In recent times, stem cells have been in the news, particularly due to the successes recorded in the trials conducted. In this article, we will be providing answers to some of the questions you might have regarding stem cells.
What are stem cells?
Stem cells are the building blocks of the body. They are like blank slates, and they divide to form more cells known as daughter cells. These daughter cells either self-renew (become new stem cells) or differentiate (become cells with specific and specialized functions such as blood cells, bone marrow cells etc.). No other cell in the body possesses such ability in generating new cell types. Therefore, they are one of the most used items in veterinary regenerative medicine. Research has shown that we have two major types of stem cells.
First, we have the embryonic stem cells, which are stem cells that come from embryos that are within 3 to 5 days old. They are pluripotent (they can divide into more stem cells or become any kind of cell in the body). This unique characteristic and versatility is a key reason why embryonic stem cells are used to treat diseased tissues and organs.
We also have adult stem cells; these stem cells are usually found in very minute numbers in most adult tissues such as fat and bone marrow. However, adult stem cells-like the versatility that embryonic stem cells possess.
What is stem cell therapy?
Due to the versatility and regenerative properties of embryonic stem cells, it can be used to treat and heal injuries in pets.
They are usually injected into the body to repair joints, ligaments and muscles that may have been damaged by arthritis or injury.
What are some of the things that stem cell therapy can be used to treat?
The most popular use of stem cell therapy has been in the treatment of osteoarthritis in pets. However, they can also be used in repairing ligament, bone and spinal cord injuries, in the treatment of kidney and liver disease, cardiomyopathies and certain inflammatory diseases of the gut and skin.
How is stem cell therapy performed?
Once you get a definite diagnosis of the condition that your pet is suffering from and found to be a suitable therapy for the treatment, there are essentially three steps involved.
The first step involves the collection of fat from your pet. This procedure is usually performed when your pet is under anesthesia. Fat cells are the most common type of cells used, and they are taken from an incision either in the shoulder or groin region.
The next step involves the transfer of these fat cells that to specialized laboratory where the stem cells in it extracted and concentrated.
The final stage of treatment is the injection of the stem cells into the required area. Some form of anesthesia is administered to the pet at this stage.
The fantastic thing about this therapy is that the special care required post stem cell therapy is usually minimal.
What are the benefits of stem cell therapy?
A major benefit of stem cell therapy is that it can be used to treat both existing injuries that have not fully healed and injuries that have just occurred.
Another awesome benefit of stem cell therapy is that recovery time after the stem cell treatment is very short and your pet, in most cases, can return home in little or no time.
Also, it improves the quality of life of your pet by reducing their pain and increasing their mobility by inflammation control.
What is the success measure of stem cell treatment?
Between 60 to 85% of pet owners report improvement after stem cell therapy. This high rate makes it a very effective treatment option. However, due to the nature of joint degradation and the fact that it is usually caused by old age, there is a likelihood for these joints to degenerate further after a while, especially in places where stem cell therapy was not administered.
However, it is usually considered more frequently than surgery because of the minimal invasiveness involved in the procedure and its huge propensity for success.
What is the cost of regenerative stem cell therapy?
The average cost of regenerative stem cell therapy in Texas ranges from $5000 to $20,000. It is usually around this range in most areas in the United States. Several factors have to be considered when calculating the cost of regenerative stem cell therapy.
One of these factors is the experience of the veterinarian. A more experienced veterinarian will cost more, as a more experienced vet will charge a premium for his experience.
Another factor to be considered in the costing is the present condition of the dog and the number of injections needed by the dog.
However, when you compare it with surgical alternatives, stem cell therapy is way cheaper and has a lesser risk of complication.
When it comes to dog stem cell therapy, Texas leads the way. Another place very popular for its dog regenerative medicine is league city. There are several reputable veterinary clinics in Houston and lots of affordable pet clinics in Houston, Texas.
Some of the reputable forerunners of regenerative medicine in dogs that combine a prestigious reputation and affordable prices include Safari Veterinary Care Center and Animal Hospital, Houston, Texas.
A few clients had this to say:
“A super friendly staff!! They guided me through every aspect for my conures check-in, and he was ready to go home in less than ten minutes after they brought him back, it’s my first time going there, so I was a bit nervous but i absolutely adore the way they communicate and handle their patients. I will definitely be making this clinic Fitz’s primary care place.” – Kortni R
“Have used Safari for years. My little Gretchen saw Dr Banuelos. Great care once again.” – Jennifer T
“Beautiful facility and awesome staff and Vets. The only thing I would change is that the vet would come back into the room after examining the pet and say that tech will give instructions if there were other questions and concerns. It makes me feel like they left without saying goodbye and is a little rude.” – Mary W