New treatment: Will it help aging pets?


Early results of a pricey stem cell procedure are giving some pet owners hope their aging or injured pets might get a new leg up on life, according to a story by the Associated Press.

Banner, an 8-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, belongs to Lori Erwin. He had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his leg. He then under went a relatively new stem cell procedure at Cheat Lake Animal Hospital in W.Va., that veterinarians say helps regenerate cells. Ideal candidates for surgery include dogs who have osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease and ligament problems, but are otherwise mostly healthy.

“He was tentative on his leg before,” Erwin said. “He wouldn’t jump up. Two days after the surgery, he was ready to go.”

His veterinarian thought the stem cell surgery might help him fully recover from stiffness and tentativeness in the affected leg and chose him as a patient for a trial of the new technology, developed by MediVet-America. Cheat Lake Animal Hospital also performed the surgery March 18 on the first cat in West Virginia to receive it.

Heidi Heller said full results are expected in a month or two post-surgery, but both Banner and the cat, named Brother, started seeing changes within a few days.
MediVet’s inhouse procedure costs about $1,800 for dogs and cats, and $2,400 for horses, spokesman Bob DeWitt said.

MediVet’s Rebecca Courtad said the stem cell procedure has been used in veterinary offices across the country for about a year now.

“To see these dogs come in – most of them are on their last leg, literally. Most of them are going to be euthanized, there’s nothing else you can do for them,” Courtad said. “They were in so much pain and now they are loving life.”