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Norwich Bulletin - 4/12/2009

Stem Cell Therapy Being Used For Horses

Stem cell therapy Ė we all know about the controversies that arise when anyone brings up the subject. But have you ever thought what it might do for your pets?

Exactly what are stem cells? They are a building block of bone marrow and blood foundation that becomes white and red blood cells and platelets. They are cells that have the ability to make exact copies of themselves indefinitely. They can also produce specialized cells for various tissues in the body, such as heart muscle and brain or liver tissue.

There are two types of stem cells. The embryonic stem cell which is obtained from unborn fetuses or fertilized eggs from invitro fertilization. These are the best for research or medical purposes because they can produce cells for any tissue in the body. The other type is the adult stem cell, which has more specific research uses, and is not as helpful in research.

In 2003, animal stem cell treatments started to be used for the treatment of tendonitis in horses. The research has grown to include other animals, like dogs. Once they find a potential candidate, tests are done, which includes medical history and other tests.

The stem cells are then collected from the candidate animal. These cells are their own natural healing cells and help regenerate injured tissues. The cells are very smart and can kno9w what to differentiate, be it tendons, ligaments, cartilage, cardiac muscle, liver and so on.

The fat samples (stem cells to be) are collected from the groin area, close to the inner thighs. They are sent overnight to a stem cell lab, such as the Vet Stem Company. Forty-eight hours later, the cells are returned to your vet and that same day the stem cells are injected into the patient so the natural healing can begin.

Many vets are presently utilizing stem cell therapy for the treatment of osteoarthritis in animals. While dogs and horses receive great benefits from this, there are only a few cats benefiting from this treatment because they hide their pain so well. Owners are not always aware that their cats are in any kind of pain. Cat owners are being encouraged to have their pets examined thoroughly to see if they might benefit from cell therapy to cure or control diseases.

If you see your older cat get up after resting and appear stiff, maybe walking differently, start paying attention. If your cat is reluctant to jump or has a pained expression, it might be signs of arthritis. If tests show osteoarthritis, look into the therapies available to relieve some of the pain (this goes for dogs too). While stem cell therapy is not going to be right or affordable for everyone, there are options, such as glucosamne or chondroit, which are deemed safe for the cats. Dogs have even greater choices for their therapy.

And you as a pet owner can make life easier. Keep the weight down, donít do strenuous exercise, give them warmth and massage them gently. If you suffer from arthritis, then you know the pain they are in. For more information on SCR, go to

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