Veterinary Stem Cell Therapy Frequently Asked Questions

Gandy Animal Hospital Stem Cell Therapy - Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem cells are powerful healing cells in your body that can become other types of cells.  There are many adult stem cells in fat tissue, however they are asleep.  Our stem cell therapy allows your vet to isolate stem cells from an animal’s own fat tissue, wake them up, and reinject them directly into damaged areas.  For example, in the case of arthritis, stem cells become new cartilage cells, thus reducing pain and increasing mobility.

How Can Stem Cell Therapy Assist My Pet?
Stem cells treat the source of the problem by becoming new tissue to replace damaged tissue.  Other treatments, such as NSAIDs, merely attempt to reduce symptoms.  The treatment is very low risk, because it uses the animal’s own stem cells.  Studies from usage of our current stem-cell technology company has found that over 95% of animals treated have shown improvement.  

How Long Has This Been Available?
Stem cell therapy technology for animals has been commercially available since 2004.  Gandy Animal Hospital has been utilitizing this amazing technology since 2010 and has performed procedures on all sizes of pets.

Is It Safe?
Yes, this procedure is very safe.  The biggest risk is using anesthetic, to remove the fat tissue.  On a typical patient, once the patient is prepared for the procedure, the actual procedure of harvesting the fat cells used to collect the stem cells can be as little as only 15 minutes by our veterinarians and medical team.  

What Happens To My Pet When They Come In For Stem Cell Therapy? 
First, your vet will put your pet under general anesthetic.  Then, he/she will make a small incision and collect 2-4 tablespoons of fat (either in the belly or behind the shoulder blades). Since your pet is under anesthetic, this is a great opportunity to do anything else needed – spay/neuter, or dental for example. 

Our medical team which has undergone intense training will then process the sample, immediately at our facility on-site using our equipment.  After about 3 hours, the cells are ready for injection into areas of damage.  In addition, some cells are administered IV.  For the administration step, your pet will either not sedated at all, locally anesthetized with ethyl chloride spray, or lightly sedated, depending on what’s best for your pet.  You can pick up your pet later typically the same day.

What Is The Recovery Period, And How Long Does It Take To See Results?
We recommend that the patient be kept quiet for the first 10 days.  Then, while they may feel a lot better, you will need to be careful so your pet doesn’t injure themselves until they build up some of their muscles.  Swimming and walking in water is great therapy.  We typically see improvement starting after 3 weeks, and then continuing up to around 2 months. 

The Most Common Conditions Using Stem-Cell Therapy are:

  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Degenerative Joint Disease
  • Calcifications
  • Common Degeneration and Inflammation
  • Soft Tissue Injuries 
  • Cruciate Injuries 
  • Ligament Tears
  • Ligament Ruptures
  • Ligament Inflammation
  • Accelerated Healing of Fractures

We also treat other cases under “compassionate use”.  We know less about these conditions, but are seeing some exciting results.  Some of those conditions are: degenerative myelopathy, feline gingivitis, end-stage renal disease, liver and kidney failure, allergy, auto-immune, inflammatory bowel disease, pulmonary fibrosis, IMHA, atopy, and spine trauma. Please talk to our veterinarians or medical team should you have questions about any of these conditions.

How Long Does A Treatment Last? What Happens If My Pet Starts Having Trouble Again? 
We typically see about 1-3 years of relief after the initial treatment.  Most pet owners chose to bank cells, so retreatment is easy.  Gandy Animal Hospital utilizes banking facility in which, if opted for, can cryogenically store the previously harvested cells.  If symptoms return, we can request a dose of cells from the bank, and injects them.  No surgery is necessary.

Are There Any Animals That You Don’t Treat?
Yes.  Because we don’t know exactly what happens when cancer patients are treated with stem cells based on human studies, we do not treat those patients

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