Stem cell therapy gives dog new lease on life

Posted: June 22, 2012 at 10:19 am

Stem cell therapy has gone to the dogs. The technology aimed at giving ailing pets a new lease on life has arrived in Hawaii.

13-year-old Kumba is still a bit dazed, coming out of general anesthesia. The veterinarian at Surf Paws Animal Hospital just extracted about two tablespoons of fat tissue from the dog. Stem cells from that fat tissue will then be used to help him with his arthritis.

"Once we get the stem cells then we do some extra processing steps to wake them up so that they're very active. At the end of that, the veterinarian will inject the stem cells into the areas of damage," says Carol Spangler Vaughn of Medivet America.

A company called MediVet America is bringing the technology to animal hospitals in Hawaii. This is a first for Oahu. The company says the procedure works on other animals with different types of ailments.

"So the nice thing about this we're not gonna give you a puppy back but we'll give you some nice quality time with your animal. You won't have to put them down because of their arthritis," Vaughn said.

Kumba's arthritis had gotten worse in the past five years, and his owners were wondering whether it was best to end his life to stop him from suffering.

'When we start saying things like oh we don't know how much longer, poor Kumba, he must be in a lot of pain. That kind of stuff really hits home especially since he's been with us for so long," said Rumi Hospodar Kumba's owner.

But with this new procedure, they're counting on Kumba to be pain free in a few weeks and are looking forward to get backdoing some of the things Kumba enjoyed, like swimming.

"He can't do that now since his joints are so bad, and he's getting so old so that's one of the many things I'm looking forward to," Kelsea Hopsodar, his other owner said.

The cost of the procedure runs from 24 to 28 hundred dollars, and it's covered by most pet insurance policies.

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Stem cell therapy gives dog new lease on life

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