Researchers using stem cells to help arthritic dogs

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BATON ROUGE, La. (LOCAL 33)(FOX 44) – People have medicines and doctors at their fingertips, so illnesses as complex as arthritis can be treated. But what about arthritis in dogs?


Gracie Lou use to be energetic, but after 16 years of fetch and walks, the most she can give right now is a good company to her owner Gretchen Morgan.

“She’s pretty lame on the left, it started as elbow arthritis,” Morgan said.

Morgan started noticing Gracie’s arthritis more in 2016. Her dog couldn’t get up the steps to the doggy doors anymore. Arthritis in her elbow eventually spread to the rest of her legs, and now she’s pretty much confined to the ground.

“If I want to take her for a walk, I’ll put her in a wagon so she gets different enrichment, different smells and things,” Morgan said.

Gracie Lou’s story is similar to lots of dogs. That’s why Scott Buzhardt, a veterinarian at the, Animal Center is looking for furry participants in a stem cell study.

We’re looking for large dogs that are 70 pounds or more,” Buzhardt said. “We’ll screen the dogs and if they qualify we’ll give them the injection.”

Buzhardt is a vet working with stem cell therapy research, the goal is to take stem cells from the bone and transfer them to the arthritic area in the dog to help clear up the problem.

“Some of the cells are put in the joint and others in the vein.”

Buzhardt says the stem cells might not be a cure-all, but it’s a first step in giving dogs like Gracie, a better life.

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