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									                             PET HEALTH BULLETIN
                                   Spring 2010

   1. Stem Cell Therapy                        suitable stem cells. However in the past
                                               2 years there have been significant
Stem cell therapy is a revolutionary           advances and now it is possible to
treatment for arthritis and associated         harvest large numbers of stem cells
conditions such as tendonitis, ligament        suitable for treating these conditions
damage, cartilage damage, joint disease        from the animal’s own fat. Fat has 50 –
and even intervertebral disc disease and       1000 times more stem cells than bone
fracture repair. It harnesses the body’s       marrow, is present in relatively large
innate capacity to heal by regeneration of     amounts, is easily harvested and,
new, functional tissue rather than just        because it comes from the animal’s own
repair by scarring and fibrosis.               body, is very safe.
We have always known the body has the          The fat is harvested during a simple
capacity to regenerate. Some tissues,          surgery and is then processed to select
such as bone and bone marrow, are very         out the stem cells. These are then
regenerative and others, such as cardiac       activated and can be returned to the
and neuronal tissue, repair with very          animal’s body in approximately 2 hours.
poor return to function. Adult stem cells      They can be returned either directly to
are an important part of the regenerative      the site where regeneration is needed
process. Small numbers are present in a        (for example by injection into the
quiescent state in most tissues. They are      affected joint) or intravenously. If they
capable of activation given the right          are injected intravenously they migrate
circumstances (such as injury and              to any sites of injury and inflammation.
inflammation). They migrate to the site        Much higher numbers are required for
of injury, differentiate into the              intravenous use but these are now
appropriate cell type and then start to        becoming readily available with the new
regenerate the functional tissue. The          technology.
problem is that usually there are              All this can be done in-house as a day
insufficient numbers to allow healing by       procedure. There is minimal after care (a
regeneration alone, so commonly there is       course of antibiotics and normal wound
both repair (scarring or fibrosis) and         care for the site from which the tissue
regeneration.                                  was harvested). Responses are seen
Not only do stem cells differentiate into      within 30 days and progress for up to 6
new, functional cells, they also provide       months. Repeat injections have been
growth factors to stimulate the existing       required after 12- 18 months in a few
cells to divide and produce more               cases. It will soon be possible to store a
functional tissue. Lastly, and very            portion of the stem cells so that if repeat
importantly, they modulate the immune          injections are required another
response, damping down inflammation            harvesting procedure will not be needed.
and thus reducing pain. This is a              Of course not every patient with
‘natural’ way of controlling                   mobility problems is a suitable
inflammation, with none of the                 candidate for the procedure. Proper
potentially severe side effects of the anti-   examination, testing and consultation is
inflammatory or immunosuppressive              required to ensure that good results are
drugs in common use today.                     probable and that
Until recently the problem has always
been obtaining adequate numbers of
expectations are realistic. Other treatment
modalities, such as nutriceuticals, chiropractic,            3. Did you know?
and physiotherapy, should still be maintained.
Some dogs still require surgery and anti-                 The main behavioural problem
inflammatory medications (though usually at               cat owners report is
reduced doses). But for many older dogs, crippled         inappropriate elimination – not
with pain from arthritis, stem cell therapy can           using the litter tray or spraying.
offer a new lease on life. For many younger dogs          To minimise the risk of this
it can mean the difference between debilitating           occurring always have at least 1
and ongoing joint disease or an active, energetic         litter tray per cat plus 1 spare.
life. We are delighted that at last we have such a        Trial different types of litter to
safe and effective treatment to offer!                    see which type the cat prefers.
We hope to have this technology available at The          Research indicates most cats
Animal Medical Centre within the next few                 prefer attapulgite (clay).
months so please contact us if you are interested
and have any questions. We are more than happy
to discuss this exciting development with you and            4. Staff News
help you decide if your four legged friend is a
suitable candidate.                                       We are happy to welcome two
                                                          new veterinary nurses to The
                                                          Animal Medical Centre.
    2. Spring watch                                       Rebecca Taylor joined us in
                                                          June from Narellan where she
Spring is in the air and as always it is a relief to      has worked as a veterinary nurse
put the cold of winter behind us. For the first time      for 3 years. She has a Certificate
in many years it appears we are to have a proper          2 in veterinary nursing and is
spring season. On the upside this means the               currently studying human
gardens and bush land look lovely. On the down            nursing through University of
side it means lots of grass seeds! Please keep your       Canberra.
pet’s coat in good order so that seeds are more           Tess Willoughby is from
likely to fall out than to become embedded.               Canberra and joined us in
Sometimes during the spring shed the outer coat           August. She is currently
looks normal but the undercoat is severely matted.        studying for her veterinary
Careful combing from the roots out, or even               nursing certification.
shaving, is necessary to restore order.                   Tammy Bowden has left us to
Remember to check after walks, especially                 further her career at The Animal
between toes and on the chest and neck. Keep to           Emergency Centre and we wish
the mown areas and keep the grass in your yard            her the very best for the future.
short so that seeds do not develop.                       On the veterinary front Dr Amer
Keeping to the mown areas and keeping your own            Ali is away on paternity leave
yard tidy are also excellent ways of avoiding             for 5 weeks from late October.
snakes. As the weather warms up they are coming           Dr Chris Darmody is returning
out of hibernation. At this time they are sluggish        to locum for us during this
and therefore more vulnerable to attack. They are         period and we look forward to
also very well stocked with venom so a bite is            tales of her travels.
even more serious. Remember that if you suspect
a snake bite, even if you are not sure, it is better to
bring your pet in for us to observe in hospital.
Signs of envenomation do not always develop
immediately and may even take a few hours.
When symptoms do develop they progress rapidly
and it is critical to start treatment immediately.
Some patients just never make it to the surgery

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