About Joel Rossen, DVM

Microcurrent Therapy on Equines and Canines

Article by Deborah Powell, written in 2002

Even though electrical stimulation in the microamperage range has been used on animals since Dr. Wing ND DC Lac. came out with the very first unit in the late 1970s, only a small portion of animal owners today are aware of this remarkably easy-to-do treatment.

After graduating from the Veterinary Medicine in 1971, Joel Rossen DVM studied veterinary acupuncture with the Pain Management Group at UCLA. This was part of a research group consisting of five veterinarians and several acupuncturists from the United States, China, and Korea. They chose cases mostly from animals with painful or debilitating problems. The most common syndromes that they treated were hip dysplasis, spondylolysthesis, generalized or localized arthritis, and inter vertebral disk syndrome (cervical, thorasic, and lumbar). Unfortunately, for political reasons the study was never published. However, the results were so good that all five of the veterinarians involved continued performing acupuncture long after the study ended.

Dr. Rossen opened a small animal practice and for the first seven years performed acupuncture on small animals, mostly for the treatment of pain. This was a major part of his practice. In 1979 he learned about a brand new technology called microcurrent therapy.

“I started using it in veterinary practice immediately because I was suddenly able to obtain therapeutic results I had only dreamed of until then,” Dr. Rossen said. Dr. Rossen was sold on this new treatment, which in essence was surface electro acupuncture.This means no needles are needed to penetrate the skin and with the extra stimulation offered by the small amount of current the treatments provided faster relief and results with longer staying power. Plus the animals love the treatments, and therefore are very willing patients.

Dr. Rossen says he believes he was the first to treat horses with microcurrent. He was asked to come out to the central California race track and see if his microcurrent box could help the horses run faster. He said, “I don’t know about horses running faster, but it was quickly discovered that the results were impressive for a variety of problems like bowed tendons, splints, bucked shins, sore back, abscesses, neurological problems, sore feet, and general pain. The general consensus was that injury healing time was cut in half and that the treated areas were sometimes stronger than before as a result.”

Even though in 1979 the instruments were very expensive, (costing up to $ 20,000.00), there was a good demand for these instruments. Today, microcurrent units cost significantly less (thousands) and it is estimated that hundreds of equines and canines benefit daily from microcurrent treatments. This is especially true with the popularity of the personal-sized units for patients to take home and use. Dr. Rossen left small animal practice to market his own patented Micro Stim Instruments. His focus today is macular degeneration.

Microcurrent offers versatilely in Treatment Styles

  1. Surface Electrical Acupuncture: Using instruments called probes. Also called non-penetrating needle probes. Handles holding metal tips or Q-Tips to treat through the surface of the skin. Used to do traditional-style acupuncture or modified versions of point work.
  2. Remote Treatment: Placing electrodes (item used to pass current) in the form of patches or wraps to be worn in a specific place for a duration of time. Sometimes referred to as unattended treatment, however when treating animals it is highly advisable to be present.
  3. Massage: Increases the benefits of massage by wearing glove electrodes.
  4. Acupressure: Increases the benefits by wearing glove electrodes.
  5. Myofascial Release: Increases the benefits by wearing glove electrodes.
  6. Complimentary: Use in combination with other treatments, such as cold therapy, Qi Gong infrasound massagers, Light Therapy, and Iontophoresis.

Note: Treatment of long haired dogs is best done using probes or by petting or stroking the dog while wearing the electrode gloves. All styles of electrodes work well on short haired dogs. Learn more about treating dogs.

Excellent sources for points to treat can be found in the book, Acupressure for Equines or Acupressure for Canines by Nancy Ziondis. Plus, MicroCurrent for Horses by Deborah Powell.

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