What is Chrysotherapy?

Chrysotherapy involves administering gold salts to canines in order to aid treat conditions such as polyarthritis and immune-mediated diseases. Chrysotherapy, also known as gold therapy, involves the use of drugs like aurothioglucose (Solganal), gold sodium thiomalate (Myochrysine) and auranofin (Ridaura). The exact mechanism of action of chrysotherapy is unknown, but it may exert the immunomodulating through the effects on the T-lymphocytes cell-mediated immunity or through the inhibition of sulfhydryl enzymes systems. Experts believe that the mechanisms of chrysotherapy can also cause anti-inflammatory effects on a canine’s neutrophils and macrophages. Chrysotherapy is administered as an injection or, on occasion, orally for several weeks at a time for the positive effects to occur. Chrysotherapy is delivered by a trained and licensed veterinary professional with the adequate tools for administration. 

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Chrysotherapy Procedure in Dogs

Chrysotherapy uses many formulations of gold, some of which no longer are sold commercially. Oral treatment of chrysotherapy uses auranofin, brand name Ridaura, which is available in 3 mg capsules. An injection in an aqueous formulation can be given at 50mg/ml dosage and is known as aurothioglucose, brand name Solganal. Chrysotherapy can also be an injection of gold sodium thiomalate, brand name Myochrysine, available in a 25 or 50 mg/ml sesame oil injection.  Usually a 1 mg testing dose is administered or, if the patient is of a larger dog breed, a 5 mg test dose will be given. If the canine does not show any evidence of an allergic or adverse reaction, the veterinarian will schedule dose administration to take place weekly. Usually, maintenance dosages are given in a range of 1-2 mg/kg every 2 to 4 weeks. 

Efficacy of Chrysotherapy in Dogs

Chrysotherapy in oral concentrations, Auranofin, is reported to have a less efficacy in canines that the injectable formulas. Very little literature is available to determine the efficacy of chrysotherapy in canines and it is not a widely used form of treatment. 

Chrysotherapy Recovery in Dogs

Chrysotherapy will require follow-up appointments with the veterinarian, critical for the adjustment of drug dosage to maximize the efficacy and minimize the side effects. Dog owners will be responsible for giving all medications as directed and scheduling appointments with the doctor.

Cost of Chrysotherapy in Dogs

The cost of chrysotherapy depends on the formula used and the course of treatment, but may range from $40 to $100 per injection. Ask your local veterinarian about the price of chrysotherapy for your dog’s specific case.

Dog Chrysotherapy Considerations

A great disadvantage to chrysotherapy in dogs is that the treatment must be administered intramuscularly over a course of several weeks. A dog could receive treatment for six to 12 weeks before positive effects of the treatment occur. 

Chrysotherapy Prevention in Dogs

The need for chrysotherapy in dogs can be prevented by keeping your dog healthy and up-to-date on all vaccinations with the veterinarian. Canines with immune-mediated disease cannot be cured, but isolating the canine from other dogs that have known viral illness can help prevent your dog from becoming ill. Immune weakness disease is a frustrating condition to treat and often requires a live long treatment period. Despite all the preventative methods a dog owner may use, a dog could still fall ill and require chrysotherapy.