Stem Cell Regenerative Therapy as a Treatment for Feline Renal Failure

Stem Cell Regenerative Therapy as a Treatment for Feline Renal Failure

By Dr. Ed Mapes
Stonebridge Animal Hospital
 McKinney, Tx

The science and application of stem cell regenerative medicine continues to evolve, and our pets are benefitting from this ongoing research. We have been helping animals with severe arthritic conditions for months now, enabling them to walk and run again, with stem cell implantations. This has demonstrated to us the amazing potential these cells have to heal tissue and relieve pain. Our hospital is very proud to be taking part in a new treatment protocol for cats with renal disease.
Many of these cases are slowly progressive over time, as more and more of the kidney tissue becomes non-functional. Once a threshold is reached, and enough cells are destroyed, the body can no longer compensate, and the animal begins to show symptoms of disease. Studies have shown that regenerative stem cells have the ability to stop or slow deterioration of renal tissues and preserve remaining healthy cells to function properly.
The ideal case is one in which the renal disease is diagnosed in relatively early stages, before the disease progresses to the point of renal failure. When enough healthy, functional renal tissue remains, we can stop the disease progression and safeguard those cells so that they can filter the blood in a normal manner – thus minimizing clinical signs of disease that makes cats feel sick.
The process involves a short surgical procedure to extract fat tissue from the cat. We normally make an incision on the ventral (belly) midline very similar to a spay incision. Fat is removed from just inside the body wall, from fatty deposits there called the falciform ligament. This fat is placed in specialized containers, and overnight-shipped to the VetStem laboratories in California.
There, regenerative stem cells are derived from the fat, and placed in syringes with which we inject the patients. The cells are returned to our hospital in two days, and the patient is scheduled for implantation upon arrival of the cells.
When treating animals for a severe arthritic condition, we inject the affected joints with cells, and then inject another 5 cc of cells into an IV catheter. When treating cats for kidney disease, we only inject the cells IV – no anesthetic or sedation is necessary for the implantation procedure.
Studies have demonstrated unmistakable improvement in patients’ conditions following stem cell implantation. They may also be placed on specialized prescription diets to support renal function, vitamins, and possibly other medications; depending on their individual condition.
We have seen the dramatic improvement in our patients with hip dysplasia and other diseases involving the joints, tendons, and ligaments. This new avenue of therapy with stem cells derived from the patients’ own fat tissue represents another means by which we can help our patients when no help was available before.
Signs of renal disease may include any of the following:
Increased thirst and frequency of urination
Weight loss
Reduced appetite
Dehydration
Nausea and vomiting
Restlessness or change in behavior

Please have your cat examined for the possibility of renal disease when these symptoms occur; the sooner the better to prevent continued deterioration of renal tissue. If we’re able to detect the problem early enough, stem cell regenerative therapy could be the means by which we stop the progression and keep your cat feeling good with a high quality of life.

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