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Discussion Starter #84
Riley is getting up there in age, will be 13 in February. This summer he came down with old dog vestibular syndrome, which left him somewhat wobbly and uncoordinated. But he is still chasing his ball, carrying around his 5 yard stick and demanding tug of war to play with me. In his mind he is still a puppy. I am so blessed with this wonderful dog.
 

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Stem cell facility?

I agree, I am in awe myself, seeing a dog that was falling down the stairs jumping into a pretty high truck. I have seen the video of a mouse improving, but this is a big animal. And thinking of the hope the treatment offers many animals and humans - it is simply humbling. I am sure everybody who lost a dog to DM (i did) will understand.

This is so new that it has not been published anywhere yet (I just made the movie last week). There is another GSD who is a similar amazing success story (I have his movie), but that 's it. I am hoping that these successes will help raising funds to broaden the research.

Can you please elaborate on where you had the stem cell therapy done? how well did it work? Thank you
 

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My vets just started offering this treatment for several degenerative problems. Your post was very interesting. I hope your dog continues to respond well to the treatment. Please, please keep us posted.
 

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Does anyone know of a vet in California that offers this treatment?

I went to the ReGenaVetLabs site and it says they are not accepting patients.

My dog started exhibiting symptoms within the last week. I am amazed at the speed it has progressed. A week ago we were having fun at the park, today she is having trouble controlling her right rear leg.

Thanks in advance.
 

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Milo12 ... are you sure your dog has DM? What did your vet do to diagnose it? DM is a disease of exclusion and a week sounds like a short time from noticing the first symptom to reaching a diagnosis.
 

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Milo12 ... are you sure your dog has DM? What did your vet do to diagnose it? DM is a disease of exclusion and a week sounds like a short time from noticing the first symptom to reaching a diagnosis.

Specifically, did you have an MRI done or any other examination type that looks internally for other root neurological causes? In my experience, show a vet a GSD that has rear end gait problems that are neurological and they'll diagnose DM. If you see a veterinary neurologist, they'll tell you that they need to do an MRI (about $3k around here) to rule out other root causes.

Is your dog positive for a genetic marker related to DM? Which "genetic" test did you use?


It's *great* news that your dog is improving. However, other results that I've seen on DM dogs in regard to stem cells were not nearly as promising.... We don't want other owners thinking that this is a DM cure or treatment when it may not be viable in all cases.

Again, so glad that it's working for you!
 

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Discussion Starter #91 (Edited)
It sounds like you did not read the post, the questions you raised were addressed in the post. No, I did not do necropsy on my dog prior to the stem cell treatment to prove DM with certainty.

While my post shows evidence for one case (I do have an even more striking video for another dog), I don't see you providing any evidence for your negative conclusions and discrediting remarks. It would be nice if you showed the same level of proof for negative results that you demand for positives. What kinds of stem cells were used? How were they administered? were the negative results published in a peer-reviewed forum? Where was the treatment done?

This is a free country. Pet owners have the option to chose a treatment method that has not been shown to work for every case - they don't have to. But they deserve to have the information to make a choice. Who is the "we" you are referring to?
 

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I've never done stem cell treatment. I'm not discrediting your results at all, your results just are and I think it's absolutely GREAT that stem cells worked in your case.

I am asking questions, before stem cells are hailed as a miracle cure for DM:

Did this dog have *confirmed* DM? Although necropsy is really the only way to absolutely confirm, MRIs typically "rule out" other root causes. In my experience, show a vet a shepherd with rear end neurological issues and they'll diagnose DM, which may be right in most cases. DM cannot be diagnosed reasonably without MRI and cannot be diagnosed definitively without necropsy.

I know of others who have tried stem cells, over on a DM specific forum: The DM Message Board ? Index page (you need to register to view). I saw zero positive results over there, but the same questions would apply - are the owners sure it was DM? What makes the owners sure? What type of stem cells were tried?

What would be great is a double blind academic study. If stem cells treatment had been substantially successful, I assume there would be one, but maybe not. What did your vet tell you about this treatment? Had it worked before? Was it experimental?

Again, I'm not knocking your results - And stem cells may be an option that some owners should try. I'm cautioning owners that stem cells may not be a DM "cure", that's all... And I'm asking questions about how deep you went in terms of diagnosis to determine DM or other neurological condition because unless the root cause is confirmed, you may be treating something else entirely.. I've read about GSD owners that have tried Asian medicine including implants to Accupuncture and stuff beyond that.

