Stem cell treatment for dogs

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REHBOTH, Mass. - Bubba, a 2½-year-old English bulldog, was born with severe hip dysplasia that made it difficult and painful for him to walk.

"He's had to be injected once a month the last two years to ease the pain in his joints and the hip bone,"said Bob Cook, Bubba's owner.

When Cook heard about a new stem cell procedure that could relieve Bubba's pain, he jumped at the chance.

Veterinarian, Dr. Ashraf Gomaa, extracted fat from Bubba's shoulder. Enzymes were added to the fat. Then, a machine separated the stem cells. Finally, the stem cells were injected back into Bubba to help decrease his painful inflammation.

"You want to inject it as close as possible to the joint that is affected. Those stem cells react to inflammation and they have an affinity to inflammation so they go to any area of the body that has any type of trauma," said Gomaa.

The doctor says on average the treatment lasts one to two years and can be repeated as needed. Bob says it has put the bounce back in Bubba's step and probably saved the dog's life.

"If it wasn't for this he would probably have been on some serious pain meds and probably wouldn't have lived much longer," Cook said.

The stem cell procedure is approved for dogs and cats. The doctor says dogs or cats with joint, cartilage, tendon, or ligament pain are good candidates for the procedure.

Additional Information:

The use of stem cells to treat various health problems in pets first came about in 2003 for the treatment of horses. A few years later, stem cell treatments for household pets, such as dogs and cats, started to become available as an alternative to surgery or more serious procedures. While veterinarians continue to research different applications, so far stem cells are often used in regenerative therapy for dogs in order to help with arthritis and other joint issues. For this purpose, stem cells are taken from the dog's own fat tissue and injected directly into the diseased joints. (Source:   


TREATMENT: Stem cell therapy is just one of several alternative treatment options now available for pets. Other alternative veterinary medicine includes acupuncture, traditional Chinese herbal medicine, and chiropractic and aquatic therapies. Acupuncture is the application of small-gauge needles to various points on the body for the purpose of eliciting physiological responses in the treatment of almost any disease or condition.  Chinese herbal medicine is mainly used with dogs because it is difficult to administer to cats.  The herbs come in powder, capsule, and biscuit form.  Powder is the least expensive, but most difficult to give.  They are used to treat the same conditions as Western Medicine except for surgical conditions.  (Source: These treatments have gained popularity as pet owners have become more and more willing to do whatever it takes to keep their animals healthy. In fact, in 2008 the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society reported that the number of veterinarians who have completed their 156 hour long training course in animal acupuncture has quadrupled over the past decade. (Source:  


NEW TECHNOLOGY:  Veterinarian Ashraf Gomaa from Abbott Animal Hospital in Rehoboth, MA used stem cell therapy to help improve Bubba the bulldog's hip dysplasia. The adipose-derived stem cell procedure performed on Bubba is the first one to be done in the state Massachusetts. Dr. Gomaa extracted fat cells from Bubba and then put them through a machine which breaks the cells down to the healthy stem cells. The stem cells were then injected directly into Bubba's hip. An added benefit to the procedure is that since the animal's own fat cells are used, there are no serious side effects associated with the injections. Although stem cell regenerative therapy does not cure hip dysplasia, it can greatly reduce symptoms and improve the animal's ability to function. Currently, Dr. Gomaa is the only veterinarian in the area certified to perform this particular procedure. (Source:

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