When animals show abnormal walking pattern or gait, it is often an indication of joint pain. Although treating with medication can relieve some symptoms, this method does not provide positive outcome in the long-term. At the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, a team of innovative veterinarians recently used stem cell therapy to treat a 14-year-old male giraffe, Mahali, who suffered from arthritis. According the Gazette interview above, Dr. Liza Dadone, the head veterinarian, stem cell therapies have been proven to be effective in repairing damaged tissue in humans. However, this approach has not been widely used to treat animals. After a month of stem cell therapy, Mahali shows significant improvement in his gait. Dr. Dadnone also suggests that the joint with arthritis shows much less inflammation.
Stem cell therapy has shown to generate long-term benefits in patients with tissue and joints regeneration. More research is needed to understand difference in large animals vs small animals with arthritis and how this clinical research applies to humans with osteoarthritis and joint pain.