Our patient, Dr. Burcham’s own dog (Monty), is the lucky dog who is the first in Kansas and greater Kansas City to undergo stem cell therapy.
Monty, a geriatric shepherd mix adopted from Animal Haven in 2003, received an injection of stem cells that were processed from his own fat tissue, which is intended to help alleviate joint pain secondary to osteoarthritis. Monty underwent anesthesia and surgery on Mon. 12/21/09 to harvest stem cells from fat tissue behind his shoulder. The sample was sent by Fed-Ex overnight to the Vet-Stem lab in San Diego, CA, for processing, and then overnighted back to the hospital, and on Wed. 12/23/09, veterinarian Dr. Matt Peuser injected the stem cells into the dog’s painful hip.
After having his procedure, Monty did not see much improvement for the first 30 days. From day 30 to 60, Monty did much better and had a great deal of improvement in his overall condition.
Here are Dr. Burcham’s thoughts: “When I first learned about stem cell therapy, I knew I wanted to do it for my dog. He wasn’t so bad that he needed daily medication, but I also didn’t want to wait until he was that bad. He has unilateral hip dysplasia, which means just one of his hips is bad. But it makes him gimpy, and I hate seeing him act achey. When I first started treating him with Adequan a few years ago, I initially noticed a dramatic improvement in his overall attitude and activity level.
“The first 30 days after his stem cell treatment, I didn’t really see any difference. Then, almost like a switch was turned on 30 days post-treatment, he began leaping for joy at meal times. I mean, he was practically spring-loaded! I had never seen him show so much excitement. When it came time to bring him into the hospital for his first recheck, he leapt into the back of my car like it was no big deal. In the past, he would look longingly up at it and crouch like he wanted to jump, but I would always end up lifting him into the back of my car. That was amazing to see! I continued to see some improvement for a few more weeks, and things have plateaued now, but he’s still doing great. He can still leap into my car, and what’s more, now that the weather allows him to spend more time outdoors, I am seeing him run more than I ever have before. He used to just trot around the yard, but now he runs full-out across the yard. He looks like he is blissfully happy, and it makes me so happy to know that I’m doing everything I can to keep him feeling good. He is such a good, good dog.”
April 2011 update, a quote from Dr. Burcham: “Monty’s progress has plateaued and I feel that he’s back at his pre-treatment level of stiffness. I repeated an IV dose of stem cells for him in December, one year after his initial treatment. I can’t say that I saw any noticeable improvement in his mobility, but I have not been very diligent with physical therapy for him. Since I have no idea how old he is, I feel like I have made every effort to keep him as comfortable as possible in his senior years, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to treat him with stem cell therapy.”
Below is a video detailing Monty’s journey: