Tag Archives: stem cell therapy in pets

A penny for Penny!

On the eve of Klaus’ freedom walk I am reminded of the journey it took to get here. A very long, stressful, and EXPENSIVE journey. It’s a journey that sadly a lot of pet owners must travel. I want to bring to your attention the journey of a boxer named Penny. I stumbled upon her story via instagram and couldn’t help but feel like such a mother hen to her and her parents- I just wanted to take them under my wing and say it will be alright. Penny just struck a chord with me……


From her owners:

2012 was a rough year. We’ve paid over 4000+ in vet bills just in these last two years. My first pup, a 2 year old boxer, had a catastrophic heart attack at only 2 years old. His heart couldn’t go on regardless of how much we tried saving him. He passed away in my arms as I was running into the emergency room. Roughly, about 8 months later, my female boxer was really sad and depressed all the time and had slowed down. We then learned that she had been diagnosed with early stages of hip dysplasia, quickly we looked for the best possible way to aid her pain and get her back to 100%. We had a procedure done, that cost us 2500 dollars, called Stem Cell Regenerative Therapy. She showed great improvements and her pain was gone, the stem cells had done their job. She was getting ready to start her rehabilitation therapy to get her muscle growing back again and get her back in shape, and that was going to cost us another 1200 dollars. Out of nowhere she started limping in her right hind leg. Just this last week we found out that she had torn both cruciate ligaments in both knees (ACL Tear). Now she needs surgeries in her in both of her knees that are going to cost 3800 dollars total plus rehabilitation. Recently, my job has slowed down a lot. I hardly get by with rent and still paying off these vet bills that just have been racking up and now we need to have these procedures done and we are completely drained credit and savings both I’m not asking for much and I never ask for any help, but I’m in desperate need for my dog’s wellbeing. All I want is for them to live a normal and happy life. If anyone can donate anything at all, anything is appreciated; I would greatly appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. My dogs are like my kids I will die for them


Heartbreaking right? Not only is the passing of their other pup still fresh in their minds, but they are struggling with trying to get Penny back to being a dog again. There are a bunch of ways you can help out:

Their CHIPIN site: http://savepennyboxer.chipin.com/help-penny-the-boxer

PayPayl donations to: savepennyboxer@gmail.com

Their friend has generously set up a sale through her ETSY store: “Use code: SAVEPENNY to take 20% off your entire order and half the proceeds go towards a great cause! Penny is a 2-year-old boxer who has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia and two torn ACL’s. She is in a lot of pain and desperately needs surgery! To donate directly, send anything you can to savepennyboxer@gmail.com through paypal! Thank you!”

I’ve already placed an order for a custom embroidery and will gladly donate as much as I can. Seriously folks, even a small donation helps. I speak from experience. It is beyond humbling to have to ask for help. It’s even more humbling when people come forth with their generosity. Please help them out in any way you can- this includes spreading the word of Penny!

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Filed under Animals, dogs, fundraising, Pets

Diagnosis: hip dysplasia. Now what?

I promise even though I haven’t had a chance to sit down and write, I have felt the inspiration and have been roughing a few out in my head.

First off I am such a bad puppy parent to not fully celebrate Klaus’ second birthday which was Jan 3. But let’s be honest, the little shit got a great gift this year- a new hip and a new lease on life. So that’s that. Here are some baby Klaus pics that are still some of my favorite!





It got me thinking about the lengths some owners will go through in hopes of prolonging or bettering their pets lives. That’s not to discredit those who aren’t able to- whether financially or emotionally. But lets face it, whether or not good ol Uncle Sam recognizes them as true tax write offable offspring, they are our children and just as time consuming and money draining as “real” kids are.

So when an owner squares off with the diagnosis “your dog has hd” (or any other terrible condition), its devastating to say the least and is just as difficult to deal with if you were hearing the same thing about any of your loved ones.

In response to an awful lot of sad news I’ve seen via Klaus’ instagram followers- I want to really focus on our diagnosis, journey and experience in hopes of shedding some light, and well, hope really.

