Questions About Stem Cell Regeneration Therapy and Dogs
Since returning home from her Vet-Stem procedure -in which her own stem cells were harvested from her own fatty tissue, then reinjected into her sore, arthritic hips - my dog Sheba continues to improve with each passing hour, as I knew she would.
Of course, it helps that yesterday's weather was clear, sunny, and glorious - no damp, gloomy, arthritis-aggravating conditions to rain on my dog'srecovery parade. Some of you have posted questions about the Vet-Stem procedure, and what I've been doing for Sheba in its aftermath. It's all gone by in such a whirl that I overlooked a few details while writing. So what follows here is the update du jour, plus a few items I left out.
Immediately after returning home from the hospital, Sheba sought the comfort and privacy of the crate I'd rigged with the bone-shaped MicroDry Pet Mat (for a chance to win one, leave a comment here). But yesterday, she opted to snooze instead on the rectangular Crypton dog beds that are the furniture mainstays in my animal house.
This shows me she's feeling better, because the Crypton bed (above) - as Maria Goodavage's dog Jake knows all too well - is several inches high and puffs up and out when you step on it.This characteristic makesit tough for some senior dogs to step up and enjoy the Crypton bed's plush comfort. That explains why Sheba seemed to prefer the crate for several weeks leading up to her surgery - her footing was just not solid enough to navigate that puffy sleep surface.
But right now, I'm pleased to report that Sheba's having a blissful snooze on a Crypton bed. That tells me she hadno trouble getting into it - which says a lot for her newfound sure-footedness!
As an experiment, I've temporarily stopped giving Sheba FlexPet, the brilliant joint-support supplement that has enabled her to maintain mobility for several years now, despite her chronic, advanced arthritis. I'm a huge fan of this supplement, and would never skip a dose, so taking her off it is a testament to my faith in stem cell technology to cure what's been ailing my beloved dog.
However, I'm still adding a splash of Cod Liver Oil to her meals for the Omega 3 factor, and to help keep that newly-groomed sable coat looking its glossiest. And I'm still supplementing Sheba's diet with Milk Thistle - in fact, I've temporarily doubled her dose. Why?
Because Milk Thistle protects the liver - the scientific term for that is hepatoprotection - and after two rounds of anesthesia drugs, I daresay Sheba's15-year-old liver needs all the protection it can get. Milk Thistle is also a tonic for the kidneys, which are very vulnerable when an animal undergoes anesthesia.
In my excitement to chronicle Sheba's exciting adventure with stem cell therapy, I neglected to mention the cost of this amazing technology.
The cost is different for each individual dog, as there are many variables involved: age, health, hospital charges, other health issues, accurate diagnosis. Vet-Stem works on osteoarthritis - but it does not work for, say, orthopedic injury. So, to find out whether Vet-Stem is right for your dog, please contact a veterinarian who is credentialed to do the stem cell process, and get an estimate of the charges. The Vet-Stem web site has a handy "Locate A Vet" function that will quickly connect you to a vet in your area who's ready to perform this procedure on your pet.
Incidentally, this fancy-sounding procedure does not have to be performed by a fancy-schmancy 24-hour specialty hospital! Any veterinary surgeon - from rural country doc to urban city slicker - can perform this procedure after completingVet-Stem's online course. It does not require a board-certified vet specialist with extra degrees and letters after her name.
Don't believe me? The Humane Society of New York is my go-to place for healing - but it is not a fancy-schmancy specialty hospital. And yet, the Humane Society's staff vet Dr. Elizabeth Higgins - my dogs' favorite doc - did a nominal (that's NASA-speak for picture-perfect) job of performing the Vet-Stem procedure, not once, but twice. The first time, she did it on my beloved dog Sam in 2007, shortly after she received her Vet-Stem credentials, and he emerged a changed dog. And already, the results of this week's Operation Sheba indicate that my brown-eyed girl will have the same success her friend Sam did.
So, if there's a vet you love, and s/he is up for a new challenge, ask him or her to get Vet-Stem credentials.
Finally, stem cells have been a topic of heated political and religious debate for years. For those who go blank when they hear the term "stem cell" because they automatically assume it has something to do with aborted fetuses - rest assured that the stem cells used in Vet-Stem technology are all adult, or autologous, stem cells. They are harvested exclusively from the dog's own fatty tissue. Absolutely no embryos are harmed in this procedure.
And a lot of dogs are helped.