Stem Cell Therapy: What is it and how can it benefit your pet?

Stem cells are injected into the patient's joints

Stem cells are injected into the patient's joints

By Dr. Nan Rosenberry of Bay Road Animal Hospital

Stem Cell Therapy: What is it?

You may have recently read about using stem cells in pets. The therapy is known as Regenerative Veterinary Medicine and uses a dog’s own stem cells, obtained from their fat, to improve poorly performing cells in a different location. The stem cells used for this purpose are called “mesenchymal stem cells” and are not “embryonic stem cells” that you may have heard about. The most recent use for mesenchymal stem cells is for degenerative joint disease, or arthritis, in dogs, but they have been used extensively in horses for tendon and joint injuries and damage.

How do we do it?

The first part of the procedure is to surgically harvest fat from your dog. This fat is then shipped overnight to a special laboratory where the cells are isolated and counted. The stem cells are returned to us to inject into your dog’s affected joints by the following day. A portion of the cells are reserved at the laboratory for future use, but often only one treatment is needed. After a few weeks, improved mobility is seen because the stem cells regenerate healthy cells and replace the painful, inflammatory degenerative cells. Your dog is more comfortable, often without daily medication.

Who is a candidate for this procedure?

If your dog has been diagnosed with degenerative joint disease or arthritis, he may be considered for this procedure. Radiographs and blood work are performed to pinpoint the affected joints and to be sure your dog will tolerate the necessary anesthesia. Talk to Dr. Rosenberry or Dr. Smith for more information.

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