Vet offers stem cell therapy for dogs

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Cutting-edge arthritis treatment for our four-legged family members is now available in Columbia.

Banks Animal Hospital is the first in the area to offer in-house Stem Cell therapy. It uses your pets own body to heal itself.

Take 13-year-old Maggie, for example. The energetic pup has a limp that usually keeps her from jumping or going up stairs.

"Today when everybody's out there filming her little limp it's not as pronounced because she wants to please," said Maggie's owner, Beth Phibbs. "She's just a great dog."

But a great attitude wasn't enough to repair a bad case of cervical spine arthritis.

So Monday, Beth brought Maggie to Banks Animal Hospital for the Stem Cell therapy. Like many, Beth had never heard of Stem Cell work in animals. "Until Dr. Banks mentioned it to me I was like, beg your pardon?"

"There's no down side, no side effects because you're using your own cells," said Dr Ken Banks.

Banks and his staff first gather some of Maggie's blood and fat. Both are good places to find the repair cells they're after. Adult stem cells, not the controversial embryonic kind, are then separated and spun down.

"The repair system in Maggie's body has failed," said Jason Richardson of MediVet-America. "It's fallen asleep at the wheel, we're taking these repair cells, activating them so a chronic condition like osteo arthritis to Maggie will now be an acute illness."

This kind of treatment used to take days with material being shipped across the country, but now it can be done in hours.

"The ability to do it same day, convenience, the ability to do it in clinic saves a lot of money to the doctor which he can then pass on to the patient," said Richardson.

The treatment will still run you around $2,000, but Richardson says that's half of what the similar treatment use to cost.

When it's over, Maggie should be able to live out her life pain and drug free -- something Phibbs is looking forward to.

"I'm hoping in a couple of weeks she's gonna have a new lease on life," said Phibbs.

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