Cooper a Bernese Mountain dog was suffering from arthritic elbow. His owner,Crystal Myers had two options, either elbow replacement surgery or amputation for her 2-year-old pet. She decided she wouldn’t settle without finding a third opinion.

She discovered a veterinary clinic Santa Cruz Westside Animal Hospital that was willing to give stem cell treatment a shot. Cooper underwent the regenerative surgery in early August and within days he was putting most of his weight back on his arthritic elbow.The Santa Cruz Westside Animal Hospital began doing the procedure in July and has since developed a three-week waiting list.

There are estimated 150 to 200 veterinarians certified to do the stem cell treatment in the country; 40 of which are within 100 miles of Santa Cruz. Stem cell treatment requires the veterinarian to collect a small fat sample from the patient.

To remove the fat sample, the pet is anesthetized and a small incision is made in the abdomen. The large fatty ligament just below the muscle surface is isolated and a piece of fat removed. The sample is placed in a special container that is then placed in an insulated shipping box. The box is sent to a lab where the fat is spun down, the stem cells collected and shipped back. The following morning, the pet is sedated and the skin over the affected joints numbed. The cells are injected into the affected joints or connective tissues.

The procedure costs about $2,500-$3,000. All the dogs have improved their condition after going through the treatment.

Source: central coast