This is a very recent study out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison evaluating the effect of stem cell therapy applied to dog knees that were considered prone to cruciate ligament rupture.  Though it is a small group of patients, the results were very encouraging. It is ever difficult to break the news to a client that their dog has suffered a rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament and then proceed to inform them that their dog has a greater than 50% chance of suffering the same fate in the other knee….a “salt in the wound” consult of sorts.

In this study, 12 dogs received TPLO surgical correction for their torn cruciate.  At the time of surgery: bone marrow was harvested, stem cells were isolated and cultured.  A number of weeks after TPLO surgery, these stem cells were re-introduced into the patient’s other knee, which had been shown to have an early cruciate injury, but was not as yet ruptured.  The patients also received a larger dose of stem cells intravenously.

The results revealed that the anti-inflammatory effects of stem cell treatment were significant and may be useful in the prevention and/or treatment of patients suffering from cruciate ligament disease.  This is the first study to evaluate this theory, so more studies are needed.


Published online 2016 Aug 30. doi:  10.1371/journal.pone.0159095

PMCID: PMC5005014