1. Examination of your Pet
Before proceeding with the therapy, your pet will undergo a thorough examination. While, Medivet Adipose Stem Cell therapy is highly effective for joint pain associated with all forms of arthritis, it is not a cure-all and may not be the best treatment for your pet’s ailment. You will be given unbiased advice on the best treatment for your pet’s problems – be it surgery, medicine or Stem Cell Therapy.
A detailed medical history of your pet will be compiled regarding conditions, current medication, medication effectiveness and the presence of negative side effects. In order to make an objective pre and post therapy comparison, your pet will be videoed walking, turning and climbing stairs, both before and after the treatment. In addition to the above, a physical examination (which may include blood tests and X-rays) of your pet is essential to exclude any uncontrolled infection and signs of cancer.
Once we can conclude that there are no diagnosable conditions of this sort present, we will focus on and customise the general anaesthetic protocol to minimize risk. The majority of patients undergoing this therapy are in their senior years, and our vets therefore have vast experience in dealing with anesthetics in aged animals.
2. Harvesting Operation: A Minor Surgery
The amount of fat required for treatment (20 grams) requires surgical removal under general anesthetic in sterile operating conditions. This fat is obtained during a small, fifteen minute procedure similar in intensity to a spay operation. Your pet is sedated prior to the anesthetic being given, reducing the amount of general anaesthetic needed, and making the process safer.
The operation is relatively simple and involves a 3 to 7 cm cut on the middle line of the belly, after which 20 to 30 grams of fat is removed. The sample is immediately taken to the laboratory for processing and the operation is then finished by routine closure of the surgical wound.
3. Re-Administration – Getting the Stem Cells back in the body
After approximately three hours, once the activated 2ml of Stem Cells, called the Medivet Stromal Vascular Fraction (MSVF) is ready, it can be re-administered to your pet. Each 2ml of MSVF equates to approximately 200 MILLION cells. Up to 50 million cells can be injected into in each joint in big dogs and 30 million per joint in small dogs and cats. It therefore has to be decided which joints are most in need, but the MSVF can also inject intravenously to cover a larger spread if needed. The cells injected intravenously will be attracted to inflamed areas; however, we prefer to focus them at the points of interest by injecting directly into the affected joints.
The pre-procedural examination will have clarified the areas of pain in which your pet is suffering – be they multiple joints or only the knee or hip joints. To minimise any possibility of infection, these areas of interest are shaved and the skin is cleaned as for a surgical procedure. The joint injections are generally given under the same sedation but a short acting anesthetic may be needed in some pets, as these joints are already sore.
As soon as your pet is awake and ambulatory they can go home. In our experience, most of the pets that have undergone treatment are quite comfortable and leave the hospital as happy as they were on arrival. As a precaution, we prescribe painkillers for 3 – 5 days as well as a covering antibiotic.
4. What to Expect
Although your pet has undergone an amazing revolutionary procedure to re-awaken the body’s regenerative capacity, it is still important to have realistic expectations. Your pet will feel better, have markedly less pain and seem more energetic, but bear in mind that his or her body will remain the same age and will continue to age at a natural rate. We have not rebuilt problematic joints; we have however facilitated the repair of injuries without excess scar tissue. Existing pre-operative scar tissue will not disappear, but will now exist in a decreased inflammatory environment facilitated by the Stem Cells. What this means is noticeably less pain and ongoing damage for up to two and a half years!
Initially you will focus on the post operative issues including pain from the surgery and possible tiredness and nausea from the anaesthetic. Most issues will be minor, as modern anesthetic systems and drugs are very advanced and have few side-effects. Your pet is expected to be up and about by the next day and be at a similar level of comfort as before the procedure. Should this not be the case, please do not hesitate to ask our advice. The prescribed painkillers and antibiotics will help minimize any discomfort in the first few days, but the sites of joint injection may swell slightly and appear reddened. The swelling and redness should subside after 36 hours and the stitches will be removed after 14 days.
Previous experience has shown that the positive effects of the Stem Cells will be evident very quickly, with some owners noting improvements within three days. Although a positive attitude towards the treatment is welcomed, you are cautioned to be objective and realistic. Visible improvement is expected by fourteen days, with the zenith at about five weeks. This improvement level should then remain effective for up to thirty months.
Studies here and abroad have shown that 95% of pets will improve significantly, with about 50% becoming painkiller free after the Medivet Stem Cell Therapy. We are very excited to be part of this revolutionary treatment for your pet and would like to be able to use your experience of it to maintain this momentum. We will be contacting you at regular intervals to hear how your pet is doing so as to document the success level of the treatment.