Our end result is so very close. We are two weeks shy of Klaus having total freedom again. January 20 is our “all systems go” day.

It has been tough, and not one Im looking forward to doing again. His left hip’s arthritis has progressed noticabley since his last radiographs. It is my hope that he will continue to use his bionic hip more and therefore lessen the stress on the left. But I suppose we will get there when (and if) we get there.

Afterall, our decision to do a total hip replacement was in fact a salvage surgery for the left in repairing of the right. It was one of the main reasons why we went with the “cadillac” of hip surgeries.

1.In the beginning………. In the beginning we had our concerns. Concerns we swayed with online diagnosis underlined with naivete and hope. Large breed dogs are known to go through rather painful growth spurts and subsequently growing pains aka panosteitis and we had ourselves convinced that the lameness and bunny hopping and super sleepy days were the result of pano. Around this time we were doing agility and everyone I spoke with, the trainers and other dog owners who experienced the same, all said “he’ll be ok. he’ll grow out of it. you’ll see”. Except what we saw was a detirioration in his gait- lots of swishing and swaying and total reluctance to sit. His stance was anything but square, rather crooked and he’d push his bad hip out when he sat. He’d slip and yelp out in pain and lay there for a moment.

2. Diagnosis………. I don’t understand gut feelings but I think it’s important to really listen to your intuition, you know “better safe than sorry”. Despite all the reassurrances we knew something wasn’t right. We couldn’t wait and see any longer. We had to know. Our vet took raidiographs and our suspicions were confirmed but could not be 100% verified until we met with the orthopedic surgeon.

3. Hindsight and the blame game………. Hindsight is great to have after the fact (and is only available after the fact). Had we tried to not convince ourselves otherwise, we might have been able to get him into an earlier procedure, a Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (TPO). But it’s important not to dawdle or dwell but rather trudge forward with the task at hand. When we got the diagnosis, and after I completely broke down into a fit of swearing and tears I began to play the blame game. Why did we wait to get him diagnosed? Did we switch his food up too fast and therefore encouraged growth too fast? Did we let him play and run too much as a pup? Did we not look hard enough into his lines? In the end shit sometimes happens. I won’t say I didn’t continue to struggle with blame and guilt along the way, because I did. But I know our decision to not turn our back on our family member was a justifiable one- and one I still continue to have to justify to this day. * You won’t believe the nastiness I still combat with because Klaus is from a breeder!

4. Research………. Anytime someone is faced with a super hard surgical decision, it seems obvious that knowledge is power. In our case it was utterly and exhaustingly overwhelming- though very much necessary. I took this project head on and on a daily basis. It felt like a part time job. I began looking into any and all options, including some not so conventional ones. I sent away for brochures and literature. I signed up for message boards. I desperately sought out any and all tidbits of information that would help me make this decision. And ultimately only you can make this decision- something many times I wished someone else would for me. I asked the vets if Klaus was their dog what they would do- with mixed opinions.

5. Second opinions………. Get at least one other opinion. Though our second opinion was spot on with the first, we discovered a much better fit financially with Cornell, a teaching school and subsequently a much better fit bed-side manner wise. Our first surgeon quoted us at $7-9k and was rather gruff about everything. Cornell quoted us $4-6k with our final cost around $5k. I recommend really seeking out a teaching college. But regardless of where you go you must feel comfortable.

6. Brainstorm………. I don’t know about you but my husband and I live paycheck to paycheck. He owns his own business and I was faced with having to make a tough transition of full time employment with benefits to self employment and freelance- a transition that even on the best day is fleeting and not consistent in pay! Being a crafty person by nature and a designer at heart I set to work creating items I would sell in hopes of raising the funds. At the pressing of friends and family and even perfect strangers, we were encouraged to create a donation page. Consider creating a blog- not only as a way for people to get to know you and your pet, but I know in the end it was integral to my sanity.  Have a garage sale- or two- or three. I did a lot of research on grants for vet bills. It is a permanent page on my blog that can be found here: aid for vet bills. Although sadly a lot of these organizations are tapped out financially it doesn’t hurt to try and apply. You won’t know if you qualify until you do.

