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Wednesday, August 31, 2011
12 Year Old Lab Doing Well After Stem Cell Treatment
Robert Meloche, Misty’s owner, considered putting her down earlier this year because his pet was miserable. She couldn’t walk up stairs and she was in pain.
Misty had arthritis in her knees and calcification in her front left paw. A month after paying $2,000 for a stem cell treatment, Misty was a new dog.
“She’s up and running,” he said. “She jumps into the pool. She has no problem going up and down the stairs. She’s prancing.”
Misty became so puppy-like she was sneaking off with shoes to chew. The treasured family dog has become so boisterous that they have to watch her more closely to make sure she doesn’t overdo it.
The Essex Animal Hospital, which has one of the province’s largest rehabilitation units, is now offering stem cell therapy to help pooches heal joints and ligament damage. The procedure, which costs up to $2,500, is done at the clinic.
Stem cells are removed from the canine, mixed with plasma and processed at an on site laboratory. The cells are then injected into the dog in the area in need of healing. The procedure takes about three hours. The procedure works best in conjunction with physical therapy.
“It definitely improves the quality of life,” said Dr. Janet Huntingford, a veterinarian who has owned the clinic since 1986.
Stem cells were first used in thoroughbred horses. The treatments are not commonly available and are only offered at a handful of clinics in the province, she said.
While there are some case reports documenting the results of the treatment, there’s nothing proving its effectiveness except observing how the patients react.
“It’s not the owner saying the dog is a lot better, but has the muscle bulk increased?” Huntingford said. “Has the range of motion increased to 140 degrees? That’s a measurable scientific thing.”
The three dogs that underwent the procedure since it was offered in April do physical therapy like walking on a treadmill in a salt water pool to improve fitness and build muscle without jarring tender ligaments.
After the procedure, Misty had physical therapy twice a week until she built muscle mass and then it tapered off, Meloche said.
The procedure is “cutting edge,” said Cathy Carnevale, the clinic’s manager. “We get dogs coming in on stretchers and after therapy they walk after two or three months.” Read more www.nationalpost.com