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Stem cell therapy is promising

Dr. Jeff NicholALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Q: I have a 3-year-old cockapoo and she was trying to jump and did something to her leg. She cried for about 30 seconds, it was horrifying. She was born with loose kneecaps. My veterinarian told me about stem cells. I’m skeptical with any new procedures. Are there side effects or future problems? She loves to play and I’m afraid it might happen again.

Dr. Nichol: That missed jump may have strained the tendons that support and guide your girl’s knee caps (patellas). Rest and anti-inflammatory medication can help in the short-term but your special cockapoo’s knees will remain structurally unsound until they are surgically corrected. The tibial crest rotation procedure is the standard of care. It’s well-established and reliable.

Luxating (dislocating) patellas are common in small dogs. When this oval-shaped little bone occasionally slips out of its groove your dog may skip for a few steps and then use her leg normally. Without clear indicators of pain you may be tempted to postpone surgery. But this is a serious problem; luxating patellas can lead to degenerative joint disease. A dog who skips a step is not cuttin’ the rug for tips.

My practice experience bears out the value of surgical repair but even with correction of the geometric forces in your dog’s knee some chronic damage to her tendons and cartilage will remain. That’s what makes stem cell therapy valuable.

While your cockapoo is under anesthesia for knee surgery her doctor can make a short abdominal incision and remove a bit of fat for submission to the Vet-Stem lab. Your dog’s very own stem cells will be extracted and shipped back overnight for injection into her knee with zero risk of rejection. Over the following several weeks the stem cells will stimulate regeneration of chronically inflamed structures, resulting in a stronger and more comfortable joint. Don’t wait any longer. The sooner this active girl gets the right treatment, the faster she’ll feel better.

DOG BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS: Bring me your challenges during a virtual small group consultation on Monday, May 4, at 1 p.m. Call 505-792-5131 to register. I’ll give individual help. Fee: $50/family.

During the COVID-19 crisis Dr. Jeff Nichol is conducting behavior consultations by telephone (505-792-5131) and video rather than in-person. Each week Dr. Nichol shares a blog and a Facebook Live to help bring out the best in pets and their people. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Post questions on facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by mail to 4000 Montgomery NE, Albuquerque, N.M., 87109.

 

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