Press Releases

Senior Chocolate Labrador Regains Ability to Walk After Treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy

Molly, a senior chocolate Labrador, received VetStem Cell Therapy for severe osteoarthritis and regained her ability to walk.

2021-10-12 --

Molly, a twelve and a half year old chocolate Labrador, suffered from severe osteoarthritis in both of her hocks (ankles) and her left elbow. She had a noticeable limp in her left front leg and one veterinarian called her elbow a mess after seeing x-rays of the joint. Then, one day, Molly suddenly could not walk at all. She was unable to bear any weight on her back legs and her back paws knuckled under when her owners tried to help her stand.

Upon examination, Molly did not right her back paws when they were flipped over. This can be indicative of a neurological issue such as a spinal condition. Her veterinarian offered an MRI, which would show if Molly had a herniated disc in her spine, a problem that can sometimes lead to being unable to walk. Unfortunately, MRI’s can be costly, so Molly’s owners elected to use that money elsewhere and have her treated with VetStem Cell Therapy.

To begin the process, Molly’s veterinarian, Dr. Rebecca Wolf of Metropolitan Veterinary Associates, collected fat tissue from Molly’s abdomen during a minimally invasive anesthetic procedure. Once collected, the fat was aseptically packaged and shipped to the VetStem laboratory in Poway, California. VetStem lab technicians processed the fat to extract and concentrate the stem and regenerative cells contained therein. Molly’s cells were divided into doses and four stem cell injections were shipped to Dr. Wolf for treatment. Approximately 48 hours after the initial fat collection procedure, Molly received one stem cell injection into each hock, her left elbow, and intravenously.

According to her owner, Molly had a great response to the stem cell therapy. Just two weeks after her injections, Molly was able to support her own weight with assistance. At her one month recheck appointment, Molly was able to take a few steps. And just shy of two months post-stem cell therapy, Molly was walking on her own again. When her back paws were flipped over, she righted them within two seconds. Molly’s owner stated, “She is walking again on her own and without assistance, and she is definitely limping less on that front elbow. While we do realize at her age and the severity of arthritis in her joints that she won’t be a puppy again, I would definitely expect her to continue to improve and continue to be mobile. I would do this again for her in a heartbeat, and we are so thankful this technology exists. Thank you, VetStem, for giving us back our happy girl.”

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common diseases in dogs. Pain associated with osteoarthritis can greatly reduce a dog’s quality of life. According to surveys answered by owners and veterinarians, greater than 80% of dogs showed an improved quality of life after receiving VetStem Cell Therapy for osteoarthritis. A peer-reviewed study of dogs with chronic osteoarthritis of the elbow found that stem cells reduced pain and lameness. Stem cells are regenerative cells that can differentiate into many tissue types, reduce pain and inflammation, help to restore range of motion, and stimulate regeneration of tendon, ligament, and joint tissues.

About Dr. Rebecca Wolf, VMD, DACVS-SA
Dr. Wolf graduated in 2006 from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. She completed a rotating internship at Garden State Veterinary Specialists in New Jersey, followed by a surgical internship at Gulf Coast Veterinary Surgery in Houston, Texas. Dr. Wolf returned to Garden State Veterinary Specialists for her surgical residency, which she completed in 2011. Dr. Wolf is a small animal diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. She has been credentialed to perform VetStem Cell Therapy since 2011.