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Discussion Starter #1
Hi -- I don't get to visit the forum much with my schedule, but wanted to post a topic about Stem Cell therapy for arthritis. This is a bit long --

Our male, between 12 1/2 - 13 years old (estimated, he is a rescue) was diagnosed with Spondolysis (arthritis in his lower lumbar spine). He also has arthritis in his hips. Through our natural healing vet (homeopathic) we had him on Cold Laser treatments, acupuncture and chiropractic when needed (actually rotated the treatments). Also, he is on a variety of joint supplements, vitamin regime and Adequan. All in all, he did well -- until the diagnosis of the arthritis in his spine.

He started to lose muscle tone in his back end. To help strengthen and bulk up his muscles, we took him to Hydro-therapy. He went for 2 months, and we really really noted a difference in his muscles. Once the weather broke and we could walk him outside without fear of sliding on ice, we stopped the hydro.

Prior to the hydro, he had major difficulty going up stairs that he normally flew up. On having him evaluated further and xrays, we confirmed the arthritis in his spine. Unfortunately there are not a lot of treatment options, you can support the arthritis the best possible . . . eventually, his spine would have gotten all of the boney growths (they started and visible on xrays) and then fused.

We investigated, found a vet that we wanted to talk to and potentially worked with, and decided to go ahead with the Stem Cell therapy. On evaluation, it appeared that Thor was a good candidate -- PLEASE NOTE: the vet told us in the beginning that dogs with DM were not good candidates -- that usually was too far advanced for the treatment to be effective. We decided to move forward. The first step is the extraction -- it is a surgical procedure, removing tissue from the area around the intestines. Our Stem Cell Vet (who we love) indicated that is where the best cells are, and in a greater concentration.

The next step is to send the cells to a lab for processing. This is where we learned the differences in the processing techniques. There are now vets who do this procedure, extract the cells, run them on their own equipment/machine and re-insert immediately. Our vet indicated that this process can possibly work -- but she is not a fan due to the equipment used. Not every vet can afford the vast cost of the processing equipment, so the "in-office" are not the specialized ones that a lab can use. She has not tried this, and does not intend to, as the specialized labs can afford the higher end equipment and keep it up to date.

There is another lab that processes the stem cells -- she used them for years, but has moved to another. This particular lab processes the cells, separates them and sends them to the vet for insertion. These cells are not activated. This lab has a legal issue that they cannot change their process (I don't know all the details). The stem cells are inserted, and it is up to the body to activate the cells, so they can go to work. They may or may not activate -- if not, the body doesn't use them. She used this process on her dog a few years ago -- this process can require multiple treatments. Her dog had 7 over the years until she passed. Still, a process that works, but there is a newer process she likes more.

The process for the lab she now uses -- processes the cells, and ACTIVATES them. The goal is that the re-activated cells are inserted, and they are ready to work. For the hips they are injected directly into the joint -- same with elbows. For the spine, you cannot inject into the spine, those go in through an IV. The goal is to get an adequate volume of cells, and they should only have to have this treatment once. She has had much more success with this process.

So -- we are now in the phase of watching for results. It has only been a few weeks, but we have already noted the difference. In his attitude -- his eyes are bright and happy. He initiates wrestling with our female (of course, we stop him at this point). He stands up much easier -- it is hard to believe. He tore across the yard after a rabbit and didn't limp back.

He follows-up at the end of July . . . . and in a few months we will xray his hips and spine and compare to the original. At this point, we are hopeful that this will keep our boy pain free for the remainder of his life. Again, we are still early in the results. We will also take a video of him going up the stairs and compare it to the one prior to the treatment.

I haven't seen anyone else post on this -- or my search didn't turn it up. I wanted to put it out there in the event it could help someone. If you have had this treatment for your dog, could you please post results -- good or even if it didn't work?


423 Posts
I tried stem sell therapy for my Kaos (RIP) hips. They also used a little in an IV. I also banked cells for future use. I should say my GSD had really bad hips and I don't want to discourage others from trying it as you can u-tube dogs that had it done......

My Vet used Medivet and everything can be done in one day as they bought the equipment.....

Kaos had complications from the surgery. He wasn't a bleeder but my vet had a hard time stopping him from bleeding where they took the fat cells from. Two times they had to check his blood count to see if he needed a transfusion. A drain had to be inserted. Took a couple hours to stop the excessive bleeding. Also Kaos had blood in his urine the next day. Lucky it wasn't an infection that could have killed him. Vet thought it might have been from the stress. Cost me over $3000 for everything....

Results were horrible. Saw no improvement at all......I really wanted to have THR on both hips. I got an estimate from the University Of Pennsylvania. At a min. it was $5500 a hip plus another $1000. I didn't have the $$$. I even tried to do a refi cash out on my house. But from falling property values and doing it two times previous (years earlier) for a car and home improvements. I didn't have enough equity. In retrospect I should have tried an FHO but didn't because UOP didn't recommend it for large breed dogs.....

I tried just about everything from stem cell to adequan injections to acupuncture etc etc.....My vet and I thought we could manage his hips until he reached a full life expectancy. But at the end it was like he went off a cliff his hips deteriorated so fast. Lot of other details I don't want to relive.....

I still blame myself for not somehow finding the money to try the THR's. For my new puppy Havoc I got him PetPlan ins so something like this wouldn't ever happen again. But Kaos was my once in a lifetime GSD.....

Again I don't want to discourage others. This was just my not so good experience.....
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