**Disclaimer: This article contains the personal opinions and views of the author, Retha Crafford ONLY, and is in no way meant to be interpreted as veterinary advice or veterinary opinion. The opinion and relevant statements made are those of the author only. **
STEM CELL THERAPY AS A TREATMENT OPTION FOR ROTTWEILERS:
“As it stands there is much debate within veterinary circles and amongst owners/breeders about the various treatment modalities available to our beloved Rotties when something goes wrong. Yes, certain conditions such a ruptured ACL ligament in large breed dogs as a rule require surgical stabilisation of the joint – but what about dysplasia, training injuries, conditions related to aging and arthritis? (Even a surgically repaired knee will suffer serious arthritis – especially if the meniscus has been removed as well) I have been researching and reading for quite some time now, and after stumbling over ‘stem cell therapy’ for dogs, I was intrigued. I was even more intrigued when I discovered that this treatment is not only AVAILABLE in South Africa, but that there are THREE veterinarians qualified to perform and regulate this minimally invasive and surprisingly fast procedure. I would like to thank Dr Tim Krafft for compiling this article/information piece for Craffenheim Rottweilers – and I encourage all of those Rottweiler (or any breed of dog – as well as cats and horses) folk who like me were ‘rather clueless until reading more’; to keep reading. It could just change the course of your dog’s life and longevity.”
Craffenheim Rottweilers thank:
Dr Tim Krafft (Medivet) http://www.medivetsa.co.za/ or
Dr Tim Hepplestone http://www.bluehillsvet.co.za/
Stem Cell Therapy for dogs – Dr Tim Krafft
WATCH Dr Tim Hepplestone’s Labrador Grommet BEFORE and AFTER surgery videos RIGHT here.
BEFORE: Grommet before stem cell therapy AFTER: Grommet 7 days after treatment
Stem Cell therapy is at the leading edge of treatment for osteoarthritis, tendon and ligament damage. Rottweilers are large breed dogs that are unfortunately susceptible to osteoarthritis (OA) of various joints, including hips, elbows and the small joints of the feet and toes. It is a frustrating and debilitating condition that has proven difficult to treat conventionally – the current treatment triad of weight control, pain management and controlled exercise works for some pets but invariably the disease overtakes this management attempts and quality of life becomes severely impaired. This is because we are not actually improving the condition of the joint in any real way- there is an ongoing loss of chondrocytes (cartilage cells) and the structures and lubricants associated with these cells. The body’s attempt to repair the damage results in thickened joint capsules and bony changes of the joint, all restricting the normal range of motion and causing loss of function and pain.
Normal healthy cartilage is actually a dynamic spongy structure with a smooth surface: each cycle of weight bearing will expel water out of this spongy matrix which is then taken up again when the leg is lifted. This shock absorption, coupled with low friction coefficients in the joints – smooth surfaces and a fluid called hyaluronan (produced by the chondrocytes) – allow the amazing mobility of the normal joint. With loss of chondrocytes the joint degenerates. To heal joints we need to regenerate chondrocytes but these cells have a notoriously poor cellular turnover in the average animal. One obvious solution is to add regenerative capacity – but how? Many forms of Nutraceuticals, mostly containing chondroitin sulphate, glycosaminoglycan’s and other cartilage “building blocks” have shown some promise in helping to maintain joint condition, but there is unfortunately no clear evidence of efficacy.
If the problem is essentially a poor regeneration of chondrocytes then the answer should be – add cells that have regenerative capacity – stem cells. Stem cells have the ability to be the source of new chondrocytes when they are injected into or settle in a joint, and they also secrete proteins (cytokines) that are known to reduce the ongoing damage in the joint. Adult dogs have various sources of stem cells that we can harvest, the simplest, and also equal to bone marrow in quality (and far superior in quantity of stem cells per gram) is fat, Adipose tissue! When it has been enzymatically macerated and purified, it results in a cell rich fluid called Stromal Vascular Fraction – this contains fat cells (adipocytes), blood vessel associated cells (pericytes) and Mesenchymal Stem Cells . These stem cells are relatively quiescent, having being sourced from an adult donor, so various methods have been developed to activate them. Two well described methods include the addition of Platelet Rich Plasma derived from the same donor dog as the fat and photobiomodulation. These two methods together result in a vastly increased metabolic rate and cellular turnover of the mesenchymal stem cells. The combination of active stem cells in large amounts – 20 grams of canine fat can yield up to fifty million stem cells – provides a powerful regenerative tool when injected into a damaged joint. Is this just science? Not at all – there are currently three veterinary hospitals in South Africa who have the facilities and vets trained to do just this: Valley Farm Animal Hospital in Pretoria (Dr Tim Krafft), Blue Hills Veterinary Hospital in Johannesburg (Dr Tim Hepplestone) and Westville Veterinary Hospital in Durban (Dr Richard Smith).
The process usually takes a day. The fat is harvested in the morning in a procedure much like a spay operation, the fat is then processed in the hospital’s on site laboratory, and the activated stromal vascular fraction is injected into the dog’s joints that afternoon. International results have been very rewarding, with eighty five percent of patients treated showing improvement of joint function. Locally the three vets have treated over fifty patients using the patented Medivet SA Adipose derived Stem Cell Therapy and have seen similar results, with most pets improving within fourteen days of treatment. The effect has been shown to last in the region of two years, and because the patient is the source of its own treatment there is no chance of cross reaction. For more information and the contact details of the stem cell vets go to: