AN 11-year-old Labrador who suffered with a painful joint condition has been relieved by ground-breaking therapy in Lancashire.
Thomas, a black Labrador with chronic osteoarthritis, from Preston, is one of the first dogs to benefit from pioneering stem cell therapy, thanks to a surgeon at Hillcrest Animal Hospital in Chorley.
His owner, Ann Tomlinson, from Longton, had become increasingly desperate to find some relief from the pain for Thomas.
But the dog was intolerant to the usual medications.
Animal-lover Anne said: “Thomas means the world to me and could never be replaced in my life.
“He started to get ill about two years ago - it wasn’t drastic, but it just seemed to progress over the years.
“I wanted to catch it before it got any more worrying, after all, a prevention treatment is always better than a cure.”
So Ann said she was happy to explore any options that would alleviate the constant pain she believed her dog was enduring.
Chris Manning, veterinary surgeon at Hillcrest, suggested stem cell therapy as a way of alleviating the pain Thomas was suffering from.
This was the first time he had carried out the process.
Chris said: “It is a straight-forward procedure.
“Thomas only had to stay in hospital for a couple of hours while we injected the cells then he was able to return home.
“I did repeat the procedure a while afterwards and he is responding very well now.
“I am very pleased with the improvement.”
Chris was aware of this ‘ground-breaking’ stem cell therapy, which involves harvesting cells from the patient by extracting fat from under the skin of the animal in a small procedure, or from a bone marrow aspirate.
The sample is then transported to Veterinary Tissue Bank – Europe’s first tissue bank for veterinary surgeons – where the stem cells are extracted and expanded in cell culture and then returned for injection in to the patient’s injured tissue or joint.
Anne was happy with the treatment and thanked Chris for his ‘marvellous work’.
“I think this type of treatment can improve a lot for animals,” she said. “Thomas seems a lot more comfortable since his surgery, there is certainly an improvement.”
Over the years, Thomas’ illnesses have cost thousands of pounds, even with insurance, but Ann says ‘he was definitely worth it’.
Thomas now has therapy, a supplement and goes swimming twice a week as part of his recovery.