Gypsum Animal Hospital continues tech innovations with stem cell therapy | VailDaily.com

Gypsum Animal Hospital continues tech innovations with stem cell therapy

Stephen Sheldon, DVM
Gypsum Animal Hospital

every other year as I head off to get my continuing education I ask my staff, "What new stuff do you want me to get for the hospital?"

This year at Gypsum Animal Hospital, we decided to get geeky and invest in some exciting innovations. But fear not, we also got some boring but helpful new tools to take care of your pet as well.

Perhaps one of the most mundane was an IV Infusion pump. This cool device allows us to pre-set and administer both the exact amount and correct rates of intravenous and subcutaneous fluids. It is one of those things that you really don't know you need until you have one.

The next device was a must-have item for years but one that was very expensive and put on hold for so long. It is called a Tonopen and allows us to measure pressure in the eye (called intraocular pressure). This is important for treating and preventing glaucoma, inflammation and infections in the eye. Usually only ophthalmologists have these due to the cost.

Not to leave the ears and nose out, we also obtained a video oto (ear) and rhino (nose) scope and biopsy instrument. It takes live video or can capture still images, which can be shared with owners or sent to specialists. It is not only a great teaching tool that permits clients to see just what the doctors are seeing, but it also allows us to biopsy tissue anywhere the scope can be inserted. We have had to refer many frustrating nasal cases to Denver because no one up here has a scope, so we look forward to getting deep into some noses.

The next piece of equipment is for our true scientist and microbiologist, Dr. S. It is a laboratory grade microscope equipped with a digital camera. With it, we can send pictures of slides of tumors, body fluids, urine, etc. and send them directly to a pathologist. This saves both time and money and eliminates the need to send slides out to the lab.

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Regenerative Medicine

Last but certainly not least — you may have heard, we are having trouble containing ourselves — is we have invested in bringing regenerative veterinary medicine to Eagle County.

This means autologous stem cell and platelet rich plasma therapy. Autologous means the cells and PRP come from your own pet, they are not umbilical stem cells or derived from fetal tissue. PRP is obtained from your pet's blood, and stem cells are harvested from fat tissue via a short surgical procedure. They are processed in our new lab right here at Gypsum Animal Hospital and then re-administered into joints and are also given intravenously. It is the most exciting new therapy in medicine I have seen in decades.

While not a magic bullet, stem cells and PRP give us another tool to fight arthritis and other diseases that surgery and medicine are unable to help. MediVet is the world's largest provider of stem cell therapy in pets. It is FDA approved and covered by many insurance companies. MediVet will be here to assist us in our first case in May.

These are certainly exciting times to be a veterinarian. Staying current on innovations makes our jobs fun, exciting and fulfilling. Someone recently asked me what my dream job was. "I'm living it," I said.

Stephen Sheldon, DVP, practices at Gypsum Animal Hospital; he can be reached at 970-524-3647, drsteve@gypsumah.com or by visiting the clinic website http://www.gypsumah.com.