Vet Uses Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine for Senior Dogs
Advances in stem cell therapy grow in leaps and bounds, and veterinarians are turning to regenerative treatments for their furry patients.
Dr. Farid Saleh is with the Ehrlich Animal Hospital in Tampa, Florida. When the Schmelings brought their nine-year-old dog, Alex, to him with complaints of knee pain, Dr. Saleh suggested stem cell treatment to help regenerate tissue around the knee.
The Schmeling family considers Alex like a daughter and decided that nine years old was too young to feel so old. They agreed to the regenerative treatment and are thrilled with the results.
Dr. Saleh removed some fat from Alex’s tummy, harvested cells and then injected those cells into her knee. The whole procedure was done in one day, right there at the animal hospital, and the Schmelings said that after a few months, it was like Alex was back to her old self. Alex is now 12-years-old, and Judy Schmeling says that sometimes Alex even acts like a puppy!
Dr. Saleh says that stem cell therapy allows the body the opportunity to regrow tissue from itself, instead of trying to artificially heal diseased tissue. Dr. Saleh says that in Alex’s case, they were able to harvest the cells they needed at the time, but he suggests that harvesting stem cells at a younger age could be beneficial to pets as they age.
This is not uncommon in humans, as many opt to save cord tissue and blood when their babies are born in case stem cell therapy is ever needed to tackle future medical issues. Dr. Selah says that a similar process for younger dogs would be something that could be easily done when they are already under anesthesia for procedures like spaying, neutering or teeth cleaning. Anesthesia recovery in older dogs is always an issue when undergoing any treatment, and having stored cells could be revolutionary in pet care of the future.
Companies currently store the harvested cells, for an annual fee, and the most common uses are for canine arthritis and bone or joint injury. However, research shows every day that future uses may be options for chronic diseases of the kidney, liver, heart and immune system.