New Zealand dog owners will soon be able to access
breakthrough stem cell therapy for their pets suffering from
degenerative joint disease.
Pet Doctors, New Zealand's biggest companion animal
veterinary group, has announced an agreement to treat dogs
with stem cell technology. New Zealand will be only the third
country in the world to offer this type of therapy for dogs,
along with Australia and the United States.
Pet Doctors group chief executive Steve Merchant said the
treatment offered an alternative for thousands of dogs
suffering from degenerative joint disease.
"Many pet-owners have experienced the heartache of seeing a
previously active dog deteriorate in mobility - for simple
things like getting into the car, going for walks, or having
a play at the beach.
"Often the mind is willing but the body is not," said Dr
"By using the dog's own fat cells and genetic material to
regenerate their joint, they can lead healthier and more
active lives without drugs."
The therapy uses advanced technology and the dog's own
natural regeneration system to treat painful arthritic
joints. It is a one-day procedure that involves implanting
stem cells into affected joints.
Dr Merchant said the technology was very exciting and could
soon be a routine procedure offered throughout the country.
"It is expensive and it's not for every dog but it will help
in many cases. Dogs are living longer and owners are forming
closer bonds to their animals so there will be a demand for
Currently the therapy is being offered in Australia at the
cost of around $6000. More than 200 dogs have been operated
on in Australia so far, with excellent results. So far there
have been three procedures carried out in New Zealand.
The majority of dogs showed a reduction in pain within 10
days, and have maintained an improvement 22 months after