Jul 12, 2010

Lifetime of Drugs or Stem Cell Therapy for Dog Arthritis?

Posted by Bob under Dog Arthritis, Stem Cell Therapy

Chronic arthritis can be very debilitating and painful.  The story of Ruggles, a Deutsch Drahthaar (a rough-haired pointer dog) illustrates the common dilemma for an owner in deciding whether to subject their buddy to a lifetime of pain drugs or a new procedure.  I present here the complete story of Ruggles as told by her owner, Byron Dashnaw, so you can get the complete picture.

“Ruggles (AKA Jette vom Seilerhaus) is a four year old Deutsch Drahthaar who has been born and bred to hunt. She is very passionate about hunting and expends large amounts of energy in the field. She is very loyal and loves to play with her other family members and chase fish in our pond. When she is tired from a long day in the field or yard, she loves to sleep on the couch.

Over the past two years I have noticed Ruggles slowing down in the field and after long walks. Two hunting seasons ago she would limp a little after a day of hunting, but would be able to hunt the following day. Long walks or training sessions did not seem to bother her. By the end of last hunting season she could only run for about an hour. She would have to be kenneled for the remainder of the day, which was very stressful for her. For the following three days or so she could not put any weight on her injured back leg and would cry when she climbed stairs and she could not climb up on the couch, her favorite place to sleep. I began leaving her at home when I went hunting and taking only Smokey, my other Deutsch Drahthaar and her buddy, because it was too painful for her to be in the field. My wife told me Ruggles would sit in the window and cry because she could not be with us.

Fortunately, my wife’s cousin Dr. Jim Mathias, owner of Tipp City Veterinary Hospital and Wellness Center spent some time at Christmas with us and after examining Ruggles at our house told us that there was no reason that Ruggles can’t have a normal active life. We set up an appointment and took her to be examined by Dr. Jim. After X-rays and an examination he told me her ligaments were fine and that she had some cartilage issues in her joints caused by her injury when she was a puppy. He discussed two treatment options with us. The first was an injection regimen that would have to continue the rest of her life. The second was stem cell therapy. His recommendation was stem cell therapy because it would help repair the joint damage and not just treat the symptoms. At first we were taken back by the price but after crunching the numbers we found that we would spend about the same amount of money for both treatments. The advantage of the stem cell therapy was that it helped repair the damage and the costs were up front. We did not have to make multiple purchases with the possibility of price increases over the next eight to ten years or have to remember to give an injection every month.

Sixty days after stem cell therapy Ruggles is doing great. She is able to run through corn stubble fields and climb stairs without pain. She can jump in the truck without falling out and she can play again. She shows no signs of the symptoms that led us to stem cell therapy. I look forward to a very productive hunting season, maybe even a trip to South Dakota for pheasants.

I want to thank Dr. Jim Mathias for his expertise and Vet-Stem for a great therapy product that has put my friend on the road to recovery and a better quality of life that allows her to do the things and spend time with the people she loves.”  Byron Dashnaw

As an owner, it is important to be proactive and educate yourself about the options, risks, and benefits of all the possible treatments for your pet.  If you believe that stem cells might be a solution for your pet’s arthritis, here is for information you can deliver to your veterinarian or fill out this form for the name of  stem cell credentialed veterinarians in your area.

In a future blog, read Dr. Mathias’ comments about Ruggles and stem cell therapy.


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