Regenerative medicine therapies, including stem cell and platelet-rich plasma injections, have been helping pets for many years. Regenerative medicine enables pets to replace their own damaged cells with healthy tissue, to effectively treat injuries, inflammatory conditions, chronic diseases, and more. More recently, amnion has been introduced as another strategy to regenerate tissues and speed healing. Marina Village Veterinary and Integrative Care uses amnion to encourage regeneration of internal and external injuries, including skin and eye wounds, and we’ve seen great results with this non-invasive treatment strategy. Here’s how amnion works to help heal your pet’s superficial wounds.
What is amnion for pets?
The amniotic membrane lines the fluid-filled sac that protects and nourishes a developing fetus. Amnion product manufacturers harvest the membrane from animals shortly after natural birth, so the product is cruelty-free. The membrane contains a host of natural, beneficial substances that can prevent infection, moderate the immune system, and provide building blocks for tissues like collagen and protein molecules. Because amnion is designed to protect unborn babies and prevent the mother’s immune system from recognizing them as foreign, amnion is considered “immune-privileged,” making rejection highly unlikely.
Amnion for corneal ulcers in pets
The cornea is the clear tissue covering the front of the eye that protects the eye and helps focus light. Pets commonly sustain corneal ulcers or scratches because of injury, underlying eye disease or structural abnormalities, or viral infections, or they may occur spontaneously in older pets. A superficial corneal injury can heal in a normal pet in a few days, but some ulcers become more serious. Any pet can be affected, but those with large, round eyes, such as pugs, Boston terriers, French bulldogs, and Persian cats, are more likely to suffer serious ulcer complications, including infection, corneal “melting,” deep ulcers, and non-healing ulcers. Complicated ulcers can lead to eye rupture and potential eye loss.
Many corneal ulcers are treated effectively with antibiotic drops to prevent infection while the body heals itself, but complicated ulcers need additional treatment. Deep ulcers weaken the cornea, and effective healing relies on blood vessel growth from nearby conjunctiva, which can take weeks, leaving the eye vulnerable to rupture. Most ophthalmologists recommend grafting surgery to fill the defect and restore corneal strength, which is usually successful, but isn’t the best option for all pets or pet owners. Some pets cannot undergo anesthesia because of other medical conditions, and the surgery cost (i.e., $3,000 to $5,000 or more) can be prohibitive.
Amnion formulated into an eyedrop can be an effective, non-invasive, affordable treatment option for complicated ulcers. The amnion provides a favorable corneal environment, and promotes faster cell migration, reduces excess inflammation, prevents infection, and repairs damage. For deep ulcers, healing is faster, with a higher likelihood of success than antibiotics alone. Amnion can also inhibit the protein-dissolving substance that some bacteria produce, helping to resolve aggressive infections that could cause the cornea to “melt” and the eye to rupture.
Amnion for skin wounds in pets
Pets sustain skin wounds from trauma, self-mutilation from itching or anxiety, skin conditions, and surgical incisions. When skin wounds occur, proper wound care and treatment are vital to your pet’s wellbeing. Minor cuts and scrapes can be treated with first aid at home, but more serious skin wounds need extensive treatment and often require some combination of sutures, drains, bandages, and oral medications. Most pet wounds are considered “contaminated,” so closing them completely would trap bacteria inside and create a serious problem. Instead, veterinarians often leave wounds partially or completely open to heal on their own (i.e., second intention healing) and use supportive care to prevent infection and speed healing. Initially, they clean the skin wound and remove dead tissue from the edges, and then treat with topical antimicrobial agents and frequent bandage changes for weeks to months.
Skin wounds require visits to the veterinarian every few days, and the cost can add up quickly. Amniotic membrane products can be placed directly on skin wounds, providing an antimicrobial protection layer and a scaffold for cells to attach and grow more quickly, which results in significantly faster wound healing, and reduces inflammation, scarring, drainage, and the need for bandage changes. Fewer veterinary visits means a quicker recovery for your pet and your pocketbook.
Amnion is a natural treatment that can help skin and corneal tissues regenerate, and help your pet avoid surgery in some cases. If you’d like to learn more about regenerative medicine options at Marina Village Veterinary and Integrative Care, contact us to schedule an appointment with our experienced team.