Stem Cell Therapy experience: An opportunity for arthritic dogs
A couple of years ago, Brad Perry’s dogs started having joint problems. Cowboy, the golden retriever, developed a severe case of arthritis, while Mr. Jones, the mutt, tore the ligaments in both of his knees during some overenthusiastic play.
“It was so sad. They wouldn’t even come to the door to greet me they were in so much pain. It just broke my heart,”
recalled Perry, a tractor-trailer driver from Alexandria, Ky. Perry gave the dogs all sorts of medications, but nothing worked, and he knew such medications could result in kidney and liver damage. The dogs’ suffering became so great, Perry considered putting the pets down. But late last year he heard about a veterinarian in his area who performed stem cell therapy on dogs to regenerate and repair their joints and figured it was worth a try.
Cowboy underwent the procedure first. Mr. Jones followed a few months later. Perry said that within 10 days of receiving treatment the dogs were like puppies again, chasing his kids, running around in the park and swimming in the lake.
The therapy works because stem cells are the only cells in the body that have the ability to transform themselves into other types of specialized cells – such as cartilage – making them a potent tool for repairing damaged and deteriorating joints. There are 50 to 1,000 times more stem cells in the fat than bone marrow, a source that was more consistently used in animal – and human – stem cell therapy until the fat method started becoming more popular.
John Sector, the owner of Shelby St. Veterinarian Hospital in Florence, who performed the surgery on Cowboy and Mr. Jones, had high praise for the therapy.
“This is potentially a game changer. We’re seeing incredible results in the joints. We also see some unexpected improvements in other things, like skin conditions,” he said.
However, stem cell remedies, even for animals, are still considered experimental. Shila Nordone, the chief scientific officer at the AKC Canine Health Foundation, a nonprofit group that funds health research for dogs, said that its use for joint regenerative purposes is exciting, but that the lower regulatory bar in animal medicine is both good and bad.
“It’s good because we can do things sooner for our patients without 10 years of expensive clinical trials, but bad because we are still in the process of establishing best practices to ensure the procedures are the safest and most effective possible,” she said.
Studies funded by the Health Foundation and others have been promising.
One study of more than 150 dogs found improvements in joint stiffness, mobility and other joint health indicators in nearly 95% of arthritic cases.
In some patients, improvements were seen in as little as a week while others took up to 90 days and required multiple injections.
The cost of a single procedure may vary, depending on the area of the country, the species of animal and severity of joint damage. In some countries, pet insurance can even help to cover the expenses of stem cell therapy. But pet owners like Perry believe it is worth every penny.
“They are completely different dogs. It absolutely changed their lives,”
Perry said of Cowboy and Mr. Jones. “It changed mine too – I got my dogs back.”
If you are interested in a Stem Cell Therapy for your animal orthopedic treatment, such as arthritis, hip dysplasia, and others, contact us now! We offer autologous and allogeneic Stem Cell Therapy to help your four-legged friend to recover and thrive.