A Dog’s Perspective on Stem-Cell Therapy

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May 6, 2010
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June 9, 2010

A Dog’s Perspective on Stem-Cell Therapy

I enjoy the wide variety of topics that come my way as an animal communicator. Last month I had my first experience with a dog who’s humans were considering a stem-cell treatment to strengthen his joints. I appreciate their strategy in digging for all relevant information about the procedure, benefits, risks, and possible outcomes. Along with this, they wanted to know how the dog felt about more work on his joints (he’s had three previous surgeries).

There are three sides to the story:

According to the veterinarian staff, the dog is a candidate for the treatment.

According to his guardians, there are no obvious downsides to the treatment.

What was the dog’s response when asked about the treatment? At first he registered a little confusion because he is feeling quite well right now, with only a minor twinge in one hip occasionally. We explained that the treatment would be intended for long-term benefit, potentially strengthening the joints to avoid painful injuries and to slow the degeneration of his joints in the future. This was certainly interesting to him, and yet in his doggy way it is all about the here and now!  The treatment meant several months’ recuperation with limited intense activity. The dog’s summertime plans certainly included some intense activities, including hiking with his humans and playing with visiting animal companions. His hope: to delay the treatment until the weather was not so inviting. His humans were happy to honor that request.

I was curious about the treatment and did a little research myself. Early media attention was focused on the human use of embryonic stem cells, a controversial concept, to be sure. Now, the ability to use an animal’s own tissue to generate the needed stem cells to be re-injected into the same animal seems to have little controversy, and is becoming a more recognized and offered treatment for animals, canines in particular.

As described by the dog’s human, the procedure they were considering is minimally invasive. A simple needle aspiration would extract cells from the dog’s own tissue, and the stem cells would be separated out, left for a period of time to grow and cure, then be injected into the joint areas in question. While minimally invasive, the animal is restricted from intense activity for several months – up to four months in this particular case – while the cells attach and grow properly.

This being my first direct contact with canine stem-cell therapy, I am curious about other stem-cell treatments; perhaps a different procedure, different reason for treatment, or the use of a stem-cell treatment on a horse or feline. If you’ve had experience with stem-cell therapy and would be willing to share your comments, please do!

I look forward to working with your beloved animals for a variety of relevant topics. Schedule your animal communication consultation now for a deeper understanding of behaviors, symptoms, and quality of life.

2 Comments

  1. see the facebook page for dog stem cell therapy for information from dog owners. http://www.facebook.com/VetStem is the website

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