The Future of Care: Stem Cell Therapy in Pets
Veterinary medicine is growing and evolving all the time. At Schertz Animal Hospital, we’re proud to be on the forefront of the ever changing face of our profession. Stem cell therapy in pets is a newer therapy that’s offering unprecedented options for our patients. Keep reading to learn more about this treatment modality and how it can help your pet.
All About Stem Cells
Despite the science fiction-like images the term “stem cells” might bring to mind, this type of veterinary treatment is actually fairly mainstream. We’ve been using stem cell therapy to treat pets for more than 15 years now, and there isn’t anything too far-fetched involved.
Stem cells are immature cells within the body that haven’t quite decided what they want to be when they grow up. This means that when we place them in certain environments (i.e., a specific area of the body), they’ll be swayed to develop into a certain type of cell.
While the most common type of stem cell that receives attention is the embryonic stem cell, all of our bodies contain stem cells. In pets, we typically use stem cells that are derived from bone marrow or, more commonly, fat tissue.
When using stem cells, we harvest them from the patient’s own body, making the risk of side effects or rejection of new cells unlikely. We can obtain the cells via a simple procedure in which the stem cell containing tissue is harvested, and the stem cells taken out are put in a concentrated suspension. That concentrated suspension is then injected directly into the area of concern.
Why Use Stem Cell Therapy in Pets?
When we place stem cells in a certain area of the body, the cells around them can influence their development, resulting in the ability to influence their maturation into functional tissue. This opens up a whole world of possibilities.
At this point, however, our imagination is quite a bit more advanced than our actual knowledge. While we’re years away from being able to grow your cat a new kidney or repairing a damaged area of the brain, we’re successfully using stem cell therapy in pets in several different ways. Common applications involve orthopedic disease and injury, including:
- Reduction of pain and inflammation (such as in osteoarthritis)
- Aiding the healing of tendons, ligaments, and cartilage
- Adjunctive healing after bone fracture or orthopedic surgery
If your pet suffers from an injury or condition that could benefit from stem cell therapy, our doctors are happy to discuss this option with you in more detail. Likewise, if you have any questions about stem cell therapy in pets, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’re always happy to help!
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Schertz Animal Hospital
Since 1976, Schertz Animal Hospital has offered the greater San Antonio area outstanding pet care. Our state-of-the-art animal hospital in Schertz, TX compliments our stress-free handling and experienced veterinary staff. Make an appointment online or give us a call at (210) 659-0345 today!