Degenerative joint disease is one of the top problems we diagnose in pets. Wear and tear, injury, and congenital problems can all lead to arthritis in our pets. Just as in people, pet arthritis can lead to pain, decreased mobility, and an overall lowered quality of life.
We are learning more and more about osteoarthritis in pets and have more treatment options available than ever before. One of the newer treatment modalities in veterinary medicine is the use of stem cells for pet arthritis. Learn more about this highly effective option to help our pets who suffer from degenerative joint disease.
What is Arthritis?
You have probably heard the term arthritis. But do you really know what it means?
Arthritis is a condition which affects a joint, or two bones held together by a joint capsule. In between these two bones there is a squishy padding called cartilage, bathed by slippery synovial fluid that lubricates the joint. Over time, parts of the cartilage may be damaged and the joint capsule will become thickened and angry, resulting in pain and inflammation. This is arthritis.
Arthritis in pets often results from normal wear and tear to the joints. Injuries, abnormal conformation, or defects in development can also contribute to the progression of osteoarthritis.
At present there is no cure for arthritis in pets. Pain, stiffness and discomfort in most pets can be successfully managed through the use of various medical therapies.
How Do We Use Stem Cells for Pet Arthritis?
Anti-inflammatory therapy, nutritional supplements, and physical therapy are often the cornerstones of managing an arthritic patient. We are constantly learning more, however, and are able to do a better job than ever when trying to help these pet patients.
In the last ten years or so, we have begun to use stem cell therapy in veterinary medicine. Stem cells are immature cells harvested from fat, bone marrow, or embryonic tissues. These cells have not yet committed to becoming a certain kind of cell. This means that their future is wide open.
When stem cells are placed in an area of the body, the cells around them influence how they develop. This means that when stem cells are placed in an area, they are able to produce some very powerful effects.
- Stem cells for arthritis in pets can:
- Reduce pain and inflammation
- Provide better range of motion
- Help to regenerate tendons, ligaments, and other joint structures
- Improve overall quality of life
Stem cell therapy is becoming more and more available and is relatively non-invasive. The cells are harvested from the pet patient’s own body, making the risk of rejection and other complications unlikely.
Stem cell therapy can be a very effective part of an arthritis management plan for many pets. Please let us know if you have any questions about this valuable treatment modality or if you would like to learn more about our stem cell services at Union Lake Veterinary Hospital.