Bullmarket French Bulldog Breeders

Dog's Dinner and Stem Cells Bring Hope

My dogs eat leftovers – a fact that many veterinarians will be happy to tell you is a surefire pathway to obesity, bad behaviour and possibly heroin addiction. So far, so good — I haven’t noticed any track marks, and while a few of the dogs might be a bit on the fluffy side (Hello Delilah), most of them are actually quite lean and muscular.

Steak and Kidney pie leftoversLast night, they got the remains of a big pot of pasta with meat sauce, with the remaining Ceasar salad tossed in, as well. I just mix it in with their normal food, and they seem to enjoy the variety.

A few days ago, they got the leftover Steak and Kidney pie I’d cooked for Sunday dinner last week. Steak and kidney pie is one of our favorite meals, but damn — it does not make for pretty looking leftovers. Lucky for me, dogs aren’t big on aesthetics — I dumped in the uneaten veggies that were in the fridge, warmed it all up a bit in the microwave, and spooned a bit into each one of the dog’s bowls. Even Tessa all of of hers, and without any prompting.

Feeding Tessa lately has become something of a game of chess. It’s like feeding a fussy toddler — we don’t stand on ceremony, but rather follow the principle that “Whatever gets her to eat is A-OK”. First, she lost interest in raw. Fine, we gave her premium kibble. Then, she kept tipping over her bowl. Fine, we put the kibble into a pile next to her in the crate, where she’d hoover it up a piece at a  time. Then, she lost interest in dry kibble altogether, so we re tried raw, to no avail. At the moment, her only interest is in leftovers mixed with kibble with the occasional snack throughout the day. This morning, she had a pancake and a piece of bacon.

Is she spoiled? Probably – but she’s also fourteen and a half years old. If that doesn’t earn you the right to some spoiling, I don’t know what does.

News from Chicago about great strides in the use of canine stem cells to treat injuries. The stem cells are injected into the injured areas, and seem to have the effect of repairing and revigorating tissue growth.The treatment is offered by a California company called Vet Stem.

Here’s how Vet-Stem’s product works: A small amount of the animal’s fat, the equivalent of two or three tablespoons, is surgically removed and shipped overnight to Vet-Stem’s labs in southern California where the stem cells are isolated. The cells are then returned to the veterinarian two days later in the form of concentrated regenerative stem cells.

The stem sells are injected back into the animal, where they home in on the injury and stimulate so-called “resident” cells to become more active in making repairs. Stem cells are derived from building-block cells and are able to develop into many different types of specialized cells, serving as a sort of repair system for the body. Theoretically, they divide without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person or animal is alive.

The treatment isn’t cheap, at $2500 to $3500 a pop, but anyone who has ever had disk surgery done on a Frenchie can attest to that being priced in the same range. If this treatment can potentially stave off invasive, risky, only occasionally successful spinal surgeries, the high cost would be well worth it.

The rest of the article is here.

13 replies
  1. Jenniferj
    Jenniferj says:

    I’m actually looking into tis right now for my older boy who has an arthritic stifle.

    A TPLO might help, but it’s also 3000.00-3500.00 and major surgery.

    So my vet and I are going to talk it over on the 3rd. I’ll report back. 🙂

    • JenniferJ
      JenniferJ says:


      The elderly dog we were going to use stem cells on ended up needing a TPLO. He’s getting about without a limp. I really was on the fence about putting a geriatric through major surgery, but he actually walked out better than he walked in.

      HOWEVER, we did use the Vet Stem procedure in July of 2009 on a dog who had had a horrifying elbow fracture as a pup. He’d been sound for 6 years but arthritis started to catch up and supplements and NSAIDs were not really helping.

      He had the elbow injected and also a dose IV. Following rehab, he had better range of motion and was sounder. Improvement actually peaked about 6 months out. In April of this year we opted for a second dose, one in the elbow, one IV again.

      As of now, he has regained almost 95 percent range of motion and is sound without NSAIDs unless he really over does it. No crepitus at all. Still looks about the same on film, but functioning very well. This is an active dog. He sprained his opposite shoulder trying to rush down the stone steps 4 at a time, whilst turning in mid air. Even though the arthritic side had to take all his weight for several weeks, the elbow held up great.

      Because he was fit, not fat, at the time the cells were harvested, the only adequate source was a ligament in the abdomen. The recovery from that part of surgery was much harder than recovery from the injection, however there is about a four week rehab period after the joint is injected.

      Is it miraculous? No. Did it help this dog a hell of a lot? Yes. Would I do it again? Yes.

      • frogdogz
        frogdogz says:

        Hmmm.. that’s a sort of ‘eh’ assessment of the treatment – and my understanding was that it had a HUGE price tag still. Can you give me a ball park of what the total treatments cost? Roughly?

        • JenniferJ
          JenniferJ says:

          I spent around 3000.00 total between collection, processing and injection. Which is about 500.00 less than the cost of a TPLO in these parts. For a cruciate rupture I would do surgery. For something that can be definitively fixed with surgery, surgery is still going to be hard to beat. Elbow replacement at the university which was the only other option, is about 6000.00-8000.00. There are few options for elbow degeneration.

          At 14 months out, he is doing really well. Much better than he was before the procedure, and he should be worse. I believe the improvement is due to the stem cells. I would do it again.

          Prior to the stem cell implant I was looking at a healthy dog who was going to outlive his joint and either be in pain or facing major surgery with a long recovery. Now I am quite confident that I can maintain the joint for hopefully the rest of his life without him hurting or being limited by it.

          For me, the fact that he was able to take all, then most of his weight on the arthritic joint when he sprained his should without getting sore was pretty astonishing. So I am happy with the outcome.

          Using the stored cells is much less of an ordeal. And much cheaper. Shipping and thawing from Vet Stem is 300.00 a dose.
          Injection without general anesthesia was 200.00. So not bad for the second time round.

          • JenniferJ
            JenniferJ says:

            OK, that should haver read shoulder, not “should”
            He was literally on three legs for a week after his jump over the stairs crash and burn and I was sure the opposite elbow would not take it, but it does not seem to have bothered him.

  2. frogdogz
    frogdogz says:

    Jennifer, please do! I’d love to hear a first hand report from someone who’s actually had this done. I think it would merit an article — perhaps joint for the Bulldogger and the Bullytin?

    Email me if you’re interested.

  3. Susan
    Susan says:

    A couple of things got Mr. Picky Pants Logan to eat his kibble when he just wouldn’t. Bravo has a nice selection of freeze dried innards. One such is turkey hearts. I would crush one or two over Logan’s kibble and he would be MUCH more interested. The other is either chicken or turkey liver crumbled over the kibble (again, freeze dried. Dogzymes actually sells chicken liver powder.) Logan thinks birdie liver is food of the gods. And he’d wash my fingers for me afterwards, too.

  4. Judith
    Judith says:

    I have a friend who has found that several of her picky older dogs, including ones who were terminally ill, really enjoyed Miracle Whip. I have no ties or affiliations with this product, although I do tend to use it instead of mayonnaise. But if Tessa refuses all else it might be worth a try. I agree that there comes a point where what Tessa wants, Tessa gets.

    • frogdogz
      frogdogz says:

      I agree that there comes a point where what Tessa wants, Tessa gets.

      I probably shouldn’t mention that we reached that point when she was about six weeks old…

      Miracle Whip so totally trumps mayonnaise. Sean and I had one of our first really serious arguments over that very topic. He’s a mayo man, I’m a miracle whip girl. It’s probably a doomed relationship.

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