Stem cell therapy used in Sikeston in dogs - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Stem cell therapy used in Sikeston in dogs


Stem cell therapy can be a very controversial issue, but now some veterinarians are using new techniques to harvest those cells.

The cutting edge procedure helps fight degenerative diseases and has only been performed a few times in Missouri.

Experts say regenerative medicine using stem cells is a less invasive and more cost effective alternative for dogs suffering from osteoarthritis and cartilage injuries.

Googus is an 8 year old Boxer mix diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy.

This terminal disease affects the spinal cord causing loss of control in the hind legs.

"Even though they're unable to use their back legs they're still normal in their brain and they just don't understand why they can't walk," said Dr. Stephen Williams, Animal Health Center. "There's just not a good connection and transmission from the nerves to the back legs."

But new technology could slow, if not stop, its progression. Dr. Williams is using stem cell therapy to counteract this and other degenerative diseases in dogs.

"The stem cells from the patient are the ones that are going to benefit that same patient versus trying to take stem cells from a different dog and putting them in this dog," said Dr. Williams. "By harvesting the stem cells from the fat versus people have heard of stem cells from umbilical cords and stuff like that we're taking it from the fat tissue and harvesting those and actually activating with a fluorescent light."

Once the fat is extracted it's a two hour process to prepare the new stem cells. Those are then injected back into the patient along with platelets that work with the immune system to fight the disorder.

This is only the third time this procedure has been performed in Missouri and Dr. Williams said he's excited to implement such a break-through treatment.

"I'm excited about bringing new things to our region," said Dr. Williams. "Just because we're in Southeast Missouri doesn't mean we can't have the most current technology and a lot of people can't go out to specialty centers to get it done."

As with most new things, its reach is unknown.

"We're hopeful that down the road with more technology and more time that we'll learn other uses for it as well," added Dr. Williams.

Dr. Williams said it will take several weeks to determine if the procedure is successful. He said they will have to monitor Googus and see if the degeneration slows.

Dr. Williams added Googus was able to leave just hours after the procedure with minimal recovery time.

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