When most people hear the term “stem cell,” it brings to mind cutting-edge science. Did you realize that we are actively using stem cells in veterinary medicine in order to help pets?
What Is a Stem Cell?
Stem cells are cells in the body that have not yet determined what type of tissue they want to become. This means that they can be placed in an area of the body with an injury or disease and, due to the influence of other cells around them, will differentiate and replace the damaged tissues. In veterinary medicine these cells are being increasingly utilized in order to help treat traumatic and degenerative conditions such as tendon or ligament injuries, arthritis, or developmental bone disorders. It is a particularly useful alternative treatment for pets who can’t undergo surgery or to aid post-surgical healing.
Stem cells are located in several places in the body, however the most readily available source is within fat, or adipose, tissue. A veterinarian is easily and relatively non-invasively able to surgically harvest fat from a pet. The fatty tissue is then sent to a laboratory where the stem cells are concentrated into a powerful injection. This injection is then placed directly in needed area by the veterinarian. This technology is very effective, albeit somewhat costly.
It Takes a Specialist
Dr. Best has received specialized training in order to be able to perform stem cell harvest and injection procedures. She is more than happy to discuss this option with you should your pet have an injury or condition that may benefit from stem cell therapy. Stem cells can also be harvested early in life and “banked” as a preventative measure. As always, if you have any questions or would like to learn more about the services we offer, please feel free to call.