BYRAM, MS (WLBT) - 9-year-old Pretty Girl, a Rottweiler- Lab mix, has been the center of the world for Eugene and Theresa Marble. Eugene in fact, credits her with adding ten years to his life. "She's a big part of it. She really is. She actually runs the house."
Theresa also adores Pretty Girl. "She's Saints fan. She has a microchip in case she gets lost."
The much loved pet has brought a lot of joy to the Marbles. And now, as Pretty Girl struggles with osteoarthritis, the couple wants to do something very special for her. "Watching her struggle to walk has been heart wrenching," Theresa said.
Pretty Girl is one of the first two dogs in Mississippi to undergo a stem cell transplant. Dr. Mike Randall performed both procedures at Randall Veterinary Hospital in Byram.
Pretty Girl gets an I-V, anesthesia, and a close shave to the fatty part of her shoulder. Dr. Randall is removing a portion of fat, which is rich in stem cells. "We take the fat, process the fat. We get the stem cells out. We also get blood from the dog. We pull platelet rich plasma which is growth factors for these stem cells. That will cause the stem cells to adhere to those and have them proliferate and become the tissue they need to be," Dr. Randall said.
The debilitating effects of osteoarthritis in Pretty Girl's hind legs are obvious. In the weeks ahead, the stem cells taken from the fat in her shoulder will give her remarkable improvement. "Most of your pain is due to inflamed areas of the joint. So these stem cells can go ahead and adhere to the inflamed areas of the joint and begin to repair those," Dr. Randall explained.
Pet owners who opt for stem cell therapy are also encouraged to bank the unused stem cells for later use. That eliminates the need for another fat extraction from the canine patient if the injections need to be repeated.
The success rate of stem cell therapy in dogs for osteoarthritis is about 97 percent. The cost is roughly $1,800.00 and banking stem cells for later use costs about $150.00 a year.
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