Indy, Ginger and Tabs’ stem cell therapy at the vet’s

Today was Indy, Ginger and Tabs’ stem cell therapy at the clinic. It was supposed to be last Friday, but it got postponed to today.

For new readers, Indy was suddenly diagnosed with Stage 3-4 CKD in September last year. He showed no symptoms except for being fussy over food which I thought was just being fussy and not inappetence. Tabs was diagnosed with PKD (polycystic kidney disease) in December last year during a routine annual check-up. Because of the PKD (multiple fluid-filled cysts in her kidneys as well as liver too), it caused her to be at Stage 2 CKD. Ginger is at Stage 1 CKD with kidney readings still within the normal range but has crept up over the years.

Ideally, only Tabs and Ginger qualify for the stem cell therapy because they are at the so-called earlier stage of the disease. But I asked for Indy too and our vet agreed because Indy is still clinically so well, even though his kidney readings are off the charts.

The purpose of this particular stem cell therapy is to reduce inflammation, preserve the existing cells and hopefully, grow new ones. That is why it is more suitable for Stage 1 and 2 as there would be more healthy cells to preserve. The stem cells are given intravenously (through the IV-drip) over 30-40 minutes. Before this, the cats are already put on drip for about half an hour, then it continues with the stem cells. The procedure is done by the vet.

The possible after-effect of the treatment is that the pet might be very tired over the next few days. Other than that, there are no other side effects. There is no guarantee that the treatment will definitely work, but the clinic has seen good results in cats and dogs who are at an early stage of CKD.

So when we arrived today, the harvested stem cells had just arrived from the lab, 15 minutes prior to our arrival. Tabs was the first to go. The vet inserted the IV-port with no problems at all. Indy was next, but mid-way through, the vet called me in because Indy wasn’t cooperating. After I went in to help, Indy calmed down. Still, the first insertion failed because he retracted his paw resulting in the IV-port slipping out, so another paw had to be used. Ginger was the last and he was really “easy”.

Then all three cats were taken upstairs for the stem cell therapy.  I waited at the clinic until the procedures were completed. As the vet could only do them one by one, the whole process took more than three hours.

Now, they are all back home and I have not noticed any difference in them yet. All three ate well for dinner.

The only visible signs would be the shaven paw for the IV-port. Let’s see if they are really tired for the next few days. But it’s also hard to tell because at their age, they ordinarily sleep a lot!

I hope the stem cells get to work and preserve Indy, Ginger and Tabs’ kidney cells. One therapy is expected to last for about nine months after which another session would have to be done. We won’t be doing any blood tests until 2-3 months’ time.

Time will tell.


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