A Richmond, Utah dog struggling for mobility is getting a new leash on life, courtesy of a new stem cell treatment for canines.
It’s not embryonic cells, but the dog’s own that are used in the treatment. North Logan vet Dr. James Israelsen of the Mountain View Veterinary Health Clinic performed the procedure on “Coty.”
Coty with Miller’s wife, Diane Bush.
“We have to harvest some fat from them to isolate the stem cells. And in her case, she’s a thin dog, so we actually harvested a little bit of abdominal fat just from the front of her abdominal cavity,” he explained.
Coty’s owner, Dan Miller, says it was hard to watch his Husky – once capable of 40-mile runs – lose mobility.
“Painkillers never really seemed to make a difference, at least in her stride, the limp in her stride,” Miller said.
Coty went through other treatments, including glucosamine and even acupuncture, but they didn’t help.
That’s when the doctor suggested stem cell treatment as an option. It was an expensive option, one Miller says he was only able to afford because Dr. Israelsen performed it at cost, a total of around $1,600 between his clinic’s expenses and the payment to Vet-Stem of San Diego.
Dr. Israelsen removed about 60 grams of fat from Coty on March 16, 2009, and shipped it in a special temperature-controlled container to Vet-Stem. The company extracted the stem cells from Coty’s fat, and then shipped it back to the clinic where it was injected straight into Coty’s affected joint – an elbow. The entire process took about three days.
Miller says Coty’s not showing signs of improvement yet, but Dr. Israelsen says that’s not uncommon. He expects to be able to tell a difference sometime between one month and three months from the injection.