Perhaps one of the more important developments over the last few years is the use of stem cell therapy, and I’m delighted to say we’re now offering it here at Mansion Hill! If you have a dog or cat on pain killers for arthritis, or other muscle or joint problems, and you want to reduce or stop the drugs then you need to read this.
A great success story from another UK practice using the same technology:
What are stem cells?
Stem cells are immature cells that eventually develop into adult body cells. There are a variety of different types of stem cells, but we use types which are cultured to to grow into connective tissue such as muscles, ligaments and cartilage- they’re the body’s very own repair kit!
Where do they come from?
The stem cells are taken during a simple least-invasive operation from your pet’s bone marrow or fat deposits- either from a leg bone or around their tummy button or tail. Your pet’s age and health status will dictate where we taken them from. This is known as “harvesting”. Once we’ve taken them out then they are sent to a lab which will encourage them to grow into the cells we want.
What can they be used for?
We use them by injecting them into problematic areas in order to encourage healing. For instance if your dog has hip arthritis then we can inject the cells directly into the joint or we can put them into tendons to speed repair. Once in place these cells will help tip the balance away from damage and pain towards healing and repair. We often use them alongside platelet rich plasma (PRP) which we prepare here in the surgery from a blood sample from your pet to add in other components vital for healing, such as immune cells and growth factors.
Would stem cell therapy be suitable for my pet?
If your dog has a pre-existing joint, muscular, ligament or tendon issue that does not seem to be getting better and only seems to be controlled with drugs, then they may be a candidate for the procedure. Contact us to discuss your particular case.
What’s the procedure?
Your cat and dog will be asked to come in for a sedation or anaesthetic (depending on their temperament and health status.) After a full health checkup and blood sample to make sure they’re suitable for sedation or a GA we will then temporarily send them to sleep and clip either around the tail or belly button and extract the stem cells. This procedure should take no more that 10 minutes and your dog should be ready to go home again that afternoon. We will then ask your dog to come back in two weeks for another anaesthetic or sedation. We re-inject the cultured stem cells, sometimes along with PRP, back into the appropriate areas, and again your dog can go home on the same day.
What can I expect?
85%- 90% of dogs will show significant improvements in:
- degree of lameness
- mobility- getting up and down
- willingness to run and play
We expect to see improvement growing over time, with the best results 2-3 months after treatment. Several studies have shown these improvements to be long lasting- a minimum of six months, and up to two years before needing re-treatment. In this time your dog or cat should be able to reduce or even stop alternative pain relieving drugs.
The eventual improvement depends on many factors such as severity of disease, where the problem is and how old your pet is. Younger less affected animals with tendon or ligament problems will do better than older more severely affected dogs with long standing arthritis.
Freddie received stem cell therapy for pain and limited mobility due to bilateral elbow OA. Within 4 weeks of stem cell therapy, significant improvements in Freddie’s pain and mobility scores were reported and his elbow joint flexion angles were reduced into the normal range. You can watch Freddie’s progress in this video.
- Stem cell therapy provides an important option for canine and feline patients when conventional treatments fail to provide adequate control of their OA
- In both younger and older patients, stem cells can alleviate pain and inflammation in elbow disease, hip dysplasia or any DJD where there is no suitable or proven surgical option
- Multipotent Stem Cells (MSCs) can be used to delay or prevent the need for salvage surgeries
- MSCs can improve healing when used as an adjuvant treatment after certain orthopaedic surgeries
- Stem cells enhance healing in tendinopathies and ligament injuries
- Published and ongoing research has also demonstrated efficacy in lumbosacral DJD, IBD, feline renal disease and feline gingivostomatitis
Are there any side effects?
The risk from this procedure is very low- post operative infection rates are no worse then when we spay or castrate your pet. We use your own pet’s stem and blood cells so there is no risk of rejections, and all procedures are undertaken in a surgically sterile fashion.
What is the evidence?
This is a technology that has been more and more studied over the last 10 years, and is only now entering mainstream medicine- and I’m happy to say we’re ahead of the human medics on this! Here are some important papers and articles for further reading:
Please also have a look at the scientific papers available to download:
- Cuervo 2014 Randomised controlled trial of MSCs in hip Osteoarthritis in dogs
- Innes & Walton Multipotent Stem Cells Vet Practice paper
- A Prospective, Randomized, Masked, and Placebo-controlled efficacy study of intraarticular allogeneic adipose stem cells for the Treatment of Osteoarthritis in Dogs
- The Use of Adipose-Derived Progenitor Cells and Platelet-Rich Plasma Combination for the Treatment of Supraspinatus Tendinopathy in 55 Dogs: A Retrospective Study
- The Use of adipose-Derived Progenitor cells and Platelet-rich Plasma combination for the Treatment of supraspinatus Tendinopathy in 55 Dogs: a retrospective study
- Eﬀect of Intraarticular Injection of Autologous Adipose- Derived Mesenchymal Stem and Regenerative Cells on Clinical Signs of Chronic Osteoarthritis
- The Advantages of Autologous Adipose Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells (AdMSCs) over the Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) Application for Degenerative Elbow Joint Disease
- A Prospective, Randomized, Masked, and Placebo-Controlled Efﬁcacy Study of Intraarticular Allogeneic Adipose Stem Cells for the Treatment of Osteoarthritis in Dogs
- Mesenchymal stem cell therapy in the treatment of osteoarthritis: reparative pathways, safety and efficacy – a review
- Intra-articular Injection of Autologous Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Six Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis
Contact us if you want to speak to John or one of the vets to learn more about this exciting new medical technology.