[chinastemcells] Humans not the only animals confronting the ramifications of stem cells
OK how sad is it that horses have greater access to stem cell treatments in this country than we do and how irritating is it that a horse can get its stem cell transplants paid for by insurance companies but we as human beings can not.
If I am a horse in the grand ol’ USA with a joint injury I can have effective treatment with stem cells and my insurance will pay for it but