Stem Cell Therapy

Stem Cell Therapy at Wedington Animal Hospital

When your pet hurts, so do you. It's tough to watch your four-legged friend suffer from a nagging injury or degenerative joint problem -- and even tougher to think about subjecting him to the additional pain and lengthy recovery times of major surgery. But now there's another option that promises to relieve several such conditions by applying your pet's own healing mechanisms to the problem: a form of regenerative medicine known as stem cell therapy. Here at Wedington Animal Hospital, we can provide this form of therapy for your pet.

What Is Stem Cell Therapy?

Stem cell therapy is a non-surgical technique that relies on the remarkable abilities of undifferentiated cells called stem cells. these cells are sometimes referred to as "blank slate" cells because they're still at the stage where they have the potential to transform into specialized cells, including blood cells, liver cells, brain cells, muscle cells, cartilage cells, nerve cells, bone cells, or any other kind of cell in the body. When a stem cell is brought into close proximity with a particular type of specialized cell, the specialized cell exerts biochemical influences on it that cause it to turn into the same type of cell. This process is not only a primary mechanism for the initial development of tissues in a developing body; it also plays a key role in the regeneration of damaged or ailing tissues. The problem is that those tissues may not have ready access to larger stores of stem cells tucked away in other areas of the body.

Stem cell therapy solves the problem of getting sufficient numbers of stem cells to the tissues that need them the most. By removing the stem cells from a rich source, putting them together in a concentrated form, and then injecting them directly into the area in need of treatment, your veterinarian in Fayetteville AR can greatly increase the ability of your pet's body to implement its own self-repair processes.

The Stem Cell Therapy Procedure

Stem cells are generally found in great numbers in the bone marrow and in fat deposits. Extracting the cells from fat is the easiest way of getting them. Once your pet is anesthetized, our veterinarian will insert a special needle into a fatty part of your pet's body (such as the abdominal or shoulder area) to retrieve a fat sample. The fat will then go to the laboratory for processing so that the stem cells can be isolated and collected from it, a process that may take 48 hours. Your pet will then visit us a second time so we can inject the potent concentration of stem cells into his body at the site of the injury or chronic condition (again under general anesthesia).  We will recommend that your pet's activity level be limited over the next 10 days or so as the treatment takes hold.

Benefits of Stem Cell Therapy

Shortly after the stem cells are introduced to the specific tissues they are meant to treat, they will begin assuming the form of the specialized cells in question. Since it takes time to rebuild tissues, it may be 2 weeks or more before you begin to see improvements in your pet's comfort and mobility. Once the benefits become evident, however, they can easily continue to help your pet from anywhere from 18 to 24 months. Better yet, stem cell treatment can be repeated as necessary to help minimize and control chronic pain and stiffness, making it a smart alternative to heavy medications -- especially for pets that might not be well-suited for such medications.

Stem cell therapy can be an effective form of care for variety of conditions. Although it should not be touted as a "cure-all," it has demonstrated impressive results in the treatment of degenerative joint conditions, notably osteoarthritis. According to one 90-day study of 155 arthritic dogs, 99 percent of the animals who received stem cell therapy displayed improvements in their degree of lameness, comfort and/or mobility. Stem cell therapy can also be used to treat fractures, joint injuries, tendon/ligament damage and hip dysplasia. It even shows promise as a future treatment tool for issues ranging from dry eye in dogs to an oral disease called stomatitis in cats.

Learn More From Our Veterinarian in Fayetteville AR

Before we can recommend stem cell therapy, we have to make certain that your pet is a good candidate for the procedure. We do this by performing comprehensive blood tests and other evaluations to check for any underlying health problems that might produce complications. To find out whether stem cell therapy is right for your special friend, call Wedington Animal hospital today at (479) 444-6600 for an evaluation with your veterinarian in Fayeteville AR!