Dozer is a 240-pound mastiff and at just six years old, his size is already taking a toll on his health.
“He’s bone on bone and it hurts him just to walk and stand,” said Dr. Tim O’Neill, D.V.M.
To help him, O’Neill will perform a cutting edge procedure, using Dozer’s own stem cells.
“We’re going to get him out of pain and get him off all pain medication and give him a better quality of life.”
Once Dozer is put under, O’Neill removes a small piece of fat from his belly.
Then the real work begins in the lab.
The dog’s fatty tissue is mixed with a special enzyme, as well as platelet rich plasma from a blood sample, and takes several turns in a centrifuge.
Within an hour or two, a tube of stem cells is ready to be injected back into Dozer.
“The stem cells figure out okay I’m in a joint, I need to help rebuild this joint and make cartilage,” he said.
According to O’Neill, it will take the stem cells at least three months to rebuild the cartilage.
However, the procedure is far less invasive and less expensive than a hip replacement.
Replacing a hip can cost anywhere from $6,000-$8,000. This procedure is a fraction of that price at around $1,000.
Just a few months ago, Doris Williams’ dog Sarge was suffering from the same symptoms as Dozer.
“He got to where you could tell he was in pain, he could barely get up.”
Sarge had the stem cell procedure in May.
“A couple days later he was up walking and he could actually get up you know, and after that it’s just been progression progression progression,” she said.
O’Neill believes the stem cell possibilities are endless.
“I see it as a an alternative, a new facet that we can use to benefit animals and I believe they’ve already started human trials.”
But he said there is a line he won’t cross.
“I don’t want to use embryonic stem cells, I’m not that type of person. I’m here to help, not hurt,” he said. “What I look at myself as being, I’m actually being a director, by redirecting the body’s cells to heal itself.”
“If I could have it done on my hip with the results he has, you’d better believe I’d be down there hopping up on doc’s table,” said Williams.
O’Neill has performed seven stem cell procedures and he says the results last years.
He sees it as a way to use science and mother nature together, to heal man’s best friend.