Stem Cell Therapy
Two of our young patients, Leela, a 2 year old border collie and Angus, a one year old Scottish deerhound, underwent stem cell therapy.
Angus was playing in deep snow and had got his hind leg stuck in a fence. When he pulled his leg out of the fence, he created a tear in the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. The function of a ligament is to hold bone to bone. In this case it is connecting the femur to the tibia to make up the knee joint or stifle. Angus was incredibly painful and unable to bear weight on his leg. There were two choices to repair Angus’s ligament, a surgical repair which, replaces the natural ligament with one made of a strong suture material, or stem cell therapy. Angus’s family chose to try the stem cell therapy.
Leela has severe hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is an abnormal formation of the hip socket. Leela was incredibly painful and very reluctant to exercise. She required pain medications on a regular basis. Leela was also on a diet specifically formulated to help with her mobility. Leela’s family decided to try stem cell therapy rather than a total hip replacement.
Stem cell therapy is a new treatment for dogs with arthritis and tendon and ligament injuries. The stem cells can increase the body’s ability to decrease inflammation, they home in on damaged tissues and recruit other cells that help with tissue growth, they support tissue remodeling over scar formation, and are able to differentiate into bone, cartilage, tendon, and ligament tissue.
To harvest the stem cells, both Leela and Angus had a general anesthetic, and then Dr. Nicol removed approximately two table spoons of fat tissues from their abdomens. The fat tissue is shipped in a special media on ice to Vet-Stem, a laboratory in California that harvests the stem cells from the fat tissue. The laboratory in California keep some of the cells in a bank at their laboratory so if Angus or Leela need a treatment in the future we can gave them shipped to us. The laboratory has an advanced technology which enables them to take the cells and grow new ones directly from the original cells. The cells are shipped back to us immediately. The time from collection to the laboratory in California and back to us is usually 48 hours. The family’s of Leela and Angus are on standby while we wait for the cells to arrive. Both of the dogs had another general anesthetic, they needed to be asleep so we could clip and surgically prep the joints so we could inject the stem cells into them. A portion of the cells is injected intravenously. The cells travel through the venous system to treat damaged cells.
Today, Angus’ ligament is one hundred percent healed. We tried to get a video of him running but we were unsuccessful because he is too fast!
Leela’s mobility has improved considerably, her family is able to take her for hikes and she is able to play with her housemate, Jake. She has not had to have pain medication for the entire year since her stem cell treatment.
Learn more about Vet-Stem at www.vet-stem.com