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Health Beat: Stem cell treatment for dogs, cats

By Melanie Falcon, Anchor / Reporter, @Melanie_Falcon, MFalcon@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 26 2013 09:12:15 AM CDT
Updated On: Apr 26 2013 04:47:07 PM CDT

From repairing torn ligaments to rebuilding bones, stem cell procedures are helping mankind in many ways. Now, man’s best friend is getting in on the action, too.

From repairing torn ligaments to rebuilding bones, stem cell procedures are helping mankind in many ways. Now, man’s best friend is getting in on the action, too.

Bubba, a 2-1/2-year-old English bulldog, was born with severe hip dysplasia that made it difficult and painful for him to walk.

"He's had to be injected once a month the last two years to ease the pain in his joints and the hip bone," said Bob Cook, Bubba's owner.

So when Cook heard about a new stem cell procedure that could relieve Bubba’s pain, he jumped at the chance.

Dr. Ashraf Gomaa, veterinarian at Abbott Animal Hospital, extracted fat from Bubba's shoulder. Enzymes were added to the fat. Then, a machine separated the stem cells. Finally, the stem cells were injected back into Bubba to help decrease his painful inflammation.

"You want to inject it as closely as possible to the joint that is affected. Those stem cells react to inflammation and they have an affinity to inflammation so they go to any area of the body that has any type of trauma," Gomaa said.

On average, the doctor said the treatment lasts one to two years and can be repeated as needed. 

Cook said it's put the bounce back in Bubba’s step and probably saved his life. 

"If it wasn't for this, he would probably have been on some serious pain meds and probably wouldn’t have lived much longer," said Cook.

The stem cell procedure is approved for dogs and cats. The doctor said dogs or cats with joint, cartilage, tendon or ligament pain are good candidates for the procedure.

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DOWNLOAD and VIEW the full-length interview with Dr. Ashraf Gomaa about stem cell treatment for dogs and cats