Alternative Pain Relief Treatments Available: Stem Cell Therapy and Platelet-Rich Plasma Injection Therapy

Jefferson Veterinary Hospital is excited to offer two, new, state of the art treatment options to help provide faster recovery time from surgeries and wounds, and pain relief for animals.  The two treatments are stem cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection therapy. If you have any questions as to whether this can help your cat or dog, call Jefferson Veterinary Hospital and ask to speak with one of our knowledgeable veterinarians today!

Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell therapy has been used in veterinary medicine to help pets since 2004. The therapy uses an animal’s own stem cells, obtained through a minimally invasive surgery, to help reduce inflammation and pain in arthritic joints, with relief provided by procedure lasting between 1-4 years.  Jefferson Veterinary Hospital will focus on using stem cell therapy to help manage pain and mobility problems caused by osteoarthritis and other joint related issues. It is an outpatient treatment that can all be performed on the same day in Jefferson Veterinary Hospital, and does not require an overnight stay in the hospital.

Stem cell therapy has the potential to remove the need for, and cost of, long term medication, and frequent blood work that is associated with such medication, as the stem cells work to reduce pain and inflammation for twelve to eighteen months after treatment.

How Does Stem Cell Therapy Work?

Stem cells are powerful cells present in both human and animal bodies that can become other types of cells. They are many stem cells on fat tissue, but these are “asleep”. Stem cell therapy allows the veterinarians at Jefferson Veterinary Hospital to isolate these stem cells from your pet’s fat tissue, “wake them up” and then re-inject them into areas that need to be healed. For example, in cases of arthritis, the cells are reinjected into the problem area and form new cartridge that can help reduce pain and increase the range of motion your pet has. This is a straightforward process that all occurs the same day at Jefferson Veterinary Hospital. Nothing has to be sent to an outside laboratory and your cat or dog does not have to stay overnight.

Why Use Stem Cell Therapy?

Stem cells treat the source of the problem by offering the ability to become new tissue to replace damaged tissue. Other treatments, such as pain medications work to help with pain by masking the symptoms. Stem cell therapy is a low risk treatment, because it uses the animal’s own stem cells and involves a minimally invasive procedure. It offers an all-natural alternative to drugs and steroids.

Is Stem Cell Therapy Safe?

Yes, this procedure is very safe. The biggest risk of the procedure is using anesthetic, which is required to remove the fat tissue from your cat or dog. On a typical dog, this procedure is easier than a spay, and the fat is collected in about 15 minutes by one of the veterinarians at Jefferson Veterinary Hospital. Processing the sample is done carefully by a highly trained veterinary lab tech. There have been thousands of animals treated by this procedures and no negative side-effects have been observed from this stem cell therapy.

What Conditions Can Stem Cell Therapy Help

Stem cell therapy is beneficial to pets with osteoarthritis (hip dysplasia, degenerative joint disease, calcifications, common degeneration and inflammation), soft tissue injuries (cruciate injuries, tears, ruptures, Inflammation), or pets in need of accelerated healing for fractures.  Stem cell therapy has also been used for allergies, atopic dermatitis, and inflammatory bowel disease, but Jefferson Veterinary Hospital will initially focus on using stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis and other joint issues.

What happens to my pet when they come in for stem cell therapy?

When your pet first arrives, we will check them in and make sure they are comfortable. One of our veterinarians will administer general anesthetic to your pet and then will make a small incision and collect between 2-4 tablespoons of fat from either your pet’s stomach or behind his or her shoulder blades. Since your pet is under anesthetic, this is a great opportunity to do anything else needed – spay/neuter, or dental for example. Your pet will be comforted by a veterinary assistant or technician as they come around after the anesthesia. A veterinary technician will then process the sample in the hospital, using specialized equipment.

After about 3 hours, the cells are ready to be injected into areas where treatment is needed. In addition, some cells are administered intravenously. In many cases, administering the stem cell therapy does not require any sedation. Some pets may require a local anesthetic with a ethyl chloride spray, and others may need a light sedation, it depends upon what is best for your pet. You will be able to pick your pet up later that day.

How Long is the Recovery Period and When will I see Results?

We recommend that the patient be kept quiet for the first 10 days. Then, while they may feel a lot better, you will need to be careful so your pet doesn’t injure themselves until they build up some of their muscles. Swimming and walking in water is great therapy. We typically see improvement starting after 3 weeks, and then continuing up to around 2 months.

How long does a treatment last?

The results of stem cell therapy typically last for between 1-4 years after the initial treatment. Many pet owners choose to bank cells at an offsite stem cell storage bank from the initial treatment, so re-treatment does not require surgery. If symptoms return, your vet can either request a dose of cells from the bank, or do a further surgery to extract fat and process this for new stem cell, and re-introduce the cells.

Platelet Rich Plasma Injection Therapy

photo of cat and dog at veterinarian in frederick md having PRP and stem cell therapy treatment in Maryland

PRP allows our veterinarians to offer your an all-natural, drug free pain relief option to your dogs and cats right in Jefferson Veterinary Hospital.

PRP injection therapy is a non surgical procedure where the animal’s own blood is taken and then platelets are extracted and injected directly into a wound or surgical site to help promote healing.  It aims to reduce the time that it takes for your pet to heal after surgery, and help speed up healing and recovery time and reduce pain in cases of major wounds.

How Does PLatelet-Rich Plasma Therapy Work?

PRP therapy utilizes blood plasma with concentrated platelets that once activated accelerate the healing properties and result in faster recovery times from surgeries and wounds for your pet. Contact Jefferson Veterinary Hospital for more information and to find out if this would work for your pet.


Call or visit Jefferson Veterinary Hospital to learn more about stem cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma therapies, and to see if these treatments can help your cat or dog.