East Lincoln Animal Hospital

7555 Highway 73 East
Denver, NC 28037



Adult Stem Cell Therapy (Regenerative Cell Therapy) is now available at ELAH.
Stem cell regenerative therapy, a common treatment in equine medicine for tendons, ligaments and osteoarthritis, is now available for small animals. Stem cell therapy is being used in dogs to treat arthritis of the hip, elbow, and knee as well as tendon and ligament injuries. Favorable outcomes have been seen with its use in the treatment of immune mediated rheumatoid arthritis as well. 

Stem cell therapy has been commercially available since 2003. Since 2005, selected clinics have treated dogs with osteoarthritis and orthopedic soft tissue injuries. Initial studies demonstrate that intra-articular administration of the stem cells significantly decreases pain and improves comfort in the majority of cases. A single injection may improve the dog's comfort for several months to over a year. 

Vet-Stem (
vet-stem.com) is a regenerative stem cell company that isolates autologous stem cells from a dog's own fat sample. The cells are returned, via FedEx overnight, and are injected into the dog's affected joint.

Effective therapies for arthritis have been slow in developing, and many dogs continue to suffer with chronic pain associated with arthritis, even with multimodal treatment protocols. Regenerative cell therapy is an exciting new treatment option.

Vet-Stem Regenerative Cells (VSRCs): 

VSRCs are derived from the animal's own fat (which means it is very safe since the cells come from and are returned back to the same animal (autologous), there is almost no risk of rejection or reaction).

Cells are available for treatment within 48 hours

Have anti-inflammatory effects/action

Contain high yield of mesenchymal stem cells

Contain many other regenerative cells that produce cytokines and growth factors (growth factors to speed and direct the healing process).

Are able to differentiate into multiple cell types (change into the specific cell type needed to repair damaged or diseased tissue).

What is the process, how is it done?

1. Each potential candidate for Vet Stem Cell Therapy is carefully screened. Previous history, x -rays, treatment, and response to treatment are examined and discussed. If Stem Cell Treatment is elected, a blood profile and urinalysis is performed to check for any underlying diseases that might complicate treatment since general anesthesia will be required. Dogs on steroid treatments need to be off steroids before collection and treatment and for at least 45 days after treatment.

2. The fat sample is collected from the inguinal region (bottom portion of the belly, close to the inner thighs) or the shoulder area under general anesthesia. (for example, on a Monday)

3. The fat sample is sent via FedEx overnight to Vet Stem Company and the autologous stem cells are isolated and returned to the clinic (again via FedEx Overnight) in an injectable form. This usually takes 48 hours. (for example, cells returned by Wednesday)

4. The Stem Cells are injected into the affected joint (s) the same day they are received at the clinic. This is done under general anesthesia. (For example, done on Wednesday). 

How do you know if your dog is a good candidate for Stem Cell Therapy?

1. Arthritis has been accurately diagnosed with x-rays and physical exam findings.
2. Multiple treatments have been tired and have either failed or the response to the treatment is poor.
3. Your dog cannot tolerate (has an adverse reaction such as diarrhea/vomiting/anemia) non steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (the mainstay of treating arthritis).
4. Your dog is not a good candidate for orthopedic surgery

What is the cost of Stem Cell Therapy?


Please call the office for a detailed estimate.  The average cost of the Vet Stem Cell Regenerative Treatment runs from $2300 to $2800.  Payment is expected in full at the time of treatment. 

CareCredit is a payment option if you qualify (apply online at


 Available since 2003, Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Therapy are still in the early stages of development but offer an exciting alternative treatment for arthritis.  Clinical trials are also being performed in human medicine using Stem cells for the treatment or arthritis, heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, fractures, and strokes.  Clinical trials, studies, and client/veterinarian testimonies have supported the effectiveness of Stem Cell treatment in small animal medicine and many of the trials are still ongoing. So far, no adverse effects of Stem Cell treatment have been reported in dogs.