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Stem cell therapy available for dogs, cats in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA – Just like humans, dogs and cats tend to slow down as they get older, often suffering from joints that ache with osteoarthritis or ligament injuries.

Now pet owners can come to Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center for two new options for helping their dogs and cats with these ailments:

These two new treatments are both examples of the advanced care available at VSEC’s Philadelphia hospital, which has been greatly expanded and upgraded. VSEC is a BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospital.

Dr. Ron Ben-Amotz, a board-certified veterinary surgeon, is offering both treatments at VSEC’s Philadelphia hospital. He is believed to be the first veterinarian in the Philadelphia area to provide the treatment on companion animals.

Both procedures hold a lot of promise for improving the lives of dogs and cats who suffer from debilitating orthopedic diseases. “It’s considered to be safe, it’s quick and there is lots of evidence it can work,” Dr. Ben-Amotz said.

Platelets are cells that aid in clot formation. However, they can also release growth factors that stimulate other cells that migrate to the area of trauma, which facilitates the healing of tissue.

Studies have shown bone marrow-derived stem cells can regenerate and heal injured tissue, supply growth factors, reduce inflammation, and contribute to healing.

This combination therapy has been used to manage numerous orthopedic conditions, including osteoarthritis and soft tissue injuries.

Platelet-rich plasma is prepared by using a sample of the patient’s own blood.  Also, bone marrow is retrieved from a long bone such as the humerus. Spinning the blood and bone marrow in a special centrifuge allows the retrieval of platelet-rich plasma portion and stem cells.

These procedures are increasingly being used in human sports medicine, and have gained some attention because of the number of professional athletes who are choosing the treatments to help them rehabilitate quickly.

VSEC has hospitals in Philadelphia and Levittown and is scheduled to open one later this year in Conshohocken.

The Philadelphia hospital at 1114 South Front Street has been greatly expanded, increasing from 5,000 square feet to 10,000.  The hospital features a new ER and ICU, a new ultrasound and cardiology suite, expanded surgery facilities and a new 64-slice CT scanner for advanced diagnostic imaging, similar to what is used in many human hospitals.

All this has led to a lot of recognition for the hospitals recently. VSEC hospitals were named “Practice of the Year” in a contest sponsored by Petplan pet insurance, and the Levittown hospital was recently named a National Trauma Center.