Absolutely no offense was intended.
 

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Rebel, I did a little more digging.
One DVM (neuro) that I really respect for his work specifically with our breed and DM is Dr. Clemmons of the University of FL. He was looking at stem cells in 2006. Here's the reference and here is the paraphrased take away:


Dr. Clemmons has been doing a limited number of stem cell transplants, on dogs that have advanced DM, in the hopes that this treatment might help dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy. However, he has found that we cannot expect them to be the miracle that everyone thought and hoped they might be. With all that was being said about stem cells, it sounded like they would be able to recreate every organ. The answer is "No, they can’t." Stem cells can be made in the test tube to do certain things. They can be made to develop certain structures and in that sense, might be useful. However, there are a few problems. If you want to use histocompatible stem cells so that anti-rejection drugs are not also needed, they must come from the individual. Mesenchymal stem cells are able to do that. However, they are as old as the patient and therefore not as robust. They can be coaxed into becoming things, but only to a limited degree and they have limited life-span. Of course, making embryonic stem cells from the individual would be great, as mentioned in the news as of late, but that turned out to be a hoax. If you use embryonic stem cells, they are more robust, but that can lead to other problems not mentioned. So, we are probably going to try fetal stem cells to see if we can find the happy medium.
Even so, while stem cells can be found to lay down and even become neurons in some cases, no one has shown that they become functional. What is known is that certain conditions improve. What we think is happening is that the stem cells provide factors which help reduce acute problems and kick start the nervous systems ability to heal which has been impeded by the formation of glial scarring. Unfortunately, it appears that this benefit, like we see with many things, is limited. While repeated stem cell injections provide minor additional effects, they begin to wear off. Whether fetal cells will be more beneficial or whether it is only the nerve growth factors that are needed remains to be seen. Dr. Clemmons is discouraged that they did not turn out to be the "cure", but we have learned a lot and that might, in the long run, turn out to be the most important thing. We need to complete our study and since Dr. Clemmons has been open about his research findings, it is getting harder to recruit people. They know that it might not be the answer, from what we already have found.






In conjunction with that - Oxford had a double blind study. I can't see the actual research and would encourage you to pay attention to how many of these dogs were actually GSD's - as GSDs may have an entirely different type of DM than other breeds... The study noted "some mobility improvement" in paralyzed dogs when using olfactory cells.. It seems to be in line with what Dr. Clemmons says - resulted in some improvement, but no cure... and we don't know how long that improvement lasts.


Reference




Again, my take is simply to state that DM does not have a cure... It's a progressive disease - meaning the degeneration will continue.



 

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Discussion Starter #94
I have provided all the details about my dog's treatment in this post along with videos, they are here for everybody to read, and believe or not. I don't have the interest or time to argue with people who have an essentially negative attitude and are trying to discredit the method without having personal experience or expertise, which you are repeatedly doing while claiming the opposite.

As to Dr. Clemmons, I am aware of the group glorifying him: I tried his treatment with two dogs and it did not them. I would not be as arrogant as to discredit it and try to convince dog owners that it is not worth trying. His work was not rigorously peer reviewed either, as far as I know, and there is no double blind study of his method either. A web page of his fan, paraphrasing his words, can hardly count as scientific evidence. So whatever, you can feel free not to try it with your dog and other dog owners are free to chose whatever course they feel comfortable with, with their own dog.

Stem cell treatment has come a long way since 2006 and there are different types of stem cells, ways of growing them, ways of administration, concentrations/numbers administered etc.

It is not true that Dr. Clemmons is the god and one and only of DM, as his followers try to make everybody believe.
 

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Rebel, please review the totality of my posts. I certainly appreciate the details that you've shared - specifically about your treatment. I believe your outcome and I'm not attempting to discredit your case.

I'm sorry if you feel that my attitude is negative. My attitude is simply cautionary as not all outcomes are as positive as yours. That doesn't discredit your outcome or reflect on your personally. In fact, I'd love to see more feedback that indicates positive results from people that try the same steps that you did.

