By Laura Liscum on behalf of the PBGVCA Health Committee
In August, the AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) sponsored the 2015 National Parent Club Canine Health Conference in St. Louis. Linda Murray and I attended the conference on behalf of the PBGVCA and the PBGV Health & Rescue Foundation, respectively. We both thought that it was a fabulous experience with excellent talks, abundant opportunities to interact with the speakers, and lots of free dog chow! Here is a synopsis of several presentations that we heard at the conference.
Stem Cells Therapy for Supraspinatus Tendonopathy
Dogs injure ligaments and tendons while chasing bunnies in the field, running agility courses and roughhousing at doggie daycare. Like their owners, many dogs develop osteoarthritis after years of activity. The traditional surgical repair, medications and rehabilitation therapy have not always restored the injured dog to his/her pre-injury state. Two years ago, we heard Dr. Sherman Canapp describe his remarkable results when traditional treatment approaches are combined with stem cells or platelet-rich plasma therapy. His work continues to look very promising.
This year we heard Dr. Jennifer Barrett from Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. Barrett described her collaborative studies with Canapp using stem cells and platelet-rich plasma to heal 57 agility dogs with shoulder injuries that had been lame for more than a yeardespite treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids and sessions in rehab. Dogs were treated with stem cells, which are undifferentiated cells that are able to divide and develop into specialized cells that repair and replenish adult tissues. They also treated the dogs with platelet-rich plasma isolated from the canine patient’s blood. Platelets are a natural source of bioactive proteins and growth factors that stimulate collagen formation and healing of tendons and ligaments. In fact, platelet rich plasma is currently being used to treat human and equine athletes. The dogs received pre-treatment analysis of gait and limb movement. Then stem cells and platelets were isolated and injected into the soft tissue lesions, guided by ultrasound.
The dog returned each month for ultrasound gait and limb movement analyses. The site of injury was examined by arthroscopy at 90 days. The outcomes of this study were very encouraging! The AKC CHF is now funding Drs. Barrett and Canapp to conduct the first randomized, placebocontrolled clinical trial of stem cells and platelet-rich plasma for supraspinatus tendon injury. They are having a difficult time enrolling enough dogs for the trial, so if you have an injured dog, please inquire.