Stem cells have been and will continue to be a hot news topic. So what do we know about how they actually work in arthritis?
First, these little cells we call “stem cells” can be found anywhere in the body. You are alive right now because your own stem cells replace the hundreds of millions of cells you lose every day as a part of normal living. They are your “spare parts” and are essential. If your dog has arthritis, stem cells help replace the lost cartilage caused by the disease.
Stem cells are the master healing cells in the body. Stem cells can act to reduce the inflammation that occurs with most injuries and diseases, and seen often with dog arthritis. They keep the body’s normal reaction from getting out of hand. These amazing cells also produce a whole drugstore full of naturally occurring chemicals that are related to stimulation of healing in reaction to an injury. Reduce, restore, regenerate; read more here.
For example, stem cells make lubricin, the key molecule involved in lubricating joints. Often in arthritis, the joint is very “dry” and has too much friction. So how do stem cells get to the site of injury? These adult stem cells have the ability to sense an injury by “sniffing” the blood going right by their resting place. Once they arrive (naturally, or by injection directly into a joint), they survey the damage much like a medic or EMT would do upon reaching the scene of an accident. They “talk” to all the other cells in the area of the injury and decide how to start healing. These cells produce signaling chemicals and also talk directly to other cells they are touching and the healing begins. Yes, this is truly “Patient Heal Thyself”.
One thing that stem cells can do that no other type of drug can do, they can truly help regenerate the lost and damaged cartilage and other joint tissues. This is not just a pain/inflammation cover-up. It is real healing. It is how you heal yourself, and when your vet provides this service, they are injecting millions of healing cells directly into the area of injury.
Ben is young and doesn’t currently have arthritis, but if he had a genetic problem like many dogs with hip or elbow dysplasia, arthritis can develop early. It is important to talk to your vet as early as possible to get the best outcome from treatment.
As many as 65% of dogs between the ages of 7 and 11 years old will be inflicted with some degree of arthritis. For certain specific breeds, many of them large, the percentage is as high as 70%. Zeke is a 125lb Leonberger who was in pain from arthritis caused by an old injury, and was facing possible surgery on both knees. Zeke’s owners opted for stem cell therapy to help with his arthritis.
“Zeke was still quite active and happy, so the thought of double knee surgery and the long recovery time was not in my books, so we opted for stem cell therapy.” Four months after the stem cell injections (both knees and an IV dose) his owners shared, “Zeke has definitely improved. He no longer needs help getting up. He does not whimper in pain. His delay in bending his knee is non-existent, and his pain medication has been reduced by about 80%. Hikes are no longer sheer drudgery and he has a bounce in his step that I forgot existed.”
To read more on Zeke’s arthritis story visit http://www.vet-stem.com/pr_detail.php?id=55