Local veterinarian using stem cells to treat cats and dogs

BREMERTON, Wash. -- Proponents of stem cell therapy say the procedure is offering new options for sick cats and dogs.

At 10-years old, Hunter the dog was having some problems with his shoulders and hip.

Arthritis was making it painful for the dog to run and jump, so his owner, Steve Kendall, brought him to a Bremerton vet for a new type of treatment.

Bremerton's Compassionate Critter vet office is one of the first in the area to offer stem cell therapy for pets.

Veterinarian Chuck Crawford treated Hunter about two weeks ago. Crawford removed fat from the dog's stomach, extracted the stem cells and injected them back into Hunter's aging joints to help reduce inflammation and pain.

Kendall said the treatment was successful and has breathed new life into Hunter.

"It was just more of the personality that he had five years ago, or even back when he was a puppy," he said. "Even jumping in the truck. He was a little hesitant before. Now, there's no hesitation."

The stem cell treatment usually costs between $1,200 and $1,800. It's primarily used on dogs and cats, but can be used on other animals as well.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has said it supports the ethical study of stem cell research for both animals and humans.