What to Expect

What to Expect During Stem Cell Therapy
Step 1 – Physical exam
Please call to schedule a comprehensive physical exam and consultation to determine if your pet qualifies as a candidate for Adult Stem Cell Therapy. During this appointment we will conduct a thorough lameness evaluation and the doctor will also review your pet’s medical history, and examine any previous x-rays and lab work.

Step 2 – Pre-stem Cell Work-up
To ensure that your pet is otherwise healthy and safe for anesthesia, we require a minimum work-up. These tests allow us to screen for cancer, system infection (especially tick-borne disease), and other organ dysfunction which may be present. This work-up may be scheduled for the same day as the initial physical exam and evaluation or may be scheduled for a later date. This work-up includes but is not limited to:
1. Age and health appropriate blood work including a chemistry panel, CBC, urinalysis, +/- thyroid hormone level. 
2. Heartworm test and tick-borne disease screen including at least Lyme, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasmosis. 
3. Chest and abdominal x-rays – this is a limited cancer screen, if any suspicious findings are identified, ultrasound or other diagnostics may be recommended. 
4. X-rays of affected joints 

Step 3 – Adult Stem Cell Treatment
If everything else has checked out normally and you have decided that this is the right therapy for your pet, Adult Stem Cell treatment can be scheduled. Your pet will need to come off all steroids and immunomodulatory drugs (including cyclosporine and ketoconazole) two weeks before treatment and all NSAIDS three days prior to treatment. Your pet can have dinner the night before the procedure but cannot have food after 10pm the night before. It is ok for your pet to have water overnight but you should pick up all water bowls when you wake up the morning of the procedure.   Your pet needs to be at the clinic by 8 am the day of treatment and we open at 7:30am. Your pet will stay with us in hospital for the day and may need hospital supervision overnight. First, your pet will be under anesthesia briefly for our veterinarian to harvest fat (either from behind the shoulder or from the abdomen near the belly button). A blood sample will be drawn for PRP (platelet rich plasma), an important step in the stem cell therapy. Normal anesthesia monitoring, IV fluid therapy, and preparation for stem cell injection will be performed. Your pet will then go to recovery and be closely observed while the fat is processed.The dormant stem cells will be extracted from the fat, processed so that they become active once again, and prepared for injection. Once the sample is ready, your pet will be briefly anesthetized or sedated for IV and/or joint injection(s) as predetermined by our veterinarians, then receive continued hospital monitoring throughout the day. 

Step 4 – Post-stem Cell Therapy
Your pet will go home on 10-14 days of cage rest (leash walks only), antibiotics, and pain medication. After 10-14 days, sutures or staples from the surgery site will be removed and we will help you begin to taper pain medications. You should expect to see mild to moderate joint pain and swelling for 24-36 hours after the procedure due to the PRP injection – this should not be severe and should not last for more than 2 days. You should expect to begin to see improvement in your pet’s condition within 2-4 weeks! We will recheck your pet at 2 weeks, 30 days, and 60 days after treatment to monitor his or her progress.   

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