by Cate Burnette, RVT
With all the new advances in veterinary medicine, many dog owners are turning to stem-cell therapy to relieve their animals of the pain and inflammation associated with such ailments as arthritis, hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, and many tendon and ligament injuries.
Vet-Stem out of San Diego, California is the first company in the U.S. to use stem cells processed from your dog’s fatty tissues in regenerative medicine.
The way the process works is three-fold:
First, your veterinarian collects cells from the fatty areas of your dog’s body, usually the stomach or rump.
Second, that sample is shipped to Vet-Stem where it is processed, and the stem cells in the tissue are concentrated into a number of injections.
Third, your veterinarian then injects these stem cells back into the affected area where they begin working and building new tissue to replace injured or torn bone, tendon, ligament, and muscle.
According to statistics provided by Vet-Stem, over 80 percent of older and younger dogs with severe arthritic pain showed major improvements in their quality of life, and over 34 percent were able to be completely removed from treatment with pain medications.
A June, 2008 article in Time Magazine reports that, in one particular case, a 3½-year-old German Shepherd diagnosed with severe hip dysplasia was noticeably showing improvement only 36 hours after treatment and was considered totally cured a year later.
While the treatments do not come cheap, running up to $5000 for fat extraction, injections, and follow-ups, they can be less expensive than hip replacement surgery and the recovery time is much faster and appears to be showing better results.
For those pet owners reluctant to try what is still considered experimental surgery by some in the veterinary community, or those pet parents where the cost is prohibitive, there are other, less expensive, alternatives.
Over-the-counter glucosamine chondroitin found at your local drugstore can help restore needed joint fluids to arthritic dogs. Most dogs can take up to 1000 mgs. daily without any problems, but you’ll want to check with your veterinarian before starting this medication.
All-natural, collagen-based Happy Tails’ Joint Resolution is a liquid compound containing both Collagen Type 2, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid that promotes the growth of new cartilage and reduces further injury to already-damaged joints. A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Pharmacological and Therapeutics showed that Collagen Type 2 “reduced pain and lameness in arthritic dogs and improved their overall activity.”
“We have a 4 year old English bulldog named Gus who loves to chase and tug and jump,” says Anna Buck of Houston, TX. “He was diagnosed with hip dysplasia a year ago. At that time, he had started limping and really slowing down. We discovered Joint Resolution about 6 months later and after only one month, we noticed that Gus completely stopped limping. He started playing more and jumping higher than he ever had. This product has been amazing! Even though it is not a cure for his condition, it has given us a way to manage his condition and give Gus a less painful, better quality of life.”
As part of any alternative medical plan for your aging or injured dog, all-natural medications with ingredients like collagen, chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, and herbs like devils claw root, licorice, dandelion and boswellia, as well as new innovations like stem-cell therapy might just be what your pet needs to be off steroids and pain-free.