'The results are profound'; Stem cell therapy used to treat animal ailments
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Four-year-old Tuxedo may appear normal, but the Border Collie mix actually suffers from a very rare disease called Myotonia congenita. Owners say, anytime she gets excited or startled, she becomes stiff, seemingly frozen.
"So, when all the other dogs are getting all excited, she wants to get excited and so she falls over and it's very, very depressing," Tuxedo's owner Kay Morgan explained.
Tuxedo built up a tolerance to conventional medicines and her health went downhill. Her owners turned to a relatively new treatment -- stem cell therapy.
Researchers have studied stem cell therapy in animals for years. However, only recently, the therapy became available in the United States.
"We're hoping that she'll feel more like a puppy again," Morgan said.
Here is how it works; veterinarians remove a small amount of body fat from the pet, extract the stems cells and then put them back into the patient. Experts say because the procedure uses the pet's own tissue, there are no allergic reactions or negative side effects.
The entire procedure, from fat removal to stem cell injections, takes less than 24 hours.
"What it means for pets is an improvement in the quality of life, almost always a reduction of the necessity for pharmaceuticals," Speedway Veterinary Hospital's Dr. Kayla Boyer told 9OYS.
"The results are profound," Boyer added.
The therapy can be used to treat arthritis, tendon and ligament injuries, bone fractures, allergies and even asthma.
Experts say 96 percent of pets see some type of improvement.