Archive for the ‘Muscle Injuries’ Category

Mar 12, 2021

VetStem Cell Therapy for Canine Muscle Injuries

March 13th is National K9 Veterans Day. This unofficial holiday was created to commemorate the service and sacrifices of all United States military and working dogs. Last year we shared the story of stem cell recipient Lex, the bomb-sniffing German Shepherd who was injured while on tour in Iraq. You can read Lex’s story here.

Honoring Police Dogs for K9 Veterans Day

For this year’s blog, we decided to focus on working dogs, or, more specifically, police dogs. These hard-working dogs must undergo intense training to become specialized in things such as explosive and drug detection as well as search and rescue. Two of the most utilized breeds are German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois.

Police officer in bullet proof vest with rifle and a Belgian Malinois Police Dog
Officer Washington with K-9 Jago

Due to the nature of their work, police dogs, otherwise known as K-9s, experience increased wear and tear on their joints, muscles, and other soft tissue structures. This may lead to osteoarthritis or injuries. If an injury is bad enough, early retirement can become inevitable. And at a price of $8,000+ per dog plus another $12,000 to $15,000 in training costs, it is important to keep these K-9s healthy and agile.

Muscle Injuries in Police Dogs

Muscle injuries are not uncommon in working and agility dogs. One injury we see in the K-9 is an injury to the semitendinosus muscle, which is part of the hamstring muscle group. Injury to this muscle can result in a buildup of fibrosis, or scar tissue, which causes the muscle to contract and shorten. This contracture leads to lameness and an abnormal gait in the affected dog.

This condition, known as semitendinosus myopathy, can be career-ending for working dogs. Traditional treatments include rest, medication, rehabilitation, and surgery. Unfortunately, none of these methods have been fully successful, and many dogs do not return to their full activity.

VetStem Cell Therapy for Semitendinosus Myopathy

When a disease or condition lacks effective treatment options, we often wonder if stem cell therapy may help. So, as we are known to do, we investigated the use of stem cells for semitendinosus myopathy. And the results were incredibly promising! In a study of eight working police K-9s diagnosed with semitendinosus myopathy, treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy helped all eight dogs return to active police work. In addition, each dog’s gait returned to normal.

As with any condition, each patient is different. And VetStem Cell Therapy may not be the best option for all patients. If your dog has experienced a muscle injury, speak to your veterinarian to determine if VetStem Cell Therapy may help your dog. Or contact us to find a VetStem provider in your area.