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Stem Cell Therapy Shows Promise as an Arthritis Treatment in Dogs

Stem cells have been in the news a great deal. They are a source of much excitement in the medical community. Stem cells are special...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Aug 13th 2008


Stem cells have been in the news a great deal. They are a source of much excitement in the medical community.

Stem cells are special because they have the potential to turn into many different types of tissue. In the future, stem cells may help to treat a number of human and animal diseases.

A recent study has shown that routine therapeutic use of stem cells may not be far off for dogs afflicted with a common and debilitating problem: arthritis of the hips.

Researchers in the study collected stem cells from fat tissue of dogs with arthritis. The stem cells were then injected into the donors’ hip joints. Dogs that underwent this therapy showed a significant improvement in clinical signs. A quote from the study is below.

Dogs treated with adipose-derived stem cell therapy had significantly improved scores for lameness and the compiled scores for lameness, pain, and range of motion compared with control dogs. This is the first randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial reporting on the effectiveness of stem cell therapy in dogs.

Arthritis of the hips causes a great deal of suffering in older dogs. It is sometimes a cause of euthanasia. I, for one, am very happy about the development of a new treatment for the syndrome.

However, one aspect of the study has tempered my enthusiasm slightly. Another quote is below.

*This study was sponsored by Vet-Stem, Inc., Poway, California.

Vet-Stem, Incorporated markets stem cell therapies to veterinarians. The study appears to have been well-run. But I am always suspicious of research that is funded by organizations with conflicts of interest.