At first glance Bradley, a seven-year-old Labradoodle, looks like a healthy, active dog.
"He's the greatest dog in the world," said his owner, Dr. John Herrity. "I love him to death."
Herrity, who also runs the Burke Animal Clinic, says over the past four months he'd noticed Bradley's arthritic hip acting up. Seeing his dog in pain, Herrity knew something had to be done.
"I called my partner when I learned about this and I said, do you know when you've met the right woman?" said Dr. Herrity. "And I said I just met the right woman. And that was stem cell."
Since May, MediVet America has been traveling across the country teaching animal clinics how to perform stem cell procedures in the office. On Tuesday, the group made its first visit to the D.C. area at Dr. Herrity’s clinic in Burke, Va.
Here's how the procedure works.
Fat from Bradley was taken from behind his shoulder. Technicians then extracted the good cells, which were injected back into Bradley's arthritic hip. After this six-hour procedure, the Labradoodle was able to walk home. Over the next 90 days the cells will form new tissue, allowing Bradley to become pain-free.
"There should be no controversy with this," said Herrity. "People might make it into something but I have no problems with it because it's my dog. And it's my choice to take his fat and use it to help him."
At $1,500 a procedure, stem cell therapy is cheaper and more effective than using long-term medication or a hip replacement to treat Bradley, said Herrity.
So which dogs are the best candidates for this procedure?
"Any dog with osteoarthritis, or tendon ligaments injuries, or even a fracture," said Katherine Wilkie of MediVet America. "We can perform this stem therapy [all] in the same day, so you can bring your dog in a little before 8'oclock in the morning and they're ready to go home after you get off work."
This procedure can also be done on cats and horses, but is not available for animals with cancer or later term illnesses.
In about six months, this stem cell therapy will also be available for humans for cosmetic procedures.
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