Stem Cell Therapy
There has been a lot of research into stem cells. We often hear of the controversial topic of embryonic stem cells, but the area with the most promise to our patients involves the use of our pet’s own cells derived from their own fat. As of now, this technology is used for arthritis, dysplasia, bone and tendon and ligament injuries. It is showing promise in actually reversing some of the damage of arthritis and hip dysplasia, often returning the animal to a prior state of activity.
These cells are abundant in a variety of tissues including fat. Since these cells are from the animal itself, there is no issue with rejection and no moral objection. Adult regenerative stem cell therapy was approved for use in horses a few years ago and over three thousand have benefitted from it, more than two thirds returning to prior performance. Many have been able to completely discontinue pain medication.
In 2006, adult regenerative stem cell therapy was first tried in small animals. Veterinarians in general practice were extended the opportunity, in 2008, to become credentialed for this modality of therapy. Since that time, a number of modifications have been made to the procedure to increase the cell count and further activate the cells. We actually have the laboratory in-house so it may be done in a single day without a repeat visit. Already, hundreds of dogs have benefitted, with similar results as seen in horses. It is an exciting new treatment which we expect to perform often in our patients. Bring us your questions and we will be happy to discuss your pet’s case.