Anaheim Hills pet clinic uses stem cells to help heal dog with arthritis

ANAHEIM HILLS, Calif. (KABC) -- Ben is back to his daily walks, but the 6-year-old Shetland Sheepdog wasn't always so active and happy.

His owner Elizabeth Kelly says at age 2, the once sheep herding competitor developed arthritis in his right knee.

"He stopped coming up the stairs and stopped wanting to go for walks and playing," Kelly said.

Two years ago, Ben's veterinarian at Anaheim Hills Pet Clinic told her about a stem cell study.

"We were trying to find ways of alternative methods to control the pain and the arthritis," said Dr. Kathleen Johnson of the Anaheim Hills Pet Clinic.

The stem cells taken from canine umbilical cords that veterinarians say would otherwise be thrown away.

"We inject it directly into the joint," Johnson said.

"It was week three that we noticed changes on him. He started putting weight on his leg again," Kelly said. "He was running the stairs."

Animal Cell Therapies, the company behind previous studies, says about 70% of dogs under 70 pounds that were injected with stem cells showed improvement.
The results were not as good for larger dogs.

"We had mixed results in dogs over 70, so that's why we're looking at a new dose," said Dr. Kathy Petrucci, CEO of Animal Cell Therapies.

A new clinical research study is underway to test out the new dosage.

To qualify for the study your dog must weigh 70 or more pound and show signs of arthritis in one or two joints.

Researchers hope to find up to 80 dogs to undergo one stem cell injection for the month-long study. So far, they're halfway there.

"We're hopeful that we can get this through the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and we can prove it and have an alternative to drugs," Petrucci said.

For more information on the study, click here.
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