Regenerative medicine for dogs and cats makes Eagle County debut at Gypsum Animal Hospital
If you go …
What: Informational seminar about stem cell therapy for animals.
Where: Gypsum Animal Hospital.
When: Wednesday, May 2, 6 to 7 p.m.
More information: Contact the Gypsum Animal Hospital at 970-524-3647 for more information or to RSVP for the seminar.
Regenerative medicine for dogs and cats will make its debut in Eagle County on Wednesday, May 2, at Gypsum Animal Hospital.
Boo, a 2-year-old papillon, will receive stem cell therapy for her arthritic hips and Dixie, an 11-year-old Labrador, will get her arthritic elbows and shoulders treated. “We are extremely excited to bring this cutting-edge therapy to the valley,” veterinarian Steve Sheldon, DVM, said. “Research has shown this to be a very valuable tool for so many pets in pain who have few good options left.”
Sheldon feels it is important to point out that there are no moral or ethical concerns with this therapy; these are not umbilical or fetal stem cells but are stem cells derived from the patients’ own fat.
“It is an extremely safe, effective, natural, FDA-approved therapy,” Sheldon said. “Although new to our area, thousands of pets nationwide have been treated successfully,” he added.
‘Blank workers ready to be programmed’
The stem cells are harvested from a patients’ fat in a 10-minute surgical procedure. The cells are then concentrated and activated using platelet rich plasma, which is obtained from the patients’ own blood.
Stem cells are then injected into affected joints and also intravenously.
“Imagine a bunch of construction workers coming to your house but they are not wearing any uniforms. Once they enter your house, they immediately turn into whatever type of worker is needed, some turn into electricians, others into plumbers, etc,” Sheldon said. “This is what these stem cells are, blank workers ready to be programmed by the body for whatever work is needed.”
Gypsum helping lead The Way
All of this will be done on-site in a new laboratory purchased by Gypsum Animal Hospital from Medivet Biologic. Medivet, the largest supplier of stem cell and PRP therapies for pets, will also provide on-site training.
“We wanted to streamline the procedure and control all aspects,” Sheldon said, noting that other companies also offer stem cell therapies but some require cells to be sent to a lab for processing, thus requiring a second procedure to be done days later.
Gypsum Animal Hospital is the only facility within 100 miles that offers same-day stem cell therapy, Sheldon said. Colorado State University and some Front Range hospitals offer the therapy, according to Sheldon.
“CSU is doing another clinical trial and we just heard of a partial cruciate ligament tear that was successfully treated at CSU using stem cells,” Sheldon said.
‘The most exciting and promising therapy’
One therapy can last up to three years and substantially decrease the need for other costly medications or therapies, Sheldon said. Cells can also be banked at the Medivet facility and retrieved for further injections providing even more savings.
Caroline Davis will be the point person and head technician supporting stem cell and PRP therapies. Davis has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and zoology from CSU.
“Biologics and regenerative medicine is the most exciting and promising therapy I have seen for pets in decades,” she said. “It is well proven and accepted for people and now we can offer it to pets.”
Most prospective stem cell patients currently suffer from arthritis that cannot be controlled with current therapies such as pain medication, joint supplements or surgery. While not a magic bullet, regenerative medicine offers hope to many suffering patients.
“I know this may be hard to believe, but clinical studies done at major universities are reporting success in the 95 percent-plus range,” Sheldon said.
Research is currently underway and shows promise for other disease such as inflammatory bowel disease, allergic skin disease, feline stomatitis, spinal cord injuries and even diabetes.
Gypsum Animal Hospital will hold an informational seminar at the hospital on Wednesday, May 2, from 6 to 7 p.m. Medivet Biologics will also be on hand as well to answer any questions. Contact the hospital at 970-524-3647 for information or to RSVP for the seminar.
Melina Valsecia said her experience as an immigrant in Eagle County helped her understand the need for a new way of looking at how service providers engage with the growing Latino population, many of whom are first- or second-generation immigrants.