Regenerative Stem Cell Therapy for Dogs

New stem cell therapies have been developed and are now being effectively used in veterinary medicine. Adult stem cells are multi-potent cells capable of differentiating into mature cells from a variety of cell lineages. They are found in most tissues and are believed to participate in normal tissue homeostasis and tissue repair.

Adult stem cells can be used clinically to promote tissue regeneration and alter the progression of disease. Stem cell therapy is used in the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA), as well as tendon and ligament injuries, and non-healing fractures in dogs and horses. Stem cell therapy is contraindicated in patients with neoplastic disease due to possible potentiating of disease, so discuss this with your veterinarian before pursuing stem cell therapy.

Stem cells are found in a variety of tissues. However, harvesting cells from adipose tissue has multiple benefits including, having a readily available source with high tissue volume and low morbidity, and greater stem cell concentrations compared to that obtained from bone marrow or other sites. We collect adipose tissue from subcutaneous areas in the scapular or inguinal area, or falciform fat. After collection, the sample is sent to Vet-Stem to be washed and purified into a stromal vascular fraction (SVF) containing a heterogenous mixture of cells. The SVF is suspended and can be injected intra-articularly and/or intravenously for treatment of multiple sites.

After injection, restriction of activity and exercise is recommended to protect the joints during the reparative processes. Leash walking, passive range of motion exercises, weight shifting exercises and aquatic therapy are great activities following stem cell therapy. These rehabilitative exercises are used to promote limb use by increasing/maintaining range of motion and weight bearing by protecting new cartilage formation with low impact exercises.

Clinical improvement has been seen in 2 to 4 weeks after treatment. One injection has been reported to have at least a 6-month duration of effect, however anecdotal reports describe improvement beyond 18 months. Results are individual and variable, as with any treatment. Stem cells can also be cultured and banked for future use.

Stem cell therapy has been shown to diminish clinical signs of osteoarthritis in dogs, and is being used in human clinical trials of many diseases. The potential benefits of stem cell therapy towards improving the quality of your pet’s life are invaluable. We are looking forward to contributing to the research needed for its long-term response and benefits. So far, we have had great clinical success with 10 dogs experiencing chronic arthritis and joint disease. For more information, or to answer your questions, please contact Dr. Ben Ealing at b.ealing.dvm@bracpet.com or 317.257.5334.

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