All pet owners know the feeling. Your dog is on the cold, metal exam room table, and the vet gives you some tough-to-swallow news. Your pup isn’t doing well, and surgery seems like the only route. But then the vet brings up a different option–a new treatment that could make a considerable difference in the quality of life for your old friend. Dog stem cell therapy is gaining traction within the veterinary community, and many pet owners report favorable results in using it to treat conditions like canine arthritis.
Stem cells are a type of cell found in the bodies of humans and animals that can take on the traits of nearly any other cell. Human doctors have seen remarkable success using stem cells to treat diseases and conditions, most commonly through the use of bone marrow transplants. And good news for pet parents–the therapy is also effective on dogs, using cells that are already found in the animals’ fatty tissue.
Here are the basics of the procedure. While your pet is under general anesthesia, the vet extracts a small amount of cells from her fatty tissue, usually around her midsection. The cells are transported to a lab where the stem cells are isolated, then shipped back to the vet. The cells are injected back into your dog at the site of inflammation while she’s under local anesthesia. The injection site will vary case by case, but it’s usually around inflamed hip or leg joints affected by arthritis.
How long until you see a difference? That depends. Some pet owners report seeing improved conditions almost immediately, while others say their pet’s condition seemed to get noticeably better within a few weeks. Many say older pets who struggled to walk now move around with less pain, or are once again able to jump onto couches and beds.
The scientific jury is still out regarding the therapy; as it’s a relatively new form of treatment, few studies have been done to measure its actual rate of success. And it doesn’t come cheap. Most stem cell therapy programs require multiple sessions with your vet at a cost of anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000. Many vets offer payment plans and health credit accounts to ease the financial burden on clients.
One thing is clear: if your senior dog is suffering from arthritis or inflammation, canine stem cell therapy is a viable treatment option to talk over with your vet. As all dog owners know, when your pup feels better, so do you, and this new treatment method may be the thing that gives your pooch a new leash on life!
Dogged by pain – Stem Cell Therapy for Dogs