Stem Cell Therapy For Pets: What You Need To Know

Stem cell therapy has been a highly controversial topic in the United States over the course of the past decade, with many regulations and restrictions placed on the treatment in humans. However, veterinarians have been using stem cell therapy on dogs, cats, and other pets for the last several years. If you have a pet, being aware of how stem cell therapy works and what to expect from it could help you seek the right treatment for your pet in the event of a serious injury or illness.

How Does it Work?

Essentially, stem cell therapy in pets works by extracting fat tissue or blood from the pet's bone marrow, separating the stem cells from other cells, and injecting the stem cells back into the pet's body (usually in the problem area, such as an injury site). The idea is that the stem cells can be used to help promote natural healing without the need for more invasive treatments, such as surgeries or risky medications.

What Can it Treat?

There are many potential illnesses, injuries, and medical conditions that stem cell therapy has been used to treat in pets. A few examples of the most commonly treated conditions include the following:

  • certain types of cancers
  • arthritis and bone injuries
  • diabetes
  • muscle, joint, and ligament damage

What Are the Risks?

As with any medical procedure, there are potential risks involved with stem cell therapy--particularly in smaller pets. The biggest concern is the risk of a pet developing cancer as a result of the therapy. However, in recent years, veterinarians have developed precautions that can be taken to reduce this risk in pets preparing to receive stem cell therapy. Still, many pet owners find that the risks involved with stem cell therapy aren't as severe as the risks involved with invasive surgeries and other potential treatment methods.

Want to Find Out More?

Currently, finding a veterinarian that offers stem cell therapy in the United States can be a bit of a challenge, as the treatment is still relatively new. If you're interested in finding a veterinarian that offers it near you, check with local veterinary colleges and teaching hospitals; you may be able to receive a referral.

Overall, stem cell therapy is picking up steam in the veterinary world, and more veterinarians will likely begin offering it as a viable treatment option in the future. After all, it can be a great way to treat a number of medical conditions and injuries in pets without the need for risky surgery.

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