7. CareCredit………. If you haven’t already at this time applied for CareCredit, you should definitely do so. Most places won’t even consider your application or plea for help until you do so. It can be used for many other health care related issues, not just for pets but for humans as well! Makes me think I should probably consider a trip to the dentist with it 🙂

8. In the meantime………. In preparation for Klaus’ surgery we were tasked with the almost impossible need to keep him restrained to prevent his hip from popping out. How can someone restrict a puppy?! Remember Klaus was diagnosed around 8 months old. It broke our heart to prevent him from being a puppy but we had to. He was leashed at all times. Puppy play dates were essentially canceled- at least the free roaming ones. We began physical therapy, increased his supplements, massage and stretching. Depending on your diagnosis, you may be lucky enough to find that putting them on supplements and adding a swimming regiment is just enough. We kept Klaus trim and lean and switched out his treats for ones with added MSM and Glucosamine.We prepared our home for Klaus’ 8 weeks of confinement. We moved our bed downstairs. We created a penned area for him with extra padding. Consolidated his beds into one fluffy pile.

9. Be flexible………. Despite all the preparation we did it was important for us to be able to adapt and be flexible. Things we originally thought would help us- a larger penned area, one in the living room and one in the office- did not work a week after his surgery. He was anxious all the time and attempted to get out. The crate, though it broke our heart, was our best friend. What also worked better than I thought was leaving him crated in the living room while I did work in the office- out of sight.

10. Set aside alone time……….Whether that means straight up “me” time or making it a point for you and your significant other to get out of the house and not think about your troubles at home. There were plenty of times I just needed to go driving. My husband would come home and find me sitting on the kitchen floor, hands over my ears to drown out the barking, streams of tears running down my face. Though we didn’t have a lot of extra cash, my husband and I attempted date nights still. It was important and necessary as a way to destress. I imagine it works the same in any sort of stressful scenario- sometimes normalcy, even if it’s just pretending, is just what you need to feel grounded again. I know it helped to snap me out of the shit storm.

In the end would we do it again? YES! Given our particular scenario we would. And every owner and their pet is different. Klaus has what we hope is a long life ahead of him. We weighed the risks and outcomes of the surgeries and took a gamble financially that seemingly has paid off in the end. We have a dog who is ready and waiting for the go ahead to run and play again. *Though ask us this question again should we be faced with a THR on the left (I am leaning towards an FHO should the need arise).

The only advice I can give other pet owners is arm yourself with as much information as possible and really talk it out. Make a list of pros and cons. If you pray, pray. This decision as difficult as it is, is yours alone to make. All you can do is keep the love for your pet in mind, and everything else should fall into place. I hope other pet owners find solace in that.

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Financial help and grants for vet bills

I wanted to re-post a post I made back in January for all the new readers of the blog. This is a pretty intense list of websites with financial help and advice for people who are in a similar situation as my own. I want other pet owners out there to have this knowledge and help! We did apply to everyone we qualified for but sadly there was no money left. But to all pet parents out there- just exhaust all available options and don’t give up. It can be a pretty tough pill to swallow if you’re like me and have a very tight monthly budget. But our pets are our children, and like any good parent, we would do ANYTHING for our fur babies.

