Stem Cell Therapy Treats Arthritis and Hip Dysplasia

Reuben, a 9-year-old English springer spaniel, entered the Woodside Animal Clinic on Wednesday suffering from hip dysplasia and arthritis that limited his mobility.

A few hours later, the dog walked out on his own, ready to recuperate at home, thanks to a cutting-edge treatment that involves harvesting and reinjecting the dog’s own stem cells.

Dr. John Simon said Woodside is the first clinic in Michigan to perform the in-house adult stem cell therapy, which involves harvesting and injecting an animal’s stem cells the same day. There are veterinarians in the state who provide a similar service but send the cells to an outside lab for harvesting.

“I’ve been practicing for 40 years, and I’ve never seen any breakthrough of this size before,” Simon said of in-house cell harvesting. “What it will be allowing veterinarians to do is rehabilitate damage to the joints, joints that have been degenerative because of age and because of trauma. It allows older animals to actually live longer because they’ll be able to get up and move around.”

Reuben’s therapy began with light anesthesia, followed by a small incision in his back, where Simon took a tablespoon of fat.

Simon then put the fat through a laser, which allowed him to harvest the stem cells he injected into Reuben’s joints. The dog also received the cells intravenously to help heal other areas that are inflamed. There’s no risk of rejection because the cells come from the dog, Simon said. The therapy costs about $2,000.

Reuben’s hips are expected to improve in two or three weeks, and the joints will take about two months to heal, Simon said.

Pam Baumann, Reuben’s owner, said she looks forward to taking walks and encouraging Reuben to play with his buddy, a 15-year-old cocker spaniel named Sophie. “We’re hoping we’ll get our active, mobile dog back,” she said. “This will help him be even more sweet than he already is.”

Researchers across the world are studying the development adult stem cell therapy for humans, said Jeremy Delk, chief executive officer of MediVet, which provided Simon with the training and equipment.

“I’m excited not only for Reuben, but I’m excited that this would be for people one day,” Baumann said.

From The Detroit News:

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  1. Elyse and Riley says

    Interesting. I've never heard of this before. This sure is much cheaper than a hip replacement! I'll have to look into this for Riley's hips. I wonder if they do this anywhere on the East Coast?

    Elyse (and Riley)

  2. Amazes me how long it took the scientific community to realize that an animals (or a human's) own stem cells could preform miracles.
    It has long been known that stem cells (be they fetal or adult) can change to the type of cell they are placed with. At least our animal buddies will be allowed to live longer, healthier, more painfree lives. Now to get them to reduce the cost!!

  3. Lorie Huston, DVM says

    Stem cell therapy is, indeed, an exciting development. Right now, it's being used primarily for orthopedic problems in dogs but it's also being investigated as a possible treatment option for many different diseases, including liver disease, heart disease and more. Thanks for this article, Felissa.

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