dog osteoarthritis treatment stem cells

There is proof that stem cells can interact with resident immune cells in the arthritic joint and secrete anti-inflammatory cytokines. Thereby reducing inflammation. Also, as Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can differentiate toward the chondrogenic lineage, osteoarthritis has been proposed as one of the primary areas for MSC therapy for cartilage regeneration. Therefore, MSCs could repair the compromised tissues and replace nascent cell loss as an effective treatment for dog hip osteoarthritis

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis in other words degenerative joint disease is the most common form of arthritis in dogs. It is affecting more than 50% of them during their lifetime.

Osteoarthritis is mainly characterized by an activation of inflammatory processes at a molecular level. Ultimately leading to a gradual deterioration of the cartilage. When cartilage – the natural cushioning surface on both ends of bones – wears away, bones start to rub against each other.

The resulting friction causes pain and loss of mobility.

Inflammation in the joint can also lead to the development of bony growths called spurs.

The majority of osteoarthritis in dogs occurs secondarily to developmental orthopedic diseases.

Including cranial cruciate ligament disease, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, osteochondritis dissecans, and patella dislocation. A small part of dogs develop osteoarthritis without manifesting primary causes. For a long time, it was believed that arthritis is caused by the “wear and tear” of joints over time. However, now it is a disease of the joint. The development of osteoarthritis can be attributed to many factors:

  • Obesity;
  • Physical load;
  • Injuries;
  • Genetics;
  • Age.

It takes years of wear and tear before signs of osteoarthritis manifest. However, young dogs with predisposing conditions e.g. hip or elbow dysplasia can experience symptoms in their first years of life.

Here are some signs that could indicate that your dog has osteoarthritis:

  • Intermittent lameness;
  • Reluctance to rise or move;
  • Stiffness;
  • Visible deformities;
  • Painful joints;
  • Prolonged periods of rest;
  • Exercise intolerance;
  • Depression;
  • Aggression when joints are touched;
  • Abnormal stance when walking.

Speaking more scientifically, osteoarthritis involves degeneration, fibrillation, and loss of cartilage, inflammation, and hyperplasia of the synovial membrane. Abnormal proliferation of bone, and eventually exposure of subchondral bone.

Treatment of Hip Osteoarthritis

Unfortunately, currently, there is no definite treatment for dog hip osteoarthritis. In fact, most treatment regimens focus on symptom management and pain reduction through prescription drugs and supplements.

Since osteoarthritis is a progressive condition, you should act to prevent the speed of its development.

There are many ways to help your dog with osteoarthritis starting from the right bedding, diet, exercise, oils, massages, etc. to more advanced ones.

According to a research article published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science, the most common medical management includes the systemic administration of anti-inflammatory drugs. For example, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, and intra-articular administration of Hyaluronic Acid (HA) that acts as a lubricant.

Improved knowledge about the inflammatory and anti-inflammatory molecules in joint inflammation has promoted the development of more specific solutions for arthritis. 

Hip Osteoarthritis Treatment With Stem Cells

dog osteoarthritis stem cell therapy

Cell-based therapies are considered as a potential treatment for dog hip osteoarthritis and their owners.

Already mentioned research shows that canine MSCs have recently given a new paradigm. For treating chronic arthritic dogs from symptom management to stimulating regeneration of bones and cartilage.

Thereby significantly improving the quality of life.

Overall Stem Cell Therapy is a simple procedure for dogs. Under local anesthesia, the veterinarian injects cells into the injured place. Then injected cells move to the inflamed or damaged tissue. Suppress the inflammation, relieve pain, and cause new tissue to grow. Thereby, preventing pain, lameness, stiffness, and other negative consequences.

Stem cells can differentiate into specialized cells and are able to regenerate tissues such as cartilage, bone, tendon, and muscle.

This new tissue is more like the original tissue than the scar tissue that would typically grow in an untreated inflamed area.

New Research Approves Stem Cell Treatment for Dog Hip Osteoarthritis

Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy for osteoarthritis has a list of strong properties:

  • they are a bioactive living system that can interact with the host immune system and maintain a lasting and adaptable effect;
  • stem cells are anti-inflammatory and therefore should slow or stop the progress of osteoarthritis and improve clinical symptoms;
  • They can “home” to the site of injury within the joint to have a more targeted effect;
  • They have the potential to create new cartilage either directly by differentiation into chondrocytes or by paracrine function to recruit and activate nascent stem cell and progenitor cell populations.

Background of the Research

animal stem cell research medrego

Mesenchymal stem cells can be obtained from different sources. Including bone marrow, periosteum, and umbilical cord blood. Also, dermis, muscle, infrapatellar fat pad, synovial membrane, and adipose tissue.

In order to realize this study, stem cells were derived from a previously examined 5-month-old donor dog during a routine ovariohysterectomy surgical procedure under general anesthesia.

Cells were injected into twenty dogs to treat bilateral osteoarthritis of the coxofemoral hip joint.

Afterward, dog owners were asked to make sure their dogs stay calm at home and gradually increase slow leash walks. Avoid running, jumping, playing, stairs, or over-exertion. Also, not participate in other additional rehabilitation programs.

In order to evaluate improvement research included lameness scoring. It was performed by orthopedic examination with a range of motion and pain assessment while standing, and lameness assessment at a walk and trot. Additionally, owners needed to observe pre- and post-canine brief pain inventory score forms. In order to gain the owner’s perception of their pet’s pain and mobility in the home environment. On top of that veterinarians also filled the pre- and post-assessment forms.

Results of Allogeneic Intra-Articular Administration of MSCs

The research showed that allogeneic intra-articular administration of adipose-derived Mesenchymal stem cells safely and effectively reduced lameness and increased mobility.

Successfully, the average lameness score of all treated dogs was improved. Overall, 65% of the dogs that received various doses of MSCs showed improvement in lameness.

Results showed that the intra-articular administration of allogeneic adipose-derived MSCs was well-tolerated and improved lameness scores and reduced pain in dogs associated with hip osteoarthritis.

All of the used doses in the specific research turned out to be effective. The improved lameness effect was present up to 90 days post-injection. Serum interleukin 10 was increased in the majority of the dogs that received MSCs and that also had improved lameness.

Acknowledgment for the Work Done

The Medrego team is grateful for the investment and work done by the original authors of the study:

Intra-articular Administration of Allogeneic Adipose-Derived MSCs Reduces Pain and Lameness in Dogs With Hip Osteoarthritis: A Double-Blinded, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study.

Chad B. Maki, Anthony Beck, Chan-Benami Cheuk Chi Wallis, Justin Choo, Thomas Ramos, Raymond Tong, Dori L. Borjesson and Fariborz Izadyar.

The Medrego team always suggests consulting a qualified veterinarian for personalized advice.

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Vet MD. Being a veterinarian is my current profession, but living with animals is my biggest passion. I love cats, dogs, and horses and always strive to bring the best solution to each animal. 🐕 🐎 🌎