Stem Cell Therapy Available for Animals

Pet owners now have a different treatment option to help heal their soft-tissue injured or arthritic animals. Pet stem-cell therapy uses cells in an animal's fatty tissue to help rejuvenate cartilage and joint capsules. Pet-stem cell therapy is very new and good candidates are young healthy dogs or horses that may have a sport injury.

The San Juan Veterinary Clinic in Montrose has two vets trained to perform vet-stem regenerative cell therapy - Dr. Petterson and Dr. Franklin.

"Collecting stem cells from the patient and giving them back to the patient.. No medicine.. Your not putting anything foreign into their body,” says Dr. Franklin.

The procedure isolates stem and regenerative cells from an animal's own fat. The clinic then sends the sample off to a lab in California where the cells are separated and sent back in about 48 hours for injection.

"Those cells can then become cells that produce cartilage on the joint and also cells that line the joint capsule," says Dr. Franklin

The stem cells spur healthy cell growth in injured areas. Right now, its used to treat ligament and tendon injuries and arthritis. The stem cells are taken from the animal and put back only into the same animal.

"When people hear stem-cells they think embryonic or fetal stem cells.. It becomes a hot-button issue for some people,” says Dr. Franklin

Because the procedure is so new on the Western Slope, a training program just opened up in the beginning of the year. Dr. Franklin cannot speak of the long term effects, but vet-stem has been using the therapy since 2002.

"Throughout the country.. Cases that have been done are positive. Some animals returning to full function and some to full exercise," says Dr. Franklin

Now because this procedure can be done on horses, dogs and even cats. A price range could not be given.

There are about three-thousand vets in Colorado and only 38 are registered to use this technology.