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Posted on 02-06-2017

Most of us may be aware that you can bank your child's umbilical cord blood as a form of biological insurance to avoid the potential need for a future donor match search. Did you know that you can also bank a small sample of your PET’S own fat as a source of stem cells?

Stem cells are the natural repair cells of the body and exist in all body tissues—but we can harvest them more easily and in greater numbers from your pet's fat. The cells are dormant until activated.  Once awakened, they interrupt the cycle of inflammation, can differentiate into and replace damaged tissue cells, and signal other stem cells to migrate to the site of injury. In other words, stem cells treat the cause of disease, not just the symptom.

Since this is your pet's own tissue, it avoids the embryo/fetus stem cell controversy, removes any risk of tissue rejection, and provides a drug-free option against a growing list of diseases that can be treated by stem cell therapy.
The most common use of stem cell therapy in pets today is treating arthritis for which your pet has a 25-30% chance of developing during his/her life span. A partial list of the future uses of stem cells include the treatments for ailments that can occur at any age such as kidney failure, allergies, bowel disease, autoimmune disorders, and ocular diseases.

The 2-3 tablespoons of fat needed for stem cell processing can be harvested during almost any anesthetic procedure, including at the time of a standard spay or neuter surgery. Multiple doses of the cells are cryogenically preserved in a state of suspended animation and indefinitely await your pet's future needs. The tissue is "banked" at MediVet Biologic's facility in Kentucky from which you can order a "withdraw" of all or a portion of your pet's stem cells.  The cells can be delivered to and implanted by any veterinarian in the world.

If a health issue is identified for which your pet's banked stem cells are able to treat, they can be called up to be thawed, activated, and inserted into the target tissue to start the regenerative repair.

Banking your pet’s cells may be the best health insurance that your pet can have. (And speaking of "insurance," many veterinary insurance companies like Trupanion offer at least partial coverage of this procedure.)

Ask to talk to any of our veterinarians if you would like to know more.

Dr. Troy Smith
Associate Veterinarian
Manchaca Village Veterinary Care

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