Stem cell treatment can help

Q: I have a 3-year-old cockapoo, and she was trying to jump and did something to her leg. She cried for about 30 seconds, it was horrifying. She was born with loose kneecaps. My vet was telling me about stem cells. Im skeptical with any new procedures. Are there side effects or possibly future problems? She loves to play, and Im afraid it might happen again.

Dr. Nichol: Knee pain is common in small dogs. If your cockapoo has somewhat bowed rear legs, one or both of her knee caps (patellas) may slip out of its groove at the lower end of her thigh bone. Some patellas dislocate (luxate) just occasionally. A dog may skip for a few steps and then use the leg normally again after the patella slips back into the groove.

If she has luxating patellas, your girls knees are vulnerable to injury. Her missed jump may have strained the supportive tendons that guide her patella. Rest and anti-inflammatory medication can help in the short term, but her anatomy will still be structurally unsound. The only permanent solution will be surgical remodeling of the attachment of her patella and the groove in her lower femur.

This tibial crest rotation surgery is a long-established procedure that many general practitioners are skilled at performing. But even with the geometric forces corrected, some chronic damage to your dogs tendons and cartilage will remain. Thats what makes stem cell therapy so valuable.

While your girl is under anesthesia for knee surgery, her doctor can make a short abdominal incision and remove a bit of fat for submission to the Vet-Stem lab. Your dogs very own stem cells (no risk of rejection) will be extracted and shipped back overnight for injection into her knee. Over the following several weeks theyll stimulate regeneration of chronically inflamed structures, resulting in a stronger and more comfortable joint. The sooner your cockapoo gets the right treatment, the faster shell feel better.

Stem cells and joint disease

The English Setter club will host my presentation on stem cells at the Marriott Pyramid on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. All pet lovers are invited to attend. Admission is free. Contact Jill Warren at 505-667-5590 or email

Dr. Jeff Nichol provides medical care for pets at the Petroglyph Animal Hospital in Albuquerque (898-8874). He treats behavior disorders at the Veterinary Specialty Centers in Albuquerque and in Santa Fe (505-792-5131). Questions? For answers, Like my Facebook page at or by U.S. post to 6633 Caminito Coors NW, Albuquerque, NM 87120.

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Stem cell treatment can help

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