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Media release: Waikato dogs experience “miracle” arthritic recoveries

21 August 2014

Three yearsago, local Australian Shepherd dog Shiloh, was diagnosed with a severe case of degenerativearthritis that left the then seven-year-old limping slowly towards herdeathbed.

As time wenton she became increasingly stiff, was soon no longer able to jump, could barelywalk without pain, and eventually had to be carried outside to the toilet.

Remarkablythe courageous canine is not only still alive today, she is walking and jumpingwithout a trace of pain.Her physicalimprovement has been so outstanding that owner, Adele Holland, describes it as “nothingshort of a miracle.”

In fact, this“miracle” recovery is something that dozens of arthritic Waikato dogs haveexperienced since the latest treatment for animal arthritic care was introducedto the region.

Localveterinarian, Dr Ivan Aleksic from CareVets in Hamilton, says Shiloh was thefirst dog to receive stem cell treatment when the practice introduced the therapyin March 2011.

And since Shiloh’streatment, the practice has successfully administered stem cell treatment tomore than 40 Waikato-based dogs with arthritis.

“From thetime CareVets began administering the treatment, we have taken a keen interestin the dogs’ journey of improvement,” he said.

“Every singledog has experienced improvement, to some degree, from this purportedlydegenerative joint disease. Thus, while I cannot guarantee a 100 per cent ‘miracle-success’rate, I can confidently say three years later that stem cell treatment worksextremely well,” he said.

Dr Aleksic describesstem cells as “the body’s own repair cells.” 

“They havethe ability to divide and differentiate into many different types of cellsbased on where they are needed throughout the body. 

They can divide and turn into tissues such asskin, fat, muscle, bone, cartilage, and nerve to name a few,” Dr Aleksic said.“So, essentially,with stem cell treatment, we take a dog’s stem cells from its own fat andprocess the fat through special technology.

“The finaloutcome is one tube of purified stem cells, which we activate by treatment withspecial light, and inject into the joint that needs treatment.

“Followingtreatment, the dogs’ duration of action is vastly extended. It typically lendsimprovement for about three years, saving owners thousands of dollars onpainkillers,” Dr Aleksic said.

Havingwitnessed Shiloh’s “miraculous” improvement, Mrs Holland is keen to spread theword about this new technology with regional pet owners.

“When you witnessyour pet, that you love so much, going through so much pain, you’ll do almostanything to improve his or her quality of life.

“Without stemcell treatment, Shiloh’s arthritis would have got progressively worse. Instead,she has a new lease on life. She jumps up on furniture, she enjoys going forwalks, and she’s not crippled afterward.

“Many peopledon’t know about stem cell treatment and are surprised when we explain it. Wehave never regretted the decision. Technology saved the day,” Mrs Holland said.

Mrs Hart,whose Dalmatian Flick also had stem cell treatment in 2011, speaks similarly ofthe experience.

“Three years afterFlick’s stem cell treatment he still needs no pain relief and is highly mobile.Flick used to collapse and cry from just the slightest movement, but now we areout walking two times a day for 20 minutes,” she said.

Althoughhuman embryonic stem cell extractions have been controversial with the generalpublic, pet therapies are less controversial as they rely solely on theanimals’ own cells.

“With fullstem cell treatment, the stem cells come from your pet and are re-administeredback into your pet,” Dr Aleksic said.

CareVets also administers another type of stem celltreatment consisting of a monthly stem-cell activator injection. If dogsrespond well to this system the best value is to do the full stem cell harvesttreatment.

Upon reviewof the consistent positive results following treatment, Dr Aleksic’s message topet owners is clear.  

“There is avast number of dogs out there in our region suffering through arthritis. Thegood news is that we have seen stem cell treatment work to prevent this.

“All 40-pluslocal dogs that received treatment have experienced remarkable improvement intheir physical condition.

“Stem celltreatment is by far the best preventative medication I have seen in my historyas a veterinarian. Pet owners should not consider this technology as a lastresort,” he said.

Stem celltreatment for dogs costs approximately $2600.