Here are the most common questions pet owners have about stem cell therapy for their dog.
How do I know if my dog will benefit from stem cell therapy?
Every dog regardless of age, size and breed can undergo stem cell therapy. If your dog has arthritis, he or she is a perfect candidate for stem cell therapy.
Signs your dog may be experiencing arthritis symptoms are:
Reduced activity, reluctance to walk or play, stiffness in legs, difficulty getting up, limping, lagging on walks, licking at joints, personality changes or a reduced appetite.
Do you treat all patients with Stem Cell Therapy?
We take a multi-modal approach to each individual patient in order to achieve the best possible outcome. Our single goal is to significantly improve the lives of the patients under our care, and this may mean we advise treatments to compliment the Stem Cell and regenerative therapies we use, including but not limited to:
- Non steroidals
- Nutritional supplements
- Dietary change
- Laser therapy
- Pulse therapy
- Cartrophen injections
What are stem cells?
Stem cells are powerful healing cells in the body that can become other types of cells. There are many adult stem cells in fat tissue. Stem cell therapy allows us to isolate stem cells from an animal’s own fat tissue, activate them, and re-inject them directly into damaged areas. For example, in the case of arthritis, stem cells can become new cartilage cells, reducing pain and increasing mobility.
Stem cells are the building blocks themselves and have not yet changed into a particular type of cell. Stem cells are known as undifferentiated cells for this reason. Once they become a particular type of cell (for example, bone or cartilage), they are known as differentiated cells. Stem cells are the building blocks of the body tissues.
What is PRP?
PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) is an extract of the dogs own blood, very rich in platelets and low in red blood cells and some types of white blood cells. We use PRP Therapy to reduce inflammation and encourage healing in joints.
What is so great about Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem cells treat the source of the problem by becoming new tissue to replace damaged tissue. Other treatments, such as drugs, though very useful, merely attempt to reduce symptoms. The treatment is very low risk, because it uses the animal’s own stem cells. With our technology, 100% of animals treated for arthritis show improvement (not all cases seen are appropriate for, or treated with, Stem Cell Therapy).
How long has this been available?
Stem cell therapy for animals has been commercially available since 2004, and thousands of animals have been treated around the world. The technology has only relatively recently come to the UK.
Is it safe?
This procedure is very safe. The biggest risk is using a general anesthetic, to remove the fat tissue from which we isolate the stem cells. We always carry out a full pre-anesthetic blood test and use the safest available anesthetics. Typically, the fat is collected in about 30 minutes. Processing the sample in our lab takes 10-14 days, during which the stem cells are isolated, concentrated and activated. In the thousands of animals treated across the world, vets have not noted significant side-effects from this Stem Cell Therapy.
Does my dog need to undergo anesthesia?
Yes, your dog will need to undergo anesthesia. Some people often worry that their dog may be too old for an anesthetic. This isn’t true, anesthesia is safe for older dogs. Please see our article on anaesthesia for older dogs here: https://www.stemcellvet.co.uk/how-safe-is-anaesthesia-for-my-older-dog/
How much does Stem Cell Therapy/PRP Therapy cost?
The initial telephone consult is free.
The vet consultation fee is £150, but this will be fully refunded for clients who proceed with treatment.
The cost of treatment will vary for each patient depending on the individual clinical condition. Prices typically range from £4,000 up to £8000. All treatment and cost considerations are discussed thoroughly at the vet consultation.
Is Stem Cell Therapy covered on insurance?
Both PRP and stem cell treatments are covered by most insurance policies. However please do get in contact with your insurance company to find out if this treatment is covered under your policy. You may also need to check whether the banking of cells in our storage facility is covered under your policy.
What are my payment options?
- Insurance: most insurance companies will cover the costs of Stem Cell Therapy.
- Finance: we offer interest free and low interest payment options through our finance provider, CarefreeCredit.
- Debit/credit cards: we accept Visa and Mastercard debit/credit cards.
How many cases have been treated with Stem Cell Therapy/PRP Therapy?
Thousands of animals have been successfully treated with Stem Cell and Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy. Here at Stem Cell Vet, we have been working with these therapies for the past six years and are seeing, on average, four cases a month.
Which conditions can be treated with Stem Cell Therapy?
We are currently treating all cases of osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia and inflammatory bowel disease.
Can other conditions be treated with Stem Cell Therapy?
There are other conditions we may treat under ‘compassionate use’, including:
- Kidney disease
- Degenerative myelopathy
- Feline gingivitis
Are there any animals that you don’t treat?
Yes. Because we don’t know exactly what happens when cancer patients are treated with stem cells based on human studies, we do not treat those patients, and it is for this reason that we take a chest x-ray on the day of the procedure.
What does the service include?
Our single goal is to significantly improve the lives of the patients under our care. This means we will offer you the best possible regenerative therapy available to help your dog or cat.
- Full initial consultation and physical exam with assessment and recommendations
- Blood tests to ensure suitability for regenerative medicine therapy
- Full radiograph service
- Injection of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) into joint(s)
- Preparation, counting and culture of stem cells
- Injection of stem cells into joint(s)
- Storage of stem cells for future use in our dedicated lab
- Follow up consultations at 30, 60 and 90 days
What happens at the consultation?
