One of the most effective and universal healing aids I use in my holistic veterinary practice is ozone therapy.
Ozone is a century old therapy that can help your dog with any inflammatory disease process. So I want to tell you about ozone therapy for dogs and explain how it can help with many health problems.
What Is Ozone?
Ozone is O3, meaning it’s made up of 3 oxygen atoms. For comparison, the air that we breathe is O2. The extra oxygen atom in O3 is less stable. This makes it more likely to react once inside the body.
You may have heard that ozone in the air is dangerous – so how is this different?
Atmospheric Vs Medical Ozone
Atmospheric ozone is produced by either lightening or UV radiation that splits oxygen molecules. This causes a single oxygen atom to join with O2 (oxygen) to make O3 (ozone).
On smoggy days, you will see “ozone alerts” when the ozone reaches a certain level. But in fact, the actual amount of ozone mixed in the smog is very small when compared to other pollutants that we see and smell. The reason you hear so much about it is that ozone is easier to measure than the other components of the smog layer.
When the ozone level goes up, so do the hydrocarbons and other toxins … but these are in much larger amounts and therefore much more toxic than ozone itself.
Medical grade ozone used for treatments is produced by passing pure oxygen through a generator that uses an electrical spark to split an oxygen atom off of the O2 molecules.
This free oxygen atom will combine with other O2 molecules and produce O3, which is ozone.
The First Ozone Treatments
Treating with ozone is nothing new. The first ozone generator was created by Nikola Tesla in 1896. It took some time for it to be more widely used as a medical treatment. Dr Noble Eberhart at Loyola University in Chicago began using it in humans around 1911. Ozone was used to treat conditions like:
- Whooping cough
- Hay fever
In other parts of the world ozone is a mainstay treatment in human hospitals.
Ozone is an effective anti-inflammatory therapy. Since all disease begins with inflammation, this means it can effectively help treat any disease process. It’s also anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal … so it can aid in treating any type of infectious disease.
And ozone is incredibly safe. There are no negative effects to using it in pets. I can even use ozone therapy even without a definitive diagnosis, because it can help with so many things without any risk or downside.
And that’s despite what the FDA says!
In 2019, the FDA declared that ozone is a toxic gas. They established restrictions on how ozone-generating equipment can be used. The FDA does allow ozone therapy in situations where it has proven safety and effectiveness.
And in fact, clinical research shows that ozone can help with many health conditions. These range from musculoskeletal issues to cardiovascular and gastrointestinal disease … and even cancer.
One 2020 study even found that ozone therapy improves COVID-19 treatments. It controls inflammation, stimulates immunity and protects from serious side effects.
I’ll tell you more about what research shows ozone therapy can help with, But first, let’s talk about how ozone works.
How Ozone Heals
In the body, ozone combines with amino acids and lipids to create compounds called ozonides.
These ozonides are what actually cause the biological effects of ozone. They can easily pass through cell membranes and exert their main effect … which is to improve energy production through improved oxygen utilization.
That’s why it’s so effective. Cellular degeneration often stems from an inability of the cells to use oxygen efficiently. So ozone therapy can improve the health and function of the body’s cells.
Cells’ ability to use oxygen depends on the amount of NAD (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) that’s available to them. Ozone promotes an oxidation reaction that creates NAD from NADH. (NADH is NAD plus 1 hydrogen atom.) This then provides more energy that the cell can use to function optimally.
Once the cells have the proper amount of energy to work effectively, tissues in the body can heal. Ozonides are also very stable, lasting from days to weeks in the body. This prolongs the benefits of ozone long after the actual treatment.
What Can Ozone Help With?
Studies in humans and animals show that ozone therapy can have many positive effects in the body.
Multiple studies have shown ozone’s antioxidant and anti-aging effects. It increases SOD (Superoxide Dismutase, the body’s most powerful antioxidant enzyme) and activates Nrf2 pathways that help the body repair cellular damage from oxidation.
RELATED: Why your dog’s food needs more antioxidants …
O3 improves blood circulation and oxygen delivery, improves coronary artery disease and cholesterol levels.
O3 helps heal foot ulcers and non-healing wounds. It can also reduce blood glucose levels.
Studies show ozone may improve conditions like multiple sclerosis or fibromyalgia.
Ozone can improve hearing loss and symptoms of vestibular disease.
Ozone has been shown to help with herniated discs, osteoarthritis and spondylosis.
O3 can increase overall GI health and has been shown to speed ulcer healing.
O3 helps with diseases like cirrhosis and hepatitis. It also eases renal complications from hepatitis.
O3 helps manage chronic cystitis and reduces bacteria levels in urinary infections.
Inhibits Bacterial And Fungal Growth
Ozone can help manage any kind of infection. It’s even been shown to help eliminate MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) infection.
Ozone reacts with polyunsaturated fats and other antioxidants. This helps activate various immune response mechanisms in the body. O3 stimulates cytokines, which are messenger cells that trigger the immune response.
In vitro studies show ozone inhibits cancer cells from lung, breast and uterine tumors by 40 to 90% (depending on O3 dosage levels).
How I Use Ozone Therapy For Dogs
Ozone can treat a wide variety of conditions in pets as well. In my practice, I’ve found it helps with …
- Bacterial, viral and fungal infections
- Chronic coughs
- Skin problems
- Gut issues
- Age-related degeneration
- Auto-immune disease
Because ozone helps create healthier cells in the body, it can benefit just about any health condition. It’s also a great maintenance or preventative measure to keep your dog in optimal health.
How To Give Ozone
I use several different methods to safely give ozone to dogs.
Via the blood: We draw a small amount of blood, mix it with ozone and re-inject it into either the vein or muscle.
Rectal insufflation: We deposit ozone gas directly into the colon to provide gastrointestinal support and help detoxify the liver.
Direct injection: We give local injections of ozone gas or ozonated saline directly around tumors, wounds or surgical sites, to promote healing.
Via the breath: Ozone can be breathed in after bubbling through olive oil so it’s not irritating to the lungs. This can help with nasal and respiratory infections, asthma, allergies, and cancer.
“Bagging”: Bagging an affected area of the body with the ozone gas to provide a direct external effect on wounds, skin sores and rashes or draining tumors.
Infused olive oil: We infuse olive oil with ozone to provide a valuable skin ointment that promotes wound healing.
Although ozone is not commonly used in conventional medicine, it can be a very effective treatment modality to help heal your dog, or prevent illness and degeneration. And, as I mentioned earlier, I’ve found it to be completely free of any harmful side effects
You can learn more about the benefits of ozone therapy at The American Academy of Ozonotherapy. To find a veterinary ozone practitioner where you live, check the AHVMA directory.
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Seyam, Omar et al. Clinical utility of ozone therapy for musculoskeletal disorders. Medical gas research vol. 8,3 103-110. 25 Sep. 2018, doi:10.4103/2045-9912.241075
Cattel F et al. Ozone therapy in COVID-19: A narrative review. Virus Res. 2021 Jan 2;291:198207. doi: 10.1016/j.virusres.2020.198207. Epub 2020 Oct 25. PMID: 33115670; PMCID: PMC7585733.
Sweet F et al. Ozone selectively inhibits growth of human cancer cells. Science. 1980 Aug 22;209(4459):931-3. doi: 10.1126/science.7403859. PMID: 7403859.
Ozone Therapy In The Veterinary Practice. Margo Roman DVM CVA COT CPT