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Dogs with Arthritis May Benefit from Stem Cell Therapy

Arthritic dogs might benefit from stem cell treatment.

Arthritis is an extremely common condition that occurs in dogs, especially as they get older. It occurs frequently in all dogs, but it's even more likely to afflict large breed dogs.

Arthritis is degeneration of cartilage and inflammation of joints, and it can affect dogs' knees, hips, elbows, feet, necks, or backs.

What Are the Signs of Canine Arthritis?

Dogs with arthritis may limp. They usually have difficulty jumping up on things that used to be easy for them to manage. They often act stiff when getting up from lying down for a while. They may be reluctant to play or go for walks.

What Is the Treatment for Arthritis in Dogs?

Common treatments for canine arthritis include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Rimadyl or Deramaxx
  • Steroids to combat inflammation
  • Omega-3 fatty acid supplements
  • Acupuncture
  • Pain killers
  • Injections of compounds that can aid in joint remodeling, such as Dasequin
  • Physical therapy

Stem cell therapy is a promising new treatment being used by some veterinarians and veterinary specialists.

What Are Stem Cells?

Stem cells are special cells that have the ability to become almost any type of cell in the body. They are able to continue dividing throughout their life, and they can aid in repairing tissues.

What Is Stem Cell Therapy?

Stem cell therapy is using stem cells to target a specific disease process or concern. Bone marrow transplant is a type of stem cell therapy.

Stem Cell Therapy for Canine Arthritis

Stem cell therapy is increasingly being used for dogs that suffer from arthritis. Adult stem cells are harvested from the dog's fat tissue under general anesthesia. A laboratory then processes the cells and returns them to the dog's veterinarian, who re-sedates the dog and injects them into the affected joints.

While studies are still being done to evaluate the effectiveness of stem cell therapy for treating canine arthritis, anecdotal stories indicate that many people are seeing some success with it in their dogs.

The procedure is fairly expensive, and not all veterinarians perform it. If you're interested in finding out more, talk with your personal veterinarian.

You can learn more about canine arthritis and how to control and prevent it here: "Arthritis in Dogs."

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