Procedure could improve aging dog's health

Testosterone injections prove beneficial for aging dogs

Published On: Jan 29 2013 01:09:59 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 30 2013 11:27:26 PM CST
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COOPER CITY, Fla. -

A few months ago, an Australian cattle dog named Layall was barely able to stand. Now, he's pulling his owner down the street, all thanks to a new procedure.

"He's had a marked improvement. He can walk, run, catch Frisbees and things like that," his owner said.

The dog's dramatic turnaround is credited to Cooper City, Fla., veterinarian Dr. David Bieber, who has seen a common decline in older, large-breed male dogs.

When it started happening to his own aging Lab, Bruno, Bieber faced the heartbreaking possibility of putting his dog down. Then he had an idea after noticing a common thread in these animals -- all were males, neutered at a young age.

Bieber wondered if the underlying cause of degenerative joint and bone disease in male dogs was a lack of testosterone.

"I put it together. I talked to a lot of doctors in the human field and that's when I decided to try it," Bieber said. "There was nothing else to do."

With a few months of treatment, Bruno's testosterone levels went from zero to normal and the dog started walking again. He lived four years on the treatment.

Since then, Bieber has helped extend the lives of many other aging male dogs with testosterone injections.

These injections are not approved for use in animals, so it's referred to as an "off-label" use of the hormone.

The injections cost between $50 and $60 and need to be repeated every four to six weeks.