Success: stem cell treatment for degenerative myelopathy - Page 4 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #31 of 112 (permalink) Old 07-22-2011, 06:29 PM
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Thank you for the information. I have PM Riley's owner so hopefully she will get back to me soon. I also found your links very helpful and have already emailed to inquire about the stem cell treatment. Thank you again and I will update Hans' progress.
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post #32 of 112 (permalink) Old 07-24-2011, 02:33 AM
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Sadie's stem cell journey - so far.

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Originally Posted by dvitola View Post
Hi all, I am new to this Forum and need some help for my GSD.

My boy Hans (9yrs old) has DM and I am looking for any and all information on the stem cell Therapy. Also, any information on vitamins or any thing else would be appreciated. I have him in a Biko Brace now to be able to exercise him more and that seems to be helping. I have had to put boots on both back feet because of dragging and wearing the nails down to bleeding. They also seem to be helping and he is such a good boy about anything I put on him. I also take him swimming every other day which he loves!
My 12 yr old female had bad hips. She would walk with her feet together, drag her paws and hold her back legs together until the very bottom and took very short steps. Glucosimine worked great for years but was no longer able to help. I went to her vet to discuss pain management options and learned about the treatment. We proceded in early May. I will try to describe her journey so far - good and bad. If you don't care to read it all, long story short, I would DEFINITELY do this procedure again. Not only is she able to stand up without struggling but is apparently no longer in pain, easily goes up and down stairs, plays with the other dogs and is truly enjoying her life again - not just living it out.

- Went to vet, found out about procedure and decided to proceed. While doing pre-procedure health testing, we discovered she had "breakthrough heartworms" that were not seen in her annual exam four months earlier. While on heartworm preventative her entire life, it seems she is one of the breakthrough cases found in the Mississippi River area. We chose to do the stem cell first then wait a month before starting heartworm treatment.
-Post surgery pain was more than I had anticipated. She was hurting pretty badly for a few days and was clearly sore for a few days after that.
- We saw no improvement unit about four weeks. Over night her stride started to get longer and longer. This continued to improve for the next few weeks.
-While her stride was improving, one leg seemed significantly weaker than the other. This lasted about 2 - 3 weeks until the leg seemed to catch up to the other.
- About 7 - 8 weeks post procedure, we saw that she started carrying her legs further apart and no longer had the mermaid effect going on.
-While her range of motion and spread of the back legs continued to improve, her legs appeared to be wobbling very badly at this stage. While I suspected, her vet confirmed that her muscles had atrophied from lack of use. Because of the heartworm treatment, we have to be very careful and conservative with her therapy for this. We take short walks in tall grass so she has to pick up her back legs. I also tickle her belly so she will kick the back legs. BTW, she had not kicked her back legs during belly rubs for YEARS until having the stem cell therapy. Now it happens every time she gets her belly rubbed and she seems to love it. Her legs muscles seemed to be improving slowly but surely. Her vet says this will probably take longer than the joint regeneration.
- It is the third week of July and this is where we are so far. My vet continues routine follow up on her (weekly) as he is extremely interested in her progress as she is only his third stem cell dog. His was his first. It was a bird dog with bad back legs and and a front shoulder degenerative disease that had plagued the dog since it was four years old. He says that while the experts say you can expect to see improvement for up to three months, he has seen his dog continue to improve for the last six months although not as significantly as the first few. He has posted a video on youtube of his dog before the procedure and two months later. You can view it by going to youtube, then search "Hillcrest animal hospital" and click on the stem cell video that comes up. For me, it is the first video under that search.

Good luck with your dog. I can truly empathize with you and hope if you choose to do this, your dog has as much success as mine.
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post #33 of 112 (permalink) Old 07-24-2011, 03:21 AM
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More input from Sadie's mom

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Originally Posted by dvitola View Post
Hi all, I am new to this Forum and need some help for my GSD.

