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naturalpet Therapy in Pets Stem Cell by Samantha Thompson VMD I

t’s no secret that animal companions keep us happy and healthy. It’s no wonder then that the American Pet

Products Association estimates that 70 to 80 million dogs and 74 to 96 million cats are owned in the United States. In fact, approximately 37 to 47 percent of all households in the United States have a dog, and 30 to 37 percent have a cat. Most of these owners would do just about anything to ensure their pets are happy and healthy, too. Unfortunately, disorders of the

joints, such as arthritis, are common in pets, but stem cell therapy is becoming more common in veterinary medicine in an effort to help our pets find relief. The National Stem Cell Foundation says stem cells are the body’s “master cells.” They are the building blocks of organs, tissue, blood and the immune system. Stem cells are harvested from the pet’s own body using either fat or bone

marrow as the source. The harvesting procedure usually takes less than a half- hour and is performed under general anesthesia. The stem cells are then processed, concentrated and prepared for injection into the damaged tissues or arthritic joints. According to Dr. Karen Becker, a

proactive and integrative wellness veteri- narian, stem cell therapy is considered a safe procedure (although any procedure requiring anesthesia carries some risk), and since the substance being injected is derived from the dog’s own body, im- mune reactions are rare, but can occur. Stem cells have the remarkable

potential to develop into many different cell types in the body. In many tissues, they serve as a sort of internal repair system, dividing constantly to replenish lost or damaged cells and allowing the body to truly regenerate itself. In fact, the regenerative cells “communicate” with the cells of their local environ- ment through paracrine and autocrine modalities, creating the optimal envi- ronment for natural healing, according to Stem cells are not harmful, have no known side effects and are only beneficial to the body, providing the ability to fight arthritis, heal ligaments and produce a healthy joint environment. There are many misconceptions about stem cells; here are some of the facts: • They are not harvested from fetuses. They come from the patient’s own bone marrow (under anesthesia).

• They are nothing to do with genetic modification

• The process of harvesting stem cells is quick and does not harm the donor

• Stem cells can be stored for future use or re-harvested if needed for fol- low up treatments

50 Lehigh Valley

• Stem cell therapy can be used to help recover from injury, heal after surgery or in some cases prevent the need for surgery

• Stem cell therapy can be used for all types of arthritis and can be used in multiple areas on one patient

• There are only two cases when stem cells should not be used – in the face of active infection or if any type of cancer is present

• Stem cell therapy is the medicine of the future; it is regenerative medicine at its core

• There is ongoing studies and research for this modality to be utilized to treat back and spinal cord injuries, as well as uses to treat partially torn liga- ments to heal them as good as new

The results stem cell therapy in pets has shown to be outstanding and truly gives dogs back their freedom and activity. As our pets our living longer, it is excit- ing that we have more and more ways to help them naturally keep their own bodies stronger and healthier.

Dr. Samantha Thompson is the founder of Pocono Peak Veterinary Center in East Stroudsburg and is trained in the use of stem cells offering the therapy as a new treatment option. For more information, call 570-421-0931.

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