Stanley, Kan. -- It's a special Valentine's Day gift for Jake the dog. His family gave him a stem cell treatment that they hope will extend his life.
Jake is an 11-year-old yellow lab. He's been part of the LeBlanc family since he was a puppy. Jake's owner, Elizabeth LeBlanc, calls him her "first baby." But then Mia and Aidan were born and at ages eight and five years old, they love to play with Jake.
When the LeBlanc's noticed Jake was having trouble getting around they wanted to help. They tried medication, but say it didn't work for very long. Then Mia saw a segment about a stem cell treatment for dogs on t.v. and asked if they could get it for Jake. The LeBlanc's called their veterinarian and found out the Stanley Veterinary Clinic in Stanley, Kansas is the only place in the metro where they can do the entire procedure in house.
Dr. Les Pelfrey, D.V.M. explained the procedure.
"We're going to collect about 20 grams of fat surgically and then we're going to process it in our lab here in house then we're going to reintroduce those stem cells after we activate them back into the affected joints," said Dr. Les Pelfrey.
The procedure can cost $3000. The dog's fatty tissue has to be sent off to a lab for the stem cells to be extracted. But at the Stanley Veterinary Clinic they can process the stem cells in their own lab, cutting the cost to $1800.00.
Jake's arthritis is affecting his hips, knees, one elbow and one shoulder. Dr. Pelfrey made an incision and removed the fatty tissue from Jake. Then veterinary technician Stephanie Pierce took it to the lab to break it down, cook it and then spin it. The final product? Stem cells that were then re-injected into Jake's joints to help him grow cartilage. Pierce says Jake will "act like a puppy again as far as moving around."
The LeBlancs can't wait to see the results.
"For 12 years he's given us love and joy so we just want to give him a better quality of life," LeBlanc said.
Jake will spend the night at the Stanley Veterinary Clinic. He should be able to head home tomorrow. Jake and the LeBlancs should notice results in the next few weeks.