Every dog owner would love to have more time with their pet. While those are futuristic dreams, modern technology has opened new doors in the ways we care for our pet’s longevity. This new type of care can help them live longer and healthier lives.
Recently, Thor - Fi's Chief Dog Officer - was diagnosed with elbow dysplasia. Elbow dysplasia (like hip dysplasia) is an umbrella term encompassing a misalignment of the bone's structure during growth. This happens often in large dog breeds and can result in the early development of arthritis, bone or cartilage destruction, and overall discomfort in the joints as the dog ages.
There are not that many treatments available for these conditions - sometimes if the misalignment is major, surgery is recommended but for minor displacement, a vet's only weapon is typical arthritis drugs and overall pain management.
Interestingly, recent medical research has shown that stem cell therapy can do miracles for these types of joint trauma at all ages. In small groups of dogs, doctors have seen more than 80% improvement in dogs with arthritis conditions. As Thor is still young (5 yo) and loves running after toys, Jonathan, his dad (and our CEO) decided to take a shot at the treatment and document it for us!
There are 3 phases to treat a dog with stem cells:
- Collect the stem cells from the dog - this is usually done by extracting stem cells from the tissue removed during spaying or neutering. Ideally, 15 doses are extracted from the pet’s discarded reproductive tissue. If your dog has already been spayed/neutered, another process is possible where fat is collected from the abdomen and around 10 doses of stem cells are extracted. Each dose contains around 15 million stem cells.
- Grow the stem cells - in this phase, the extracted stem cells will be multiplied by the millions and “banked” which means kept in stock to be administered to your dog as needed.
- Infusion - the “bank” ships an IV syringe of stem cell-infused liquid to your vet, who can inject your dog with the IVwho can then administer the stem cells via IV injection, releasing the stem cells in his body.
One of the leading companies in the extraction and banking of stem cells for dogs is Gallant.
Prior to the initial extraction surgery and during his first infusion, Thor was under the care of Dr. Jamie Richardson, Head of Veterinary Medicine at Small Door Veterinary, a great friend of Fi.
Arthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD), is often a progressively painful and sometimes debilitating condition for an estimated 20% of all dogs over the age of 1. Until recently, our therapeutic options have been limited to disease management rather than modifying the disease process progression. Even with the addition of more integrative approaches such as physiotherapy, acupuncture, laser, and nutraceuticals, all of these treat the symptoms only-until the advent of stem cell therapy. Early research shows promise for using stem cell therapy as regenerative medicine…where a dog's own cells can be used to both replace damaged cartilage cells in the DJD process but also significantly reduce inflammatory markers that contribute to progressive cell destruction and subsequent pain in a joint. Another great benefit of stem cell therapy is that there are very few side effects or contraindications for use.
The team at Small Door looks forward to monitoring Thor’s progress and we are excited to offer this novel approach in the battle against arthritis to help more dogs live longer, happier, pain-free lives!
Thor is not an extreme case - his condition was detected because he exhibited a slight limp from the front left leg coming and going after intense exercise. He will continue to receive stem cell infusions every year until he gets older, hoping that starting this treatment in his early days will prevent his joints from getting painful further down the road.
If you and your vet decide that stem cell therapy could be beneficial for your dog, Galant has provided a discount code for Fi customers. Make sure to use the code THOR100 to get $100 off your Gallant stem cells banking.
To be clear, Fi does not benefit in any way from you using Gallant service - this is not a paid partnership and we only document this because we believe this is incredible biotechnology that can benefit lots of dogs as they age.
What Are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are somewhat "baby" cells in the sense that they don’t have a purpose yet, which gives them the ability to repopulate other areas and bodily tissues. Gallant specializes in a proprietary process that only collects Mesenchymal Stem Cells. These types of stem cells are not derived from embryos - which has caused moral and ethical controversy in the past. Instead, Gallant extracts the cells from the reproductive tissue normally discarded during your pup's spay/neuter.
What is Stem Cell Therapy?
It is a treatment in which new stem cells are placed in the dead or ill tissue of the patient. Stem cell therapy is also known as regenerative medicine, a process that allows the body to regenerate itself naturally.
The amazing thing about stem cell therapy is that stem cells once activated can become the needed tissue. They can become bone, cartilage, muscle, and adipose (fat) cells, among others.
Conditions That Can Be Treated
Studies indicate stem cell therapy can help treat your dog’s osteoarthritis, bone injuries, or any issues with joints, tendons, and ligaments. As your dog grows old, areas with soft tissues - like the ones just mentioned - can degenerate quite quickly. Stem cells can help slow down this process.
With companies like Gallant leading the way, dog owners can now take steps to prevent and cure issues that their pup may face. Discuss with your veterinarian whether it would be the right treatment for your buddy.
This is what an IV infusion with around 15 million stem cells looks like - these will soon travel through Thor’s body and become regenerative tissue in the area that is damaged.
As mentioned above, Fi is not dispensing medical advice. So please discuss with your vet to determine if this is a technique that could prove beneficial to your dog. If your vet is not familiar with this, don’t hesitate to email Gallant at firstname.lastname@example.org and they can recommend a vet that is familiar with stem cell therapy.