Stem Cell Therapy For Dogs

October 22, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Unlocking the secrets of stem cells is the breakthrough that's still giving us startling medical advances, so why not put it to use for our best friends?Getting a massage from her master is one of Maggie Mae's favorite things. This 10-year-old Australian shepherd joined Terry Hays' family just a year ago; a rescued dog, left abandoned.

"She just touched my heart, really strongly," says Hays

But the neglect left her in pain, suffering from arthritis. "She stays pretty still. She moans and groans when she lays down or when she gets up."

To get relief in her hips and her elbows, Maggie Mae is set to get a one-of-a-kind, stem cell therapy. "She's got three joints that are -- we hope, will be positively affected by the stem cell treatment," says Hays.

The vet-stem regenerative cell, or VSRC therapy, is now being used to treat arthritis as well as tendon and ligament injuries in small animals. The stem cells are taken from the dog's own fat.

Jeff Peck, DVM Veterinarian, says "So it's not from embryo and it's not from the bone marrow. It's taken from fat and that's one of the huge advantages of it because, number one, you always have a donor."

Veterinarians extract fat from Maggie Mae. Stem cells and regenerative cells are then isolated. Those cells are injected back into Maggie, directly into her joints.

Peck says, "We know we are not going to make those tissues normal, but it will suppress inflammation, slow the progression of the degenerative changes in many cases, but also provide pain relief."

Fast forward six weeks after surgery and this is Maggie now.

And now the same therapy that helped Maggie Mae is moving into clinical trials on a dog's best friend and could someday help humans.

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