Stem cell therapy gives dog a new leash on life

Here’s a happy stem cell story for the dog days of summer: A veterinarian in Pennsylvania used an experimental stem cell therapy to help a dog regrow severely burned foot pats. The dog, named Bernie, had been left on a scorching rooftop for 10 hours.

According to the Reading Eagle:

When the dog was brought to the shelter, an examination found he also had burn marks on his spine and his nipples. Officials believe the dog received those burns by lying down on the hot roof, trying to take weight off his painful paws.

“I don’t think I’ve seen anything that bad in 25 years,” said Dr. Boyd Wagner, veterinarian and owner of the Wyomissing Animal Hospital. “They were severe, third-degree burns.”

Wagner worked with California-based Celevet, which is developing stem cell therapies for horses and dogs. There’s not much information available about the type of cells Wagner used — “stem cells” is a pretty loose term — or how they were used to repair the foot pads. According to the story it’s also not yet clear whether the therapy worked.

Still, as a dog owner it’s nice to read about stem cells — whatever kind they used — helping give Bernie a chance at a better life.