Georgia dog receives stem cell therapy - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Georgia dog receives stem cell therapy

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Stem cell research has shown promising results in human patients, now that same technology is showing hope for pets.  An Golden Retriever, plagued with arthritis, recently underwent a stem cell extraction and implant to help with mobility.

His owner did extensive research on the subject after hearing about it while watching the Nightly News on WALB.  She quickly realized it was the dog's only chance for any quality of life.

From the sounds of things, you would never suspect McIntyre was a frail and feeble dog.  And these days, he's moving around pretty well, thanks to anti-inflammatory medicines, physical therapy and a new experimental surgery involving stem cells.

Owner Carolyn Cook said, "I knew that this was his only option."

McIntyre already had partial hip replacements in both hips, but still has arthritis.  He also has a severely arthritic elbow.  After watching a story on NBC Nightly News about stem cell transplants in dogs, owner Carolyn Cook decided she would give it a shot.

"Dogs are very much like family members," she said.  And like family, she wanted McIntrye to feel better and have a better quality of life.  Cells were taken from his belly fat and shipped to California.  Stem cells were extracted and then implanted back into his joints by a vet in Alpharetta.

Veterinarian Steve Whatley is doing follow-up care with McIntyre in Albany.  He said, "He's a pretty good patient.  He's always done well."

Dr. Whatley says in just three weeks, he can already see a difference."So far, so good.  We'll let you know in a couple of months."

Dr. Whatley has gone through the credentialing process for performing stem cell therapy himself, but before he does, he'll be doing more research.  He said, "We're trying to determine, is this snake oil or is this proven medicine?"

A medicine that may have the ability to make McIntyre whole again, or at least close to it.

Cook said, "He'll never be like a puppy as far as agility but it will just give him a quality of life where he doesn't hurt and suffer."

Rather, live out the rest of his days with a little more spring in his step.

Stem cell therapy is not cheap.  For McIntyre, the total cost of treatment has reached about $3,500.  It will take about four months to see the full benefits of the therapy.

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