The search for dogs suffering with arthritis in the front leg joints or "elbow dysplasia" has sparked interest and some confusion from central Florida pet owners.
Sarah Carey, public relations director for the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine, says the research team has already scheduled three dogs with "a couple of additional promising cases on the horizon."
Despite showing the examination and CT in the Local 6 original report some pet owners aren't clear about the location of a dog's elbow or as Carey suggests "what an elbow is."
The confusion is understandable. The elbow refers to the joints in the front legs not the hind legs.
The stem cells are injected directly in the elbows of the pets being treated.
Dr. Stanley Kim a specialist in small animal surgery says some pets are given a placebo and not even the owner will know if saline or stem cells have been injected into the pet's joints until the 6 month study is completed.
The dogs are evaluated at one month, three months and then again at six months and placebo or not they will all receive the stem cell injection.
"That's another important point, Kim says, that is, that the dogs in the placebo group will receive the stem cells at the end."
Kim says there is no cost to pet owners "with the caveat that they return to follow-up in a diligent manor."
Ali Fritz, a student at the university's veterinary medicine college submitted her 9 year old dog Bella for the study.
The Springer-Spaniel has been favoring her right leg during the 6 month study and Fritz was hoping her dog was given the placebo.
She was right.
"Yeah, she was given the placebo which really makes me happ" Fritz says, "because she wasn't progressing like I wanted her to."
Dr. Anna Dunlop stresses that pet owners shouldn't expect the "holy grail" because there is no cure.
"We're not saying we're going to cure arthritis and heal everything within the joint, the hope is that have a better quality of life."
Animal Cell Therapies, Inc. is providing the stem cells for the blind study.
The west coast based group specializes in what it calls "pure and potent high quality stem cell treatments for orthopedic and chronic diseases in dogs."
The study is expected to continue through July of 2015.
If you are interested in submitting your pet to be considered for the study just call: 352-392-2235 or go to this website to see if your pet meets the study's criteria.
For more information about the stem cell process go to: http://actcells.com
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