Stem cells have long been a controversial topic of conversation. Embryonic stem cells, which show a tremendous promise because of their ability to work in different areas of the body, have been shunned by many for ethical reasons. Another concern is that embryonic stem cells have been shown repeatedly to form cancers, therefore some consider them to only be suitable as a research tool. The major role of embryonic stem cells is to create whole organs or a whole individual.
The stem cells from the Vet-Stem process are from an animals own fat. They are known as adult stem cells. These cells have been shown to have the ability to turn into various tissue types in the laboratory and they help animals with arthritis and other conditions to have an improved quality of life.
How Vet-Stem Works
The two-part process starts with fat being taken from one of three areas of the dog’s body: behind the shoulder blades, the chest wall or in the abdomen (similar to the area of a spay procedure). The fat is sent to Vet-Stem, where the stem cells are separated from the fat and then the cells are returned the vet, who injects them into the injury site(s).
The cells come from the patient’s own body, so there’s little danger of rejection. The therapy improved the quality of life for more than 75% of dogs in this owner survey. In a study of 21 dogs with arthritis of the hip joint, dogs injected with stem cells did markedly better than those injected with a saline solution. “This really does work,” said Dr. Julie Ryan Johnson, a veterinarian and Vet-Stem’s vice president of sales and marketing. “Three of the dogs (used in the study) were on the euthanasia list because they had run out of options. One of those dog’s owners were so discouraged by their dog’s pain that they had gotten another dog. Now, they have two dogs.”
Another clinical trial for use of these cells in arthritis of the elbow joint proved successful too. Both veterinarian and owner scoring showed that the stem cell therapy was effective.
Results from performance horses shows that stem cells are effective. Veterinarians have treated more than 3,000 horses using Vet-Stem Regenerative Cells. The success in horses provided support for expanding the use of stem cell therapy in dogs and cats.