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University Veterinary Hospital is proud to announce that we are now offering Stem Cell Therapy as a service to our patients. Stem Cell Therapy is a very up and coming science, and has shown great promise in the veterinary community. Please read on for further information on this treatment.

What are stem cells?

There are multiple types of stem cells in our bodies during different stages of life. Stem cells are known as the body’s “repair cells” and have the amazing ability to divide and differentiate into many different types of cells, depending on where they are needed in the body. There are 2 types of stem cells: embryonic stem cells (totipotent), and adult stem cells (multipotent). We work with adult stem cells which are able to differentiate into closely related cell lines, we derive these cells from adipose (fat) tissue. Unlike embryonic stem cells, there are typically no moral or ethical concerns in harvesting adult stem cells like the ones used in our procedures.

How can Stem Cell Therapy (SCT) benefit my pet?

Based upon your pet’s needs, adult stem cells can transform into many different types of cells. Because of this, we can use them to treat joint disease or injury, accelerate healing of fractured bones, and contribute to repair of ligament and tendon damage (although in some cases surgery may still be indicated). Currently SCT is being used mostly for osteoarthritis (hip dysplasia, degenerative joint disease, calcifications, common degeneration and inflammation of joints), soft tissue injuries (cruciate inflammation, tears, ruptures), and to improve healing of fractures. Please keep in mind that SCT will not heal a torn ligament or fractured bone on it’s own, but can be used to enhance surgical correction. There is significant documentation and many clinical trials that support the use of stem cell therapy in these conditions. Ongoing research for SCT targeting other ailments (renal failure, IBD, liver failure, etc) has shown to be promising but is still considered experimental.

What exactly is the procedure for Stem Cell Therapy?

Your pet would be hospitalized for the day and undergo a minimally invasive surgery to remove 2-4 tablespoons of fat from their abdomen. It takes our technicians about 3 hours to process this fat in-house and turn it into an injection that is then given to your pet in the affected joint and/or intravenously. We would continue to monitor your pet after the injections were given and typically discharge them the same day. Because the injection is made up of cells derived from your pet, there is little to no risk of reaction.

How soon after the procedure will I notice results?

We want to stress that, although this is a very promising new procedure, not every pet will see positive results. According to MediVet America, the company we work with, they see a range of improvement in up to 95% of their patients. Results vary in every patient from minor to marked improvement. Some owners have reported seeing improvement in as little as a week, but it may take up to 90 days after receiving the injection. Some patients require multiple injections before results are seen which is why MediVet offers cell “banking” so that your pet doesn’t have to undergo multiple surgeries for subsequent injections. Some pets have been able to discontinue NSAID (Rimadyl, Metacam, etc.) treatment after undergoing SCT.

How long does the treatment last?

If results are seen, they tend to last for 1-3 years after the initial treatment. If you choose to bank your pet’s stem cells then subsequent treatments are very easy to give and your pet won’t need to have another surgery, although some pets may require sedation for the injection itself (if given in the joint).

How do I “bank” my pet’s cells?

MediVet offers the option to store any unused stem cells at their facilities for future use. There is a nominal fee in addition to an annual storage fee. This is one of the options offered to you at the time of treatment.

Are there any patients that shouldn’t undergo Stem Cell Therapy?

Yes. Patients who have cancer or an active infection shouldn’t undergo SCT. Patients who are considered “high risk” for anesthesia (patients with renal disease, liver disease, cardiac disease, etc) should only undergo the procedure as a last resort for treatment after traditional methods have been exhausted. If the owner, fully understanding the associated risks and expectations, still wants to pursue further care then SCT can be done.

For more information on MediVet Technology, visit their website at http://www.medivet-america.com/ !

 


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