The purpose of taking Tabs and Ginger to the vet’s today is to determine if both of them are suitable to undergo the stem cell therapy as treatment for their kidney disease.
Tabs has Stage 2 CKD and PKD. Ginger is considered to be in Stage 1 (not requiring subcut or supplements yet).
Ginger is overweight and definitely need to lose some weight. His joints are already making a cracking sound when moved. That’s arthritis. So recommended to start him on Hyaflex.
An ultrasound was done to check on Ginger’s kidneys and other organs. The kidney cyst is still very small and “not a concern”, according to the vet. What a relief. No other cysts or abnormalities detected elsewhere.
I asked if Ginger is suitable for the stem cell therapy as he is FIV+. Our vet immediately checked with the stem cell vet and he said yes, Ginger can have it if he qualifies (no cancer in his body). In fact, it might help with gum inflammation too.
So, we proceeded with the X-Rays to check for cancer. All the X-Rays were clear. Yay! No cancer detected.
This means Ginger is a suitable candidate for the stem cell therapy as early intervention for kidney disease!!
Tabs was taken in straight away for the X-Ray since the ultrasound was already done two days ago where we detected all the cysts in her kidneys and a big one in her liver.
The X-Rays concurred with the ultrasound as the liver cyst was visible.
But the images of the cysts in the kidney and the big one in the liver were all “black” in the images. “Black” means it is fluids. If it is cancer, it should be “white” (ie. a mass). There were no presence of any mass (cancer) anywhere else in the X-Rays too.
This means Tabs is also a suitable candidate for the stem cell therapy!!
But just to be sure that the huge liver cyst is not cancerous, we agreed to do a fine needle aspiration of the liver cyst to test the fluids. And since we were doing it, the vet says she will suck out as much as possible of the fluids from that cyst (we know it will just fill up again). This liver cyst is pressing on the stomach, so by shrinking it, Tabs’ appetite might improve. In any case, she will feel better too.
To digress, I know all about sucking out fluids from a cyst. Years ago, I had a thyroid cyst for an entire year and it was visible in my neck, as big as an egg. It was also painful, made my voice hoarse and it hurt when I swallowed food. The surgeon would suck out the thick honey-like fluids but it would only fill up again within hours. I suffered for a year until the surgeon said I should have it removed. I decided not to and opted for something less invasive. My nutritionist-pharmacist-friend said qigong might help. So I went to the internet, learnt the renowned 18-step qigong and started doing it religiously every day. The cyst started to shrink even on the first day (not kidding you) and after some weeks, it was all gone!!
But we cannot get Tabs to do qigong, can we?
So the vet did the fine needle aspiration and sucked out as much of the fluids from this liver cyst as she could. She could not empty it all, of course. But she did suck out a whopping 60ml of fluids. The fluids were all clear, so that was a relieve. It was just cyst fluids. She checked under the microscope and yay….there were no cancerous cells in it. None at all.
So, yes, Tabs can undergo the stem cell therapy for her Stage 2 CKD and the PKD.
Stem cell therapy is already being used in humans to treat PKD with success. There is no data for animals yet, but the theory should be the same as that for humans.
So now, the vet will submit the medical history of Ginger and Tabs to the stem cell vet and upon his evaluation, he will proceed to harvest the stem cells for Ginger and Tabs. The procedure will be done via IV and will take a few hours. Harvesting the stem cells will also take some time. Our vet mentioned that it is harvested from adipose cells.
This research and the supply started in Hong Kong, but it is processed locally now by this stem cell vet.
Our next step is to wait for the evaluation by this vet.
I think it must be this:
Fat tissue contains a particular type of cell called adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ADMSCs). These ADMSCs can differentiate into specialized cells, including those found in the kidneys, making them ideal candidates for treating kidney disease in cats.
Not all stem cell therapies use the same type of stem cells. The one used for kidney disease in pets is derived from fat tissue.
I also asked our vet if Indy might be suitable for the stem cell therapy since he is still so active and alert.
The stem cell therapy is supposed to build back the kidney cells. That is why it is more suitable for pets in Stages 1 and 2 CKD (there are still a fair amount of healthy cells and the damage isn’t extensive yet). For Stages 3 and 4, more cells have already been destroyed, so the benefits from the stem cell therapy would not be so pronounced. But our vet agreed that Indy seems like a good candidate as he is still so active, alert and has not shown any symptoms of CKD except for the high kidney readings and his shrunken kidneys. She says we might not see much improvement but it may be able to give Indy better wellbeing as the disease advances. She said she would ask the stem cell vet.
The reply from the stem cell vet is YES, Indy can be a candidate for the therapy provided he has no cancer.
Yay!! This was totally unexpected!!
So on Thursday, I will take Indy in for an ultrasound and X-Ray and we shall see if Indy qualifies.
The above sure made my day!! It has given me hope for Indy, Tabs and Ginger.
For Indy, it is to help him as the CKD advances. For Tabs, it’s hopefully, to slow down the progression of her Stage 2 and the PKD (kidney and liver cysts). For Ginger, it’s also to slow down the progression of his Stage 1 CKD.
Ginger came back to a hero’s welcome by Minnie and the Monsters!
Tabs, ever as sweet and affectionate!
I later chatted with another vet whom I’ve known to have administered the stem cell therapy for CKD dogs and cats and asked for his opinion and also the rate of success. His protocol is slightly different as he uses the therapy only for those in Stage 3 and 4, so the success rate hasn’t been impressive. He said it is more effective for joint problems. He also said that for the pets under him, he did not see a reduction in the kidney readings, and all pets still had to continue with the subcut fluids and supplements. But it does help with the energy level and other physical symptoms. We must remember that his protocol is to administer it to those in Stages 3 and 4 (late stage).
My concern was if there were any negative side effects. It said the worst side effect is “no effect”! Okay, that’s a relief!!
Whether it works or not, we will not know until we try, but we are doing this with both eyes open, under the advice from a vet whom I trust, so yes, we are doing this.
My intention is purely to give Tabs, Indy and Ginger better wellbeing. I know nothing can stop kidney degeneration and nothing can reverse it, but stem cell therapy, if it works, can slow it down.
Looking forward to brighter lights at the end of the tunnel!