Vet clinic offers stem cell therapy for pets

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
A representative from MediVet America demonstrates the procedure to harvest and process stem cells from animals. Vet technician Aubrey Higgins and veterinarian Dr. Roger Horst were among the staff trained in the treatment now being offered at Mercersburg Veterinary Clinic.

Mercersburg Veterinary Clinic is venturing into another treatment option for dogs, cats and horses. It conducted its first stem cell therapy procedures Sept. 17 on an Akhida with mild hip dysplasia, and a poodle mix with deformed knees.

The therapy is designed for pets with arthritis; hip dysplasia; and joint cartilage, ligament and tendon damage.

“It’s a less invasive process for arthritic and diseased joints, to help the animal get a more improved quality of life,” said Dr. Roger Horst, DVM.

He and Dr. John Ludwig IV will perform the technique, an option to hip replacement and knee surgery.

“It uses the body’s own cells to reorganize and reduce the inflammation process,” continued Horst. “There is no use of pharmaceuticals.”

Results on the first patients were expected to be seen within 10 to 30 days, he said.

A couple tablespoons of fat is withdrawn from between the shoulder blades of the anesthetized animal, and run through a machine to remove the stem cells. They are administered into the affected joints or bloodstream. The entire same day visit takes about four hours.

The pet owner can also bank some cells for future use, said Ludwig.

Stem cell therapy is growing in popularity, but not common in the immediate area yet, said the vets.