Lowcountry dog becomes first in state to have in-clinic stem cell procedure

Posted: May 19, 2011 7:42 PM EDT Updated: May 20, 2011 11:12 AM EDT
By Lia Sestric
lsestric@abcnews4.com
Charleston News

JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) — A Lowcountry canine became the first dog to receive in-clinic stem cell therapy in South Carolina on Thursday.

Meldoy Bailey, left, and Dr. Ruth Roberts, right, work to comfort Gator before the procedure. (Lia Sestric/WCIV)

Gator, a six-year-old black Labrador retriever, was treated at Sun Dog Cat Moon Veterinary Clinic on James Island. His owner, Melody Bailey, said he has struggled with osteoarthritis since he was a puppy.
Bailey said she read about the stem cell procedure and the positive results and was willing to give it a try.
“To me it’s very important,” she said. “When you take on the responsibility of an animal, they are your responsibility to make sure they have a comfortable life.”

And that’s what Sun Dog Cat Moon Veterinary Clinic plans to accomplish by choosing Gator as the first SC dog to undergo the stem cell procedure from MediVet-America.
“We’re trying to alleviate the amount of pain he has to endure in his life,” Dr. Ruth Roberts said.
It’s an in-clinic procedure, which means no samples have to be sent out, and it everything is complete in one day.
Roberts said there is nothing controversial about the way the stem cells are obtained because they come from the dog’s body.

“All of the stem cells came from him,” she said. “So no embryonic cells used here.”
For the procedure, Gator was first shaved in the problem areas. Then, a small incision was made in to remove fat tissue, which was used to generate new stem cells. The stem cells were then separated, activated and injected into the affected area.

Roberts said she expects Gator to make substantial improvements in his mobility within a couple of months. She also said his owner, Bailey, should notice a difference soon.
“I can’t wait to see him walk around where he isn’t all gimpy,” Bailey said.

The procedure costs about $2,000.