Stem cell therapy might be a controversial subject when it comes to humans, but it’s quickly developing into a realistic solution for dogs with torn ligaments or complications from arthritis.
Stem Cell Therapy
Canine stem cells can help your dog’s body heal itself. When injected into the joints, the cells work to repair joint and ligament damage. The veterinarian draws stem cells from a healthy part of your dog’s body, mixes in blood and then injects it into the area she’s treating.
According to Vet-Stem Regenerative Veterinary Medicine in Poway, California, stem cell therapy for dogs has been used successfully to treat tendon and ligament injuries, canine osteoarthritis in the hips, elbows, knees and shoulders and in canine immune-mediated polyarthritis.
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Find Out If Your Dog Is a Candidate
Vet-Stem gives a list of criteria its veterinarians use to determine whether or not stem cell therapy is appropriate for your pet. If your dog has arthritis and at least 1 of the following conditions, you might want to talk with your vet about this kind of therapy:
- He does not respond to pain medication or can’t tolerate it.
- His age or health makes surgery too big a risk.
- He has arthritis in more than 1 joint.
- He has ACVIM.
- He needs long-term pain medication.
Stem cell therapy for dogs also appeals to families who prefer natural therapies to surgical or medical procedures.
Successful Case Studies
Most recently, the Lilydale Vet Centre in Yarra Ranges, Victoria, Australia, made news after successfully using stem cell therapy on 3 pets that produced amazing results within days.
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As Lilydale vet Renier Oosthuizen said to the Lilydale & Yarro Valley Leader, “We are seeing more dogs with these kinds of issues because their lifestyles have changed; they are heavier than they used to be. And we see quite a few older pets where surgery is not always the right option; this way it is less invasive and that is the key.”
Watch an adorable German Shepherd receive stem cell therapy for hip dysplasia in this video:
Stem Cell Therapy Expenses
Used for years in treating horses, stem cell therapy has become available option for domestic pet veterinarians only recently.
“It’s been in Victoria for about 18 months,” Dr. Oosthuizen said. “I have been a vet for 26 years, but I could not have imagined this was possible even 5 years ago.”
If you decide to pursue it, prepare to pay from $2,000 to $5,000 for the treatment. Since stem cell therapy for dogs is only in infancy, the cost might go down as the technology becomes more readily available.