ORLANDO, Fla. -

Eight Central Florida veterinary clinics are offering up a new procedure that could save or greatly improve a pet's life.

MediVet America has set up a holding center at the company's Nicholasville, Ken., lab to freeze and store pet stem cells for future use.  Clinical studies have shown the cells can be viable for decades.

The procedure extracts stem cells from the animal's own fat tissue. The cells are then treated and used for aging dogs and cats struggling with arthritis or degenerative disease for several years, with good results.

By "cryobanking," the healthy cells, they will be ready if needed in the future.

"Banking stem cells is like having an extra insurance policy for your pet," explained Jeremy Delk, CEO of MediVet America.

Dr. Daniel Evers of ValuVet is taking part in a pet stem cell project in Central Florida to determine if the stem cells are actually causing cartilage regeneration.

Twelve pets will be selected for the study, which will include two separate MRI scans to determine how effective the stem cell treatments are for pets struggling with joint issues.

[SHARE YOUR PHOTOS: Picture-perfect pets]

Normally, the initial cost is $420, with a $150 annual storage fee. Owners whose pets are selected will get a discount on the stem cell procedure. Pet owners interested in the procedure can contact Erica Kent at erica@medivet-america.com or call 386-748-4251.