The Mosby Foundation – www.themosbyfoundation.org 540-939-4035
IMOM – www.imom.org
United Animal Nations – www.uan.org
Pet Samaritan Fund – www.petsamaritan.org
The Pie Fund – www.piefund.org
Rose’s Fund for Animals – www.rosesfund.org
AAHA Helping Pets Fund – www.aahahelpingpets.org
Angels 4 Animals – www.angels4animals.org
Cats in Crisis – www.catsincrisis.org
Feline Veterinary Emergency Assistance Program (FVEAP) – www.fveap.org
Help-A-Pet – www.help-a-pet.org
Labrador Life Line – www.labradorlifeline.org
The Brown Dog Foundation – www.browndogfoundation.org
Diabetic Pets Fund – www.petdianetes.net
Feline Outreach – www.felineoutreach.org
The Pet Fund – www.thepetfund.org
Assistance for cancer/radiation therapy cases:
The Magic Bullet Fund – www.themagicbulletfund.org
Zach Memorial Fund – www.ashleyfund.org
The Perseus Foundation – www.Perseusfoundation.org
Canine Cancer Awareness – www.caninecanerawareness.org
Cody’s Club – www.codysclub.bravehost.com
Land of Pure Gold – www.landofpuregold.com

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X-rays part one

So in preparation of our appointment on Monday I have been gathering all Klaus’ pertinent medical records. I was given a copy of his x-rays and decided to grab them to upload to the blog so everyone can see. This is an x-ray of his shallow hip sockets. The right is worse than the left. Thankfully his bones aren’t terribly deformed, the socket is just too shallow.

This next photo is one I grabbed to show what a normal hip should look like……The socket is nicely cupping the femoral head. In Klaus’ x-rays it shows how the  femoral head rests on top of rather than in the socket. This is why we have to have him tethered because it is always on the verge of luxating.

Keep happy and hopeful thoughts in your mind for our appointment on Monday!


Filed under Animals, German Shepherd, Pets

Some good news!

I meant to post this yesterday but the day got away from me. Wendy from Cornell got back to me with good news that we were approved for 10% off of Klaus’ surgery costs! That equals $400-600 off depending on where we stand with the price quote after we meet with them. I have to say that makes me very happy because up until now everything came back as denied. I admit I’m still holding onto hope we can entertain the stem cell therapy route. Regardless of the cost of what of our approach, he will get the surgery he needs. I’m just really concerned about the aftermath and healing an invasive surgery like a THR represents. With the stem cell, he’s just on restricted walk and play time- which he is already.

I will have some pictures soon to post. The entries as of late have been seriously lacking in Klaus eye candy!

In other news Mr. Phil predicted 6 more weeks of winter which, I have to laugh because we have yet to have a winter! Have you looked outside?! At least in my backyard there are robins and buds sprouting. And the birds are chirping as if it’s springtime! I feel jipped- I really do. I love the winter. I only snow-shoed twice. I didn’t even get to go sledding! Buh. I know everyone else is happy but honestly, I have been daydreaming of vacationing in winter friendly spots.

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Vet-Stem and Cornell

So a representative from Vet-Stem got back to me with a few places that do stem cell therapy nearby. One in Canastota at the Village Veterinary Hospital of New York and dun duuun dun duuuuuun……….CORNELL!

So we will inquire if Klaus’ hip is a good candidate for this procedure. It is so much more affordable. They suck a few tbsps of fat from the belly and send the sample out to be harvested. The fat is digested in order to harvest the stem cells. The stem cells are then injected directly into the area and voila! It seems to be a great procedure for arthritis but I have to admit I’m not sure how well it works for HD cases where the hip socket is too shallow?

I think I might be getting ahead of myself but we will find out more when we have our visit.

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Klaus has da hip pain

Below is a picture of Klaus with one of my herbal rice bags that I use when I have wicked bad cramps and other aches and pains. He doesn’t let me use them on him anymore but in the past when he was having a particularly painful day he would let me place this on him while he dozed off.

I’ve started some more in depth research to stem cell therapy for HD. I don’t know how extreme of cases the stem cell can work with so I’ll ask Cornell and go from there. The procedure is not that expensive compared to a THR and it’s not that invasive either. We just have to track down a doctor that is certified to do it.

Honestly, I am not looking forward to the aftermath of the THR surgery. It’s impossible to keep Klaus under wraps now, and I know I’m sure he’ll be uncomfortable so he might not be so apt to be a crazy dog. But still I have concerns.

For more information about stem cell therapy in pets:



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