Thirty-eight dogs with hip dysplasia were studied to evaluate the use of gold wire implants at acupuncture points around the hip joints. They were assigned at random into two groups of 19. In the treated group, gold wire was inserted through hypodermic needles at electrically found acupuncture points around both hips. In the control group, the areas were prepared in the same way but had only the skin pierced at sites which were not acupuncture points, with a needle of the same size as that used in the treated group. Over a period of six months the dogs were studied repeatedly by two veterinarians and by the dogs' owners who were unaware of the treatments the dogs had received; they assessed the dogs' locomotion, hip function and signs of pain. Radiographs were taken at the beginning and end of the study. Although the data collected from both groups by the veterinarians and the owners showed a significant improvement of locomotion and reduction in signs of pain (P=0.036 for the veterinary evaluation and locomotion and P=0.0001 and P=0.0034 for the owners' evaluation of locomotion and pain, respectively), there were no statistically significant differences between the treated and control groups (P=0.19 and P=0.41, P=0.24, respectively).