A relatively young field, regenerative medicine focuses on using the power of adult-derived stem cells and the body’s natural regenerative capabilities. These are used to restore function to damaged cells, tissues, and organs. It is currently used most commonly to treat arthritis, tendonitis, and other injuries in pets. In this therapy, stem cells are harvested from an animal, isolated, and injected directly into the troubled joints. Cells are taken directly from the adult dog, or from adult umbilical cords after a dog gives birth via cesarean section.
Much like using alternative medicine for animals, there is very little research on the efficacy of stem cell therapies. Three studies so far have demonstrated some efficacy of the treatments. The first, a blinded and randomized trial, showed significant improvement in dogs receiving the treatment as evaluated by the veterinarians. The second study also resulted with the dogs showing improvement upon receiving the treatments, but did not include a control group. Unfortunately, these studies cannot be used for justification for widespread treatment, because relatively few dogs participated.
It is important to keep in mind when considering this therapy that it is still very new, and very little is known about it outside of the fact that it seems to help, at least a little bit. If you feel that this therapy might benefit your pet, please discuss it with your veterinarian. We will help you determine the ideal course of action to help your pet heal effectively and quickly, as well as what will help keep your pet happy, healthy, and safe.