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COLLEYVILLE (CBSDFW.COM) – Veterinarians at Heritage Animal Hospital in Colleyville are one of the few in the country and one of the only ones in Texas using stem cell therapy to treat pain and discomfort in their animals. 
 
The concept is simple according to Certified Veterinary Technician Jessica Bullington.
 
They take the stem cells from fat deposits behind the animals liver and use those cells to make therapy injections.
 
Those injections infused with stem cells  are then used to treat ailments like degenerative joint disease in older pets.
 
Bullington said , “15  years or so ago you didn’t really have many options.”
 
The first step in the process is to harvest the stem cells. During a quick surgery similar to that of spay procedure veterinarians extract about a cup sized amount of fat from the animal. 
 
The fat carrying the stem cells is then processed into a substance that is later injected into the area of pain so that deteriorated tissue can regenerate. 
 
Bullington added, “We want to see those areas repair itself.”
 
Left over stem cells are frozen in a bank and used later if more therapy injections are necessary.
 
CBSDFW was on hand to watch the procedure on a 12 year old yellow lab named Spirit. 
 
Spirit has a left hip bone that grinds so badly the dog could barely sit or stand. 
 
Doctors say just like in Spirit’s case it normally takes about 30 days to see the result of the procedure.
 
Bullington said, “Science changes every single day so if we can get something to improve the welfare of these animals and get them to live longer that’s what we are here for.”
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