By Gary Richter, MS, DVM, Holistic Veterinary Care, Oakland, CA
As a veterinarian, it is my job and my passion to provide animals with the best medical care possible. This mission has lead me to explore facets of science and medicine ranging from the ancient to the most cutting edge technologies of the future. In recent years, advances in veterinary medicine have been both rapid and effective in providing better quality and quantity of life for pets. This article is the first of a two-part series on some of the latest and greatest canine medical innovations.
Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cells are cells that are able to differentiate and transform into other cells in the body. This is one of the ways our body is able to repair damaged cells and tissues. While the body naturally produces stem cells, they are not always in high numbers and tend to become less active with advancing age. The use of stem cell therapy allows us to harvest, concentrate and even multiply a patient’s own stem cells and then administer them in ways that promote healing of arthritic joints, damaged tissues, and failing organs.
As if this were not amazing enough, clinical trials are under way to evaluate the use of allogenic stem cells. Allogenic cells do not have to be surgically harvested from a patient. They are effectively “off the shelf” stem cells that will be administered to any canine patient. The elimination of the collection process means no surgery or anesthesia for the recipient dog, making the procedure quicker, safer and ultimately cheaper and more accessible.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Hyperbaric medicine has been around for many years in human medicine, although it has only recently become available to veterinary patients. Within a hyperbaric chamber, a patient is treated with one hundred percent oxygen at pressures between 1.5 and 2.5 atmospheres. By saturating the patient’s blood and tissues with oxygen, we are able to circumvent many of the factors that limit the body’s ability to recover from injury or illness. The use of hyperbaric oxygen has many applications for canine patients including treating wounds, trauma, spinal and brain injuries, organ disease, bacterial resistant infections and more. Lives and limbs are literally saved through the use of hyperbaric medicine.
Photo courtesy: Holistic Veterinary Care