I have a six year old dog who has been diagnosed with early onset osteoarthritis. My vet mentioned a few different ways to help keep her comfortable, including treatments such as stem-cell therapy. I have done some research and it seems like a complicated, expensive process. Are there any alternative options that may be as effective?
There are many alternatives for treatment, and I like to treat with multiple things to give a better response. We frequently recommend chiropractic care, swim therapy, stem cell mediators, Adequan, laser therapy, and sometimes the Assisi Loop. Since you mentioned stem cell alternatives, we can talk more about that.
Most everyone has heard about stem cell therapy in pets. The treatment that most clinics are using is very expensive and requires a surgical procedure to obtain fat which is then converted into stem cells. Another option exists, called stem cell mediators, which provides similar results for significantly less cost. All that is required is a simple injection given under the skin, starting with two injections one week apart. It stimulates the animal’s own stem cells to go to sites that need healing. Reactions are possible, but uncommon.
In general it is useful for any serious soft tissue injuries, like Inflammatory Degenerative Joint Disease/Osteoarthritritis, as well as spinal inflammation such as slipped disks. We have also had success treating cruciate tears like knee injuries. This is a great option for those who cannot afford surgery and whose only alternative is euthanasia.
Several years ago my own dog began having issues, and despite working with many additional vets and therapists, nothing was working. I found myself in tears and losing hope of finding an answer until I found stem cell mediators. I have been using the procedure in my practice for about three years now with favorable results. This treatment option has improved the quality of life in countless animals.
Stem cell mediator therapy may not be right for every animal, but it gives hope back when we feel there may not be any and is worth asking your veterinarian about.
ABOUT the Vet: Susan Liszewski, DVM is the founder of TLC First Animal Hospital in Chicago. She earned an undergraduate degree in Biology/Zoology from Northeastern Illinois University, a second Bachelors in Veterinary Science, and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, both from the University of Illinois. Dr. Liszewski especially enjoys combining holistic and alternative medicines and recently became certified in Reiki. In her spare time she likes to play guitar, write song lyrics and poetry, and cook, as well as spend time with her four-legged kids, Zeke and Bruno.