My boy Hans (9yrs old) has DM and I am looking for any and all information on the stem cell Therapy. Also, any information on vitamins or any thing else would be appreciated. I have him in a Biko Brace now to be able to exercise him more and that seems to be helping. I have had to put boots on both back feet because of dragging and wearing the nails down to bleeding. They also seem to be helping and he is such a good boy about anything I put on him. I also take him swimming every other day which he loves!
I have noticed in some of the other posts they talked about their dogs "maintaining". I wanted to emphasize that my vet was clear that this is only successful in about 80% of the dogs that it is conducted on so far. His training in the procedure was recent, Jan 2011, so I am pretty sure he has up to date information. I can tell you that Sadie has not only maintained but we have seen SIGNIFICANT improvement. I took preprocedure videos of her condition. In those, she would not go up the steps for my husband although she was dying to be with him. They also show her not wanting to stand up and struggling when she did. There are also some of her labored walking. I am waiting to shoot the "after" videos for another three weeks or more so she is off heartworm house arrest. I will post these on youtube after she is free to roam and go wide open. She is dying to run and I can't wait to see that. I can tell you that it is amazing seeing what has happened so far. She gets up relatively easily and without pain, sneaks up the steps anytime she can if someone is upstairs even though we have them blocked as part of her house arrest. She also jumps in the car before I can slow her down when she is on her way for her vet check ups. This is something she hasn't been able to do in years. However, the most amazing part is seeing her enjoying being a dog again and having that "sparkle" back in her eyes.
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post #34 of 112 (permalink) Old 07-24-2011, 10:21 AM
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tchouros, does your dog have DM, or just bad hips? Which stem cell therapy did you use? Did you use Vet Stem? In any case, it's good to hear of her improvement!
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post #35 of 112 (permalink) Old 07-24-2011, 11:41 AM
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tchouros, does your dog have DM, or just bad hips? Which stem cell therapy did you use? Did you use Vet Stem? In any case, it's good to hear of her improvement!
I am sorry, to be honest, I cannot remember if it was Vet Stem. When we looked into it, I had the website and looked up all the information I could but my vet has just always referred to it as stem cell. I will ask him the next time we are in there which is about 1 1/2 weeks from now. What is the difference? I can tell you her vet harvested her fat, removed the stem cells and did the injection in both hips all in the same day. The remaining stem cells were administered via I.V. Within a few months of first discussing it with my vet, the procedure went from him harvesting the cells and having to send them off where they would come back in two weeks and he would do the injection to him actually doing it all in house. This update seems to have been pretty recent (since January). I also know he sheduled the procedure on his day off so he could spend the entire day with her to make sure everything was perfect and she was doing well.

Sadie had arthritis in her hips. We searched a long time to find a good breeder and both her parents were OFA certified. We hoped she wouldn't have any hip problems but she is a big girl and we started to notice her symptoms when she was about nine or so. The picture below is not her but looks identical to how she carried her legs prior to having the procedure. It hurts me to even look at this picture. But I am happy to say that we now see her in her beautiful gsd stance with that back leg kicked out.

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post #36 of 112 (permalink) Old 07-24-2011, 12:21 PM
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Thank you for all the information. I am glad your girl is doing better. I am waiting for the only vet I know of in AZ to get back to me, and hopefully we can start with the treatment. I know he has been doing the fat stem cell for dogs with arthritis so hopefully he has contacts about the bone stem treatment too. Let me know when you post the new youtube video, I love to see the dogs enjoying themselves again. Hoping I will have my own to post soon. If anyone out there knows more about the bone stem cell treatment for dogs with DM, please let me know who or where I need to contact for information. Good luck to you all!
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post #37 of 112 (permalink) Old 07-26-2011, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry, I was traveling and did not have Internet for a while. The stem cells Riley received were bone marrow stem cells and they were administered by IV. The vet who developed the procedure ships them all over the country so they can be administered by a local vet.
I responded to the pm with contact information.
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post #38 of 112 (permalink) Old 07-26-2011, 08:48 PM
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Thank You!!!! I will give the information to my Vet and will keep you updated on Hans progress.
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post #39 of 112 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 11:10 AM
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Rebel,

First of all sincere congratulations on Riley's progress. I can't tell you how rewarding it is to see that some research procedures yield such productive results.

I do research biology and will look forward to seeing this bone marrow stem cell transplant published. There has been tremendous excitement about the ability of some bone marrow cells to differentiate broadly and replace several absent cell lineages-but some of the published work has also been contested.

You can't contest that change in Riley's gait.

thanks for the information and the very good news,
Mary Jane
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post #40 of 112 (permalink) Old 07-27-2011, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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It is hard to make a controlled study for DM and quantify outcomes. I know how to quantify, but funds would be needed for then instrumentation and analysis (software development). Unfortunately the video cannot go into the journal paper. Luckily Riley's progress is well documented, with me, the neurologist and the investigator taking the videos. I am looking forward to seeing it published too.

Considering the speed of Riley's recovery, it is possible that there is repair going on (as opposed to or in addition to new cell formation). The neurons would take more time to regrow.
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