Thurs 8:00am to 5:00pm

Durkes Veterinary Clinic
1021 East Start Rd. 18
Marion, In. 46952
Phone: (765) 661-7873
Email: Dr. Terry Durkes

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Most of the arthritic cases of the stifle has been secondary to a torn anterior cruciate ligament. The cruciate ligament tear must be repaired before doing the gold bead implant.

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