Vets using stem cell therapy to treat pets in pain

Stem cell therapy for pets in pain

PORTLAND, Ore. -- “I knew this guy was going to steal my heart,” said Paul Luntsford as he looked at a picture on his cellphone.

The picture captured the special moment when Beau, an abandoned Great Dane puppy, went home with his best friend.

“He's part of our family just as if he had two legs and wasn't covered with fur,” said Luntsford.

Beau is eight years old now. His lifetime has been filled with lots of fun.

“Beau's most favorite thing on a sunny day is go out in yard and just be silly he loves to roll around. He barks at birds,” Luntsford said.

But these days he's not doing much of that. About two years ago, Luntsford noticed Beau was having trouble moving. That was the start of arthritis. Something as simple as sitting down is hard for Beau.

Luntsford said he and his wife tried everything from shots, to pain medication, to laser therapy. Nothing worked.

“If we were able to fix this one thing, maybe the last few years of his life would be good years rather than miserable years,” said Luntsford.

So on Tuesday, he and Beau tried something different. Beau had his first stem cell procedure.

“There's a possibility that this might be enough to make him feel better for the rest of his life,” said Dr. Rosie Gilbert, who owns Viking Veterinary Care.

Treatments can last up to about two-and-a-half years. Gilbert said they took the fat from Beau's shoulder, separated out the stem cells and are re-injecting the concentrated dose into his joints.

“When we're putting them into a joint, we're hoping they're going to differentiate into cartilage and bone and synovial fluid. Whatever the body needs,” said Gilbert.

The effects should start kicking in over the next few days. Luntsford and his wife are hoping Beau will be back to his normal self soon, getting goofy and running around outside again.

“That's what's going to set my heart off in a good way,” said Luntsford.

The treatment isn’t cheap. Gilbert said one treatment runs about $2,000. Still, Beau's owner said it's worth it.

He was spending between $450-600 a month on other therapy already.

Luntsford said he’s also got a lot of faith in Gilbert, who so happens to have saved Beau's life after he got parvo when he was just a puppy.


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