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Will stem cells bring Bentley’s legs back?

Bentley, a 2-year-old Great Pyrenees with a torn ligament and an arthritic joint in his back leg, was reinjected with his own stem cells this week — a process veterinarians hope will have him running, or at least walking comfortably again, in a matter of weeks.

The procedure – performed on the 105-pound dog at the American Animal Hospital in Randolph, New Jersey — was described as the first one-day, animal stem cell transplant procedure in New Jersey history.

Vets hope the treatment will stimulate cell regeneration in Bentley, reduce inflammation and ease his pain.

“I just want to give Bentley some relief, just so I can walk him again. I’m not expecting him to be a marathon runner,” owner Erin McGuire, who drove her dog 80 miles from Brielle for the treatment, told the Newark Star-Ledger.

The procedure was overseen by Michael Hutchinson, a veterinarian from the Pittsburgh area who has performed similar ones on about 100 dogs, cats and even horses since 2008.

Although the procedure is approved only for animal ailments such as hip dysplasia, arthritis and ligament injuries, it is being looked at — and used in some other countries — to solve human health problems as well.

“The basic procedure involves taking fat from the dog, extracting stem cells and injecting those stem cells back into the dog,” said Brian T. Voynick, owner and director of the Randolph veterinary hospital.

Voynick was the first veterinarian in New Jersey to use stem cell treatment with animals three years ago — a prolonged, multi-day procedure at the time.

After he removed 60 grams of fat from the dog, he’d have to send it to California to be processed, and wait for the stem cells to be shipped back. Bentley’s treatment, in which the stem cells were separated from the fat on site, took less than four hours at Voynick’s hospital Wednesday.

Voynick and Hutchinson removed 16 grams of fat from under the dog’s left shoulder, mixed it with platelets extracted from the dog’s blood and enzymes, incubated the serum, spun it in a centrifuge and finally exposed it to wavelengths of LED lighting under a process patented by an Australian-based company called MediVet.

Bentley was given a good prognosis Wednesday, but only time will tell if the procedure was successful, the Star-Ledger reported.

Comments

Comment from Miss Jan
Time August 13, 2010 at 11:43 am

Stem cell therapy has been in use in equine therapy for a couple of years now. It’s considered to be at the experimental stage because results can be either spectacularly successful or disappointingly non-existence. Not surprisingly it is extremely expensive, with only one lab in the US able to/licensed to process stem cells harvested from the same horse they are going back into after lab enhancement. My vet says his understanding is that these cells are harvested from fatty tissue in the horse in which they are intended to be used.

If stem cell therapy does not work for this canine patient I hope they will consider acupuncture for pain management. It is amazing how well muscles can re-develop to support a limb compromised by damaged tendons and ligaments but first the cycle of pain needs to be broken.

Good luck to these people who no doubt voted heavily with their pocketbook in an attempt to return their dog’s life to one of quality.

Comment from Miss Jan
Time August 13, 2010 at 11:44 am

OOPS that would be “non-existent.” This published writer needs to proof better!!!

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