Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Stem Cells at Work

Stem cells are making headlines in veterinary medicine but none more so than in Western Pennsylvania where a vet is attempting to use stem cells to regrow the pads on a dog's paws. The patient is a pit bull named Bernie, who suffered burns on the paws of his feet when his former owner left him on a scorching rooftop for ten hours. Police rescued the dog and took him to the Animal Rescue League in Berks county, PA near Reading.

The shelter took Bernie to Wyomissing Animal Hospital, where Dr. Boyd Wagner, owner, decided to try to regrow the pads using stem cells. "I don't think I've seen anything that bad in 25 years," the vet said. "They were severe third degree burns."

Wagner had been doing work with Celavet, a California-based bio-tech firm doing research on stem cells use in vet medicine and he decided to try the procedure, the first of its kind that required special permission from the FDA. "The stem cells increase the re-epithelization at a faster pace and a more uniform pace," he said.

The procedure was performed August 4 and it is still too soon to tell if it is working. In the meantime, Bernie seems to be recovering and is looking for a foster home. "He seems to be happy now," says Wagner. "He's a tough little guy."

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