Stem Cell Therapy in Small Animals

What’s the first thing that comes to mind with stem cells?  Cloning, growing ears in a culture plate, moral dilemma with abnormal creation?  Well, put your minds at ease.  With small animal stem cell therapy, we are not growing a product from embryonic stem cells (cells from placenta/embryo).  Instead, we collect and use adult stem cells.  These cells are multipotent, which means they can differentiate into a variety of cell lines but are not capable of creating a complete organ.  The cells are collected by surgically extracting fat from your pet, combined with blood products (also from your pet), and a special light activating source to “wake up” the adult stem cells.  Once the cells are collected and processed, we reintroduce them back into the same patient.  Whether injected into a joint or the blood stream, the cells can migrate to the affected areas which can promote pain relief and regeneration.  This entire process can be performed in the same day.  We also have the option to “bank” or store stem cells for use at a later time.  This allows us to collect stem cells during your pets’ neuter or spay to store them for use later down the road.

While the majority of patients using stem cell therapy are older animals with osteoarthritis, it has also revealed exciting results with autoimmune diseases, fractures, or post surgically (ACL tears/patella luxation repairs).  Other conditions which have been treated and are still being evaluated for efficacy include renal failure, inflammatory bowel disease, and a variety of ocular conditions.  Some of these conditions will only need one course of therapy while more chronic conditions may need repeated therapy.

Overall, up to 95% of arthritic patients have a positive clinical improvement after receiving stem cell therapy.  While some owners report seeing a positive impact within a week, typically we expect to see an improvement within the first 90 days.

We are excited to be at the forefront of this medical technology.  Other than the risk of anesthesia, this is quite safe since we are taking cells from your pet and re-administering them back to your pet.