Stem cell treatments could provide the relief your pet needs

By Jason Wheeler, Volusia County Reporter

Last Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2012 @ 04:25PM


Veterinarians are offering more than yearly vaccinations, teeth cleaning and de-clawing.

In fact, one of the faster growing treatments is now stem cell therapy.

Dr. Tom MacPhail spends much of his time at the DeLand Animal Hospital handling the normal, day-to-day cases every office like his sees.

The day we caught up with him, he was helping a pug named Maggie. The dog was going into labor and Dr. MacPhail and his staff wanted to make sure she would be able to deliver the puppies, even though they were a little early.

If not, they were ready to perform a cesarean section.

But at DeLand Animal Hospital, they try to offer the latest and best medical options for their patients.

There’s a doctor on staff specializing in reproductive services, which is something Maggie doesn’t need right now. They also offer acupuncture.

However, it’s stem cell therapy that is the latest innovation, and is something Maggie may need a little later in life.

It involves taking fat from the animal and sending it off to a lab in California. There, the stem cells are isolated, shipped back to DeLand and then injected back into the donor pet.

It’s showing promise in many arthritis cases.

But it comes at a high price.

“For the actual stem cell therapies, about $1,999,” Dr. MacPhail said. “But we do have to do some preliminary testing, X-rays and blood work, which can run $300 or $400 too.”

Even still, that’s far less than the thousands more for a hip replacement.

In the two or so years they’ve been offering the treatment, approximately 20 dogs have undergone stem cell therapy with each getting varying help.

Dr. MacPhail said the farther along the arthritis is, the less help this treatment offers or there may be a need to do it more often.

What MacPhail and veterinarians like him are finding is that, in many aspects, they’re more on the cutting edge of technology than some doctors who specialize in the pet’s owners, especially in recent years.

“I think in the past 10 to 15 years things have gone from pretty routine up until the early 90s, mid-90s and then there it really started progressing,”  MacPhail said.

It’s been up to veterinarians to keep up with the demands of owners who want their pets to stay healthy longer.

Those demands have also led Dr. MacPhail and his staff to start 24-hour service starting April 28.


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Written by Clinical Touch Massage

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