12:47 AM CDT on Thursday, April 28, 2011
The owners of a German shepherd are hoping a relatively new
procedure will cure some of the age-related ailments suffered
by their pet, Keena, 6.
Using adult stem cells from her own body, veterinary
technicians at Aubrey’s County View Animal Hospital and
officials from Veterinary Stem Cell, Stem Cell Therapy for Pets, Adipose Stem Cell Therapy, Platelet Rich Plasma Horses, Adipose Stem Cell Treatment, Platelet Rich Plasma Dogs
are attempting to cure Keena’s
“It’s an exciting new breakthrough in the vet profession.
They’ve been using it in large animals for a long time. Now
we’re using it in some of our companion animals,” said
veterinarian Ann Sammons.
Adult animal stem cell technology uses the body’s
regenerative healing power to cure the animal of
osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia and tendon, ligament and
cartilage injuries. In the process, fat tissue is removed from
the animal, stem cells are separated and activated and then
injected into the ailing area.
Kendra Hurrell of Veterinary Stem Cell, Stem Cell Therapy for Pets, Adipose Stem Cell Therapy, Platelet Rich Plasma Horses, Adipose Stem Cell Treatment, Platelet Rich Plasma Dogs
extracts stem cells from fatty tissue taken from a dog at the
Country View Animal Hospital in Aubrey on Tuesday. The cells
were later injected back into the dog. Two German shepherds
were treated Tuesday — Keena, who suffers from hip dysplasia,
and Boy, who has spine and hip problems.
Ali Weaver said Sammons
proposed the idea to her and her husband after two other dogs
were slated to have the procedure.
“Keena is definitely one of the family. We thought about it
off and on,” Weaver said. “It was less expensive than we
imagined it to be.
“It was worth a chance. She is a good dog, and we know her
and we love her. We are really hoping it helps.”
Keena’s hips are thickened, and there is no cartilage
cushioning the joints.
“This dog is walking bone on bone. It’s very, very painful.
You can literally hear her joints moving,” Sammons said.
Sammons harvested about 15 grams of Keena’s fat to get stem
cells. Keena, who is 6 years old, is a lean dog, which made
locating fat difficult.
Once the fat was removed, it was put in the hands of Kendra
Hurrell, a stem cell technician with MediVet America. Hurrell
minced the bits of Keena’s fat and mixed it with solutions to
break it down to be able to obtain the stem cells. The process
takes about three hours, resulting in a 2-inch tube of stem
cells. The dormant stem cells are mixed with platelet-rich
plasma (PRP) that was removed from Keena’s blood, activated by
LED lighting and injected into her problem areas.
“PRP is the body’s natural anti-inflammatory [and] will
reduce the inflammation immediately,” Hurrell said. “After
three weeks, you will see bone regrowing, tissue regrowing,
and that’s from the stem cells.”
Hurrell said she has never seen the procedure fail.
“The owners, they notice right away, and that is the best
part,” she said.
A previous generation of stem cell technology, developed in
2002, required vets to ship samples off to a laboratory for
the stem cell separation and would require the animal to be
brought back in for another procedure, said Lynn Marcum, a
distributor with MediVet America.
The new method is done in-house, saving time and money. It
costs about $1,800 for dogs and $2,400 for horses — less than
half the cost of the old procedure.
MediVet has been conducting the procedure around the world,
including in Australia and Hong Kong. Officials have been
performing the treatment in the U.S. for about a year.
Marcum said 8,000 papers were written on the procedure last
“It is the buzz of the vet world,” she said.
Sammons was optimistic when looking ahead at follow-up
appointments for Keena and the two other animals that
underwent the procedure Tuesday.
“I don’t want to give a false sense of security, like these
patients will be young, healthy puppies and kittens again,”
she said. “Our goal is pain-free, happy pets that don’t have
to live the rest of their lives on medication.”