Diseases Treated With Stem Cells
- Orthopedic Injuries
- Cardiomyopathy/Heart Failure
- Disc Disease/Spinal Cord Injury
- Allergic Skin Disease
- Kidney Disease / Incontinence
- Dry Eye
Stem Cells For Arthritis
Stem Cells are injected directly into the joint space when treating arthritis. Studies have shown that these cells have the ability to regrow cartilage identical to the cartilage that may have been damaged in the arthritis. This cartilage will function to reduce pain and inflammation and to provide a more normal surface for movement. Most pets with arthritis respond very well with stem cell therapy, greatly improving mobility and reducing or eliminating the pain associated with movement . In addition the amount of pain medications is also reduced or eliminated. Please note however, if your pet has arthritis, it usually means there is some abnormal conformation or damage to the joint that may not be repaired by the stem cells. Arthritic pets may have to have additional injections of stem cells to maintain the positive effects that stem cells will give them. We usually recommend cryogenic storing of your pet’s stem cells for additional injections should it be necessary. Studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of stem cell therapy for the treatment of arthritis. The scientific articles below demonstrate that stem cells are an effective way to manage this crippling disease.
Stem Cells for Cardiomyopathy
Cardiomyopathy is a hereditary heart disease in many breeds but most common in Doberman Pinscers, boxers and great danes. Additional breeds with this disease in their bloodline are Airdale Terrier, Border Terrier, Bullmastiff, English Cocker Spaniel, English Foxhound, Ibizan hound, Irish Wolfhound, Norfolk Terrier, Portuguese Water Dog, Saint Bernard, Sussex Spaniel, West hightland White Terrier. In cardiomyopathy the heart muscle develops a weakness which makes it difficult to pump the blood effectively. The heart muscle becomes thinner as the heart dilates or expands. This disease can be managed with pharmacologic agents that improve muscle contraction for a period of time but the course is usually short – less than a year after diagnosis. Stem cells can be surgically placed into the pericardial sac and from there they will migrate to the damaged or weakened heart muscle cells helping them to repair. Studies in humans, rats and dogs have shown stem cells to regenerate heart muscle cells improving the output of the heart muscle and stabalizing the deterioriation of the heart muscles. See the articles listed below as reference for the effectiveness of Stem Cells in this disease.
Intervertebral Disc Disease / Spinal Cord Injury
Intervertebral Disc Disease is very common in veterinary practice. Many pets have a genetic predisposition to developing disc problems in their back. The spinal cord sits inside the spinal canal. The spinal canal is the hollow space inside the vertebrae. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that extends from the brain down the back to the rear legs. These nerves allow the brain to communicate its commands to the muscles that control the legs and other muscles of the body. The spinal cord also receives signals from the body that keeps it updated on limb position, and sensory responses such as touch and pain. The disc has a tough fibrous outer layer (annulus fibrosis) and a jelly-like layer in the middle (nucleus pulposus) which acts like a shock absorber. Just as a jam donut can explode if you squeeze it the wrong way; a disc can rupture and the inner portion of the disc can burst out and smash against the spinal cord causing lots of damage and inflammation.
Stem Cell Therapy for Disc disease and Spinal Cord Injury can be effective if injected directly into the disc as shown in this radiograph or applied directly to the damaged or compressed spinal cord as described in reference #3 below.
Kidney Disease / Incontinence
Kidney disease or kidney failure is one of the most common causes of death in dogs and cats. It is the number one cause of death in cats and number two cause of death in dogs. The kidneys are unique and complicated organs that only show disease to the body when over 75% of their function is compromised by disease or dysfunction. Medical therapy and fluid therapy do not improve the kidney function that has been lost. These treatments only mitigate the buildup of metabolites that accumulate when the kidneys are not functioning. Stem cells have shown to regenerate kidney tissue, improve kidney function and reduce metabolite build up.
Incontinence is very common in neutered pets and is the result of diminished tone of the sphincter muscle of the bladder. Stem cells injected into this area have been shown to correct this problem.
“Dry Eye” Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) or dry eye disease (DED) is an immune-mediated multifactorial disease, with high level of prevalence in humans and dogs. This disease is common in many breeds of dogs and is thought to be hereditary. To determine if a pet has KCS a Schirmer Tear Test (STT) is used to measure tear production. Normal STT values are above 15mm where a pet below 10mm is suspect and a pet with 5mm or below definitely has reduced tear production. This disease is managed by administration of artificial tears and other medications. While it can be managed, it is never cured with medications. Implanted stem cells are well tolerated and were effective reducing clinical signs of KCS in animals with STT values of 0mm – no tear production at all with a sustained effect.