Regarding the DM advice of Clemmons (U of F) vs Coates (U of M), here's where I stand:
1) Clemmons didn't publish work that stands up to normal scientific bar, as far as I know. However, he did focus on GSDs. I think the advice he gives in terms of treatment is good - exercise, supplements (specific), and diet. At a minimum, it can't hurt. I haven't seen statistical results that show that his test for DM is any more valid than any other.

2) Coates work - as originally published - as I reviewed it recently - included a total of 4 GSDs in the affected group. Diagnosis was confirmed by one of 4 different means, with the lowest bar being "DM-like symptoms, probably DM". That's not enough data for me and the diagnostic bar isn't high enough for me personally.

I'm hoping that Coates will publish additional data this year. Hopefully with a much larger number of DM dogs that were confirmed by the highest diagnostic bar - necropsy and spinal cross section. If she does that, it'll settle the issue for me...
 

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Discussion Starter #96
As far as I am aware, no medical treatment method (human or veterinary) provides guarantees that it will have equally positive outcome for everybody. I never made such claims in my post. It seems that nothing available in the field satisfies you and you are certainly free to try nothing if your dog were to develop DM. I doubt that anyone will be able or willing to give you the assurances of a positive outcome you demand, even if the field were better funded or researched. I am completely fine with the fact that whatever I post will not be enough to satisfy everybody's demands.

My post was intended to provide information and an option for those dog owners who are looking for alternatives to just letting their dog die slowly.
 

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Rebel,
We're almost there.. Thanks for being willing to have a rational discussion.

You're making statements about what I believe and I've got a right to correct you: You're right that nothing in the field TODAY satisfies me as scientifically proven treatment or definitive genetic test (DM) for the GSD. I don't require an equally positive outcome for everyone, but I do require a positive on outcome for the majority of patients that receive a type of treatment. Isn't that what you require?

The only proven thing that I know about is exercise / physical therapy - and it's only proven to delay the outcome.

If you're saying that it's impossible to satisfy me in terms of genetic testing, that's not true. I simply need to see the blind results of genetic tests on GSDs, a reasonable sample size of the breed, and the results to be confirmed by spinal cross section / necropsy. This is a minimum bar that should be used for any study. It completely boggles my mind that we have "genetic tests" for GSDs, but this data is missing. Using the results from other breeds likely won't work for this disease and confirming DM by looking at symptoms isn't enough. If you think this bar is too high, please explain to me why we as consumers - or breeders - or dog lovers should accept "tests" or "treatments" as "working" without this basic level of investigation. Already, we're paying for these tests in some cases. The data to back them is not there.

I've got no problem with experimental treatments like stem cells. And if you've had positive results, I think that's great and would encourage people to look into the specifics of your treatment.. I do have an issue with anyone who says that stem cells are a "cure" (you didn't say that). And I question - don't challenge - but question because I'm curious about how long the positive results will last. Please keep us informed on if your dog continues to decline or if the positive results you've seen stick around.. I do hope they stick around.

And I'm interested not due to academics, I'm interested because we owned and cared for a DM dog for more than 3 years.. Had I seen more positive posts about stem cells (like yours), then they might have been something we would have tried.
 

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Discussion Starter #98
I am not going to post updates about my dog for you to dissect nor will is necropsy my dog to please the demands of an on-line stranger. If someone is interested in details about the treatment they can PM me. The vet who did the treatment for my dog no longer does it.
 

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Rebel,
Again, forgive me if I've upset you. I've tried being rational and that isn't working. If not posting your results helps you feel like you're somehow punishing me, then that's fine...

Note, I'm not asking you to necropsy your dog that is doing well. I would have done that with mine, after euthanasia, if I thought that it would benefit other owners or provide some research benefit into this horrible disease. I mention it as many other diseases can "act like" DM and if you don't "prove" results of a test, how can you be sure it's working?

Again, sorry if I've somehow hurt your feelings.
 

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Discussion Starter #100 (Edited)
If it makes you and your research feel better just feel free to assume that the method is not working :) I am not interested in proving anything to you :) feel free to move on and dissect someone else.
I will be happy to communicate with others who are not negative people or "researchers" and who are interested our experience (and who are not turning us into their science experiment and theory) - privately.
I am happy and sure that my dog who had difficulties walking could jump into the truck after this treatment. For me it was success, I don't care if it is not success enough for a "scientist" :)
 
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