An initial consultation is carried out where we discuss all your concerns and carry out a full clinical examination. We will assess the current treatment protocol you have in place and make adjustments or recommendations so that we are happy that you have the benefit of all the most up to date therapies.
This assessment will look at the suitability of any or all of the following conventional treatments:
- Non steroidals
- Nutritional supplements
- Dietary change
- Laser therapy
- Pulse therapy
- Cartrophen injections
In many cases, the patients we see are being treated with some or all of these but are still struggling with their condition.
In these cases we look at stem cell therapy as an additional benefit.
What happens to my pet when they come in for stem cell therapy?
The procedure is carried out in one day as an outpatient, and patients generally do not need an overnight stay with us.
We need some blood tests for anesthetic safety. Once we are happy with these, we administer a short general anesthetic. Typically this lasts 30 to 90 minutes.
We need to take x-rays of the affected areas and also a chest x-ray. Where recent x-rays are available from your own vet, we will not need to repeat these.
We then harvest approximately 40 grams of fat from a site behind the shoulder or just inside the tummy. At this time we may inject Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) into the affected joints. This reduces inflammation and pain in the joint and prepares it to receive stem cells, should they be required. Your pet is then woken from the anesthetic. There may be a few stitches that need to come out in 10 days.
The fat is processed in our lab to isolate, concentrate and activate stem cells and this takes 10-14 days. Once we have the healthy stem cells, we organise a second appointment for a sedative to allow us to inject the cells directly into the affected joints.
We’ll then book you follow up consultations at 30, 60 and 90 days.
We ask you to send us follow up videos and updates on a weekly basis so we can keep a close eye on progress. Where repeat visits are difficult because of travel distances, we can arrange telephone consultations.
What is the recovery period?
Recovery time is short, your pet will go home the same day.
How quickly does Stem Cell Therapy/PRP work and when would you expect to see an improvement?
PRP and stem cells start to work in the body immediately, and we expect to see an improvement within 3 to 6 weeks, but many cases respond even sooner.
How long do the improvements last? What happens if my pet starts having trouble again?
We typically see 1-3 years of relief after the initial treatment, and most dogs only need one treatment. We will bank additional stem cells, so repeat treatment is easy. We have a UK cell banking facility in Scotland. If symptoms return, we request a dose of cells from the bank, and inject them. No repeat surgery is necessary.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment generally lasts for between 9 and 12 months. Some dogs then will benefit from a repeat treatment, while others only ever need one treatment. In some cases we recommend an initial course of treatment requiring two or three injections, 3-4 weeks apart.
How does Stem Cell Therapy work to treat arthritic conditions?
PRP works in three main ways:
- To Initiate and accelerate tendon, ligament and cartilage repair.
- To decrease inflammatory mediators in the joint
- To reduce pain and improve joint function in cases of arthritis.
PRP enhances the recruitment, proliferation and differentiation of cells involved in tissue regeneration.
Stem cells work to orchestrate the healing process. We like to say they act as the ‘conductor’ of the body’s own healing response.
Stem cells do this by acting the following ways;
- They contribute to generating new tissue
- Supply growth factors
- Attract progenitor cells
- Make extracellular matrix
- Help with blood vessel creation
- Prevent cell death
Stem Cells regenerate and replace injured or diseased tissue:
- Via cell differentiation
- By modulating signalling pathways to reduce progression of disease
- By activating resident stem cells
What is the difference between Stem Cell Therapy and PRP Therapy?
The difference between PRP and Stem Cell therapy is one of degree. PRP provides stimulation to improve the quality and speed of the body in providing a healing local response to an injury, whereas stem cells infer to the area an ability to regenerate tissues.
PRP can be done with sedation only; stem cell treatment requires a general anesthetic to surgically harvest the stem cell rich adipose (fat) tissue, and a surgical wound is created which will take a little time to heal.
Tigga is so full of energy and the joy of living once again, it is marvellous. I cannot thank you enough for all you have done for Tigga…I recommend the Stem Cell procedure for arthritis with total conviction.
My cats have had six treatments of stem cells and are doing really well. The staff at Stem Cell Vet were amazing in every way. I would recommend the treatment and all the staff involved in this process.
It has been a privilege to see Stewart. He is very thorough in his investigations and listens to everything you tell him…Arnie has one more treatment left later this month and I am so grateful to Stewart and his team as I know Arnie would probably not be with me, if it wasn’t for Stewart.
Treatment has proved to be of enormous benefit. There is no difficulty in getting Amira mobile and her enthusiasm for running is quite amazing…Long may it continue. I am very happy to recommend Stem Cell Vet.
Stewart and his team have been fabulous in supporting Ollie and us through the treatment, which has significantly improved his mobility…and is clearly in a much more comfort. All of the team care and treat your loved ones as if they were their own.
Dudley is currently doing so much better than before. He is his usual lively self and seems happy and well…We have great peace of mind knowing that Stem Cell Vet are doing all they can for him. I highly recommend contacting them.
We immediately saw the difference. Stewart had a positive attitude and cared about the dog and not my credit card, unlike most of the other vets we had seen. We feel that Stewart has become a friend to us…our dog is now over 2 years old and we hope that with Stewart’s help she lives a lot longer.