Area animal hospital offers cutting-edge stem cell therapy
BY: Tana Christian Suggs
Photography: Katrina Krom
We all love our four-legged friends, and for many of us, our families include at least one. They are part of the family and a best friend all rolled into one.
And just like any other family member, we don’t want them to experience any type of pain. So when one of our furry family members is in physical pain, we just want them to feel better.
Like their human counterparts, animals can suffer from a number of diseases, such as degenerative joint disease, that can cause them to suffer from chronic pain. Up until recently, medication has been the primary treatment used to address the symptoms and reduce the pain. But now, the Heart of Suwanee Animal Hospital is certified and offers a stem cell therapy to treat animals for chronic joint pain to alleviate the pain and the need for ongoing medication.
Dr. Tim Jackson, one of the veterinarians at Heart of Suwanee Animal Hospital who performs the cutting-edge procedure, explained that the procedure involves extracting cells from fat of the animal’s own body, and then those cells are cultured and implanted back into the pet at the site of the affected area they are looking to treat. He said the procedure is all-natural and minimally invasive. It is done all in the same day and usually takes about two hours.
“It decreases pain and inflammation and there’s a rapid recovery time,” he said. “It doesn’t just reduce inflammation and pain, it actually regenerates damaged tissue.”
Good candidates that may benefit from the procedure include pets with arthritis, joint pain, cartilage damage, any type of ligament or tendon injury and dysplasia; and many patients are senior, 7 years and older. “This procedure is also used in conjunction with some surgeries to help the healing process.” Jackson said. “It’s a straight forward procedure, such as a spay procedure, but it’s less invasive.”
“Even though it’s a minimally invasive procedure, it’s very scrutinized with the actual process for the actual harvesting,” he said. “We do it on a step by step approach, very thorough, and aseptic to avoid any contamination to the cells. That process is done textbook.”
The practice had to be certified in order to perform this procedure by going through a continuing education program, and has been certified for over 10 months now.
Jackson said that they are seeing good results so far. He said recovery time is relatively short and they are seeing significant improvements for pets.
“Usually after 30 to 60 days owners are starting to report that pets have improved range of motion in their joints and they are definitely more comfortable and more active,” he said.
The cost for the therapy is about $1,900 and includes the anesthesia for the harvesting and implantation, the plasma-rich protein, the culturing and the implantation. But, cost can vary on a case-by-case basis when multiple procedures are involved.
For more information about Heart of Suwanee Animal Hospital and the stem cell therapy, visit the website at www.heartofsuwaneeanimalhosp.com. ■