Stem cells are the body’s basic building blocks. These versatile cells can generate multiple cell types, and are a natural internal repair system. Stem cell therapy is the process of placing stem cells into diseased or damaged tissues, to generate new, healthy cell growth. The Marina Village Veterinary and Integrative  Care team is excited to offer this cutting-edge healing technique for our patients. 

What is stem cell therapy for pets?

Stem cell therapy uses stem cells, typically derived from your own pet, which are infused systemically or injected into specific damaged areas. Stem cells reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and promote new tissue growth. Stem cell therapy is often referred to as regenerative medicine, because the process leverages the body’s own healing capacity for tissue repair.  

How does stem cell therapy differ from pain medication for pets?

Stem cell therapy focuses on the problem source rather than only reducing symptoms. Pain and anti-inflammatory medications can be helpful for your pet, but may also have side effects on their internal organs. Stem cell therapy is a natural way to repair damaged tissue, and can reduce or eliminate the need for pain medication. 

What pet conditions can be treated with stem cell therapy?

Stem cell therapy is widely used in human medicine. At Marina Village Veterinary and Integrative Care, we recommend stem cell therapy for the following pet conditions:

  • Osteoarthritis — Osteoarthritis occurs over time because of joint inflammation and cartilage wear that results in pain and decreased mobility. Stem cells implanted into arthritic joints can develop into new cartilage cells, release proteins that slow down cartilage degeneration, and suppress painful inflammation.
  • Canine hip dysplasia — Hip dysplasia is a hip joint misalignment, which can result in painful hip luxation and osteoarthritis. A total hip replacement can correct the problem, but is a major and costly surgery. Although stem cell therapy does not change the joint alignment, the regenerative and anti-inflammatory characteristics of stem cells can help a dog with hip dysplasia experience less pain and increased mobility.
  • Cranial cruciate ligament tears — The cranial cruciate ligament is responsible for stabilizing the knee joint. Dogs commonly suffer partial or complete ligament tears that cause pain, swelling, and lameness. Surgery can repair the ligament or alter the knee joint configuration, but not all pets are good surgical candidates. Stem cells reduce joint inflammation and can differentiate into healthy ligament tissue.
  • Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) — The spine is comprised of bony vertebrae separated by cartilaginous discs, which can degenerate over time. Discs may rupture or become displaced, press on the spinal cord, and cause pain, decreased mobility, or total paralysis. Stem cells promote healing of damaged discs, and help form the fibrous connective tissue to keep discs in place. 
  • Atopic Dermatitis — Atopy in pets is a genetic tendency to develop an overactive immune system to a benign substance, such as pollen, grass, or dust mites. Pets with atopy are itchy and uncomfortable, and require allergy desensitization treatments or lifelong immunosuppressive medications. Stem cell therapy can be infused systemically to help modulate the immune system and alleviate atopy symptoms.
  • Stomatitis in cats — Stomatitis is a severe and painful inflammatory condition of the gums resulting from an immune reaction to bacteria or plaque. Traditional treatments include immunosuppressive medications, antibiotics, pain control, and whole mouth tooth extractions. Unfortunately, many cats may undergo all possible options and still suffer from disease signs. Systemic cell therapy can markedly reduce oral inflammation and provide immune-modulating effects. 

How is stem cell therapy performed in pets?

We use a proprietary, in-house process to isolate stem cells from your pet, and re-introduce them into the areas of need. Marina Village Veterinary and Integrative  Care stem cell therapy protocol includes anesthetizing your pet to obtain a small amount of abdominal fat, and then processing the sample to isolate stem cells. This single process will provide stem cells for up to six additional treatments. For orthopedic conditions, stem cells are injected directly into the damaged area, and systemic conditions receive an intravenous infusion.  

Is stem cell therapy safe for pets?

Anesthesia is required for the brief procedure to obtain the abdominal fat sample. We use the latest in anesthetic protocols, and our highly trained staff closely monitor your pet at all times. The sample processing, and stem cell administration into your pet, are performed under strict sterile conditions. Because stem cells originate in your pet, the chance of reaction or rejection when your pet receives a treatment is minimal. 

How long does stem cell therapy take to work in pets?

Stem cells need time to grow and repair damaged tissue. Some pets can show improvement after only a week, whereas others may require a full month. Some may need additional infusions at three and six months to ensure a complete response. Successful treatment can last between one to four years before another infusion is needed. 

Is your pet a good candidate for stem cell therapy? Don’t hesitate to contact  Marina Village Veterinary and Integrative Care to answer your questions about how stem cell therapy can improve your pet’s health and well-being.