Exciting news! We now offer a variety of regenerative medicine options for your dogs experiencing painful or restricted movement throughout their day-to-day lives. These procedures are still quite new, but have already been showing positive changes and results with our patients who have undergone treatment. Platelet rich plasma and stem cell therapy can be used to reduce pain and inflammation in arthritic or otherwise injured joints or to help heal damaged muscle, ligaments, and tendons. It is amazing to see how far veterinary medicine has come.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP): A sufficient volume of blood is collected from the patient and the platelet fraction (high in growth factors and molecules to help facilitate reduction of inflammation) is harvested and injected into the affected joint(s). PRP provides pain relief for arthritic joints for as long as 9 months. It is a mildly invasive procedure.
Stem Cell Therapy: Stem cells are harvested from bone marrow or fat tissue of the patient. Stem cells have the ability to repair any type of tissue they introduced into. Stem cells work more efficiently when combined with PRP. Stem cells have the ability to regenerate damaged tendons and ligaments. This therapy can provide pain relief for as long as 11 months. It is a moderately invasive procedure.
One of our staff pets, a 7-year-old spayed female Siberian Husky, underwent PRP injections into her hips today. Her name is Maquita. She has had a history of hind end lameness after exercise. Radiographs revealed she does have arthritis developing in her left and right hip joints. She has had multiple chiropractic and acupuncture treatments in the past, which did help alleviate the pain and inflammation but did not help to facilitate long-term arthritis relief. She also needed to be given an oral anti-inflammatory medication as needed to help control the pain. We are excited to watch the progress of her recovery after her PRP therapy.
Click here for more information about veterinary regenerative medicine.
What can you look for as some signs of aging in your pets?
While some signs of aging in your pets are obvious (such as graying of hair or decreasing energy levels), there are other changes that may go unnoticed. Senior pets may look and act normally while coping with the following:
- Aching joints
- Tooth pain
- Loss of awareness for surrounding hazards
- Cloudy vision
These are common conditions that are associated with osteoarthritis, dental disease, cognitive dysfunction and the loss of hearing or vision.
What can you do for your senior pets?
Watch for subtle changes in your pet’s behavior or less interaction with your family, as this may signal an underlying discomfort in your pet.
It is a good idea to schedule annual physical exams that include complete geriatric bloodwork and a urinalysis. Early detection and prompt treatment of disease can significantly prolong and impact the quality of life for your senior pet.
What is the importance of a full geriatric blood panel?
Dogs and cats can often “hide” clinical signs of underlying disease and may not show signs of illness until the disease or disorder is well advanced. Testing blood and urine allows us to:
- Detect disease early
- Adjust treatment where there is underlying organ dysfunction
- Obtain baseline data
Do you have a painful pet? Although they can’t talk to us, our pets have other ways of letting us know that something is bothering them. Below are some things you can look at to help recognize sigs of pain in your pets:
Look at your pet’s posture. Do they prefer to lying to sitting or standing? Are they sitting or resting in an abnormal position? Are they shifting frequently while resting?
Check in with your pet’s “talking” habits. Are they crying and whining? Are they quiet when they would normally be happy and barking?
Watch your pet walk. Are they limping? Are they stiff or slow to get going (especially after resting)? Do they have trouble getting up after laying or sitting down? Are they lagging behind on walks? Do they tire a lot faster than usual on walks?
Watch your pet’s breathing. Are they panting excessively? Does each breath come mostly from the pet’s chest or abdomen?
Analyze your pet’s activity level. Are they no longer able to do the things they used to do? Are they reluctant to go for walks or climb stairs? Are they restless? Do they shiver or shake out of nowhere?
Monitor your pet’s responsiveness. Do they cry or bite when you try and handle them? Do they keep themselves withdrawn from situations?
Watch your pet’s eating habits. Has their appetite decreased? Do they not want to eat at all? Do they eat their meal slower than they used to?
Keep an eye on your pet’s grooming habits. Do they look unkempt? Are they licking or chewing excessively in one area?
There are many things we can do to help control or eliminate pain in your pet. After consulting with your veterinarian, they may recommend some anti-inflammatory medication and rest for your pet or they may even request x-rays to further see what is going on inside your pet. Chiropractic medicine and acupuncture are also very common (and extremely helpful!) to have done for your pets.