Jul 16, 2010

Don’t Treat the X-Rays of Arthritic Dogs

Posted by Bob under Dog Arthritis

It is easy to rely on diagnostic tools like the x-ray as the whole story when evaluating a dog with arthritis.  But x-rays are only part of a complete examination and often the x-rays do not really tell the whole story.  Arthritis in dogs is a serious and complicated disease that can be caused by many factors.  Hip dysplasia is a conformational problem with the shape of the hip bones and a shallow “socket” for the ball and socket joint.  This can be seen on x-rays and helps a veterinarian determine if the hip shape is causing abnormal wear and tear on the joint surfaces. But the x-ray does not predict very well the time course of the disease or how a dog will respond to various treatments.  Maggie (the cute lab above) is a great example.  Maggie’s veterinarian had taken x-rays and commented that she couldn’t believe she could even walk with x-rays that bad.  But Maggie had a big heart and her owners really wanted to try to improve her quality of life.  The arthritis had caused a lot of degenerative changes in the hips and elbows.  Maggie’s veterinarian and her owners decided that stem cell therapy was worth a try even with the degree of severity seen on the x-rays. 

“The improvement in Maggie’s physical condition was dramatic.  She is no longer stiff and sore after swimming or play time.  And, with less pain, she is obviously a happier dog.”  Kevin and Lisa.

Important lesson is that you treat the dog and not the x-ray and that age and severity are not predictors of how a dog may respond to stem cells.


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