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Stem cell therapy treats animal ailments, vets see improvement

Stem cell therapy treats animal ailments, vets see improvement

By Cory Marshall. CREATED Aug 19, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Three years ago, vets diagnosed Harley the cat will severe arthritis. Medications did not cut it and the 14-year-old was almost immobile. That is, until about a month ago, when owners turned to stem cell therapy.

The treatment uses stem cells harvested from the pet's own body fat. In Harley's case, vets injected the cells directly into her joints. From fat removal to stem cell injection, the procedure takes just a few hours.

One month after her procedure, Harley is moving around -- even jumping onto furniture.

The results aren't atypical. Experts say 96 percent of pets see some type of improvement.

'It does take some time but most people are reporting that within 30 days they're seeing really significant improvements in their pets," Veterinarian Dr. Kayla Boyer said.

When we see these pets get happier [and] get healthier, it's very exciting. It's very gratifying for the families," Boyer continued.

When vets used the same therapy to treat two-year-old Tuxedo a month ago, they knew it was a long shot. The Border Collie mix suffers from Myotonia Congenita, a very rare neurological disorder that causes her muscles to lock up whenever she gets excited or startled.

Just shy of her second treatment, Tuxedo's owners say they've seen a huge change.

"We noticed in the car, she caught herself when we made turns and she's not been able to do that before either. So, there's a big difference," Tuxedo's owner, Kay Morgan said.

"She was in pretty bad shape and now seeing her have a really good quality of life coming up [is] pretty wonderful," Morgan added.

According to Dr. Boyer, owners will continue seeing improvements up to 90 days after the initial treatment.

"I don't think she got to be a puppy the first year and a half of her life at all. She was always frozen and now she gets to be a dog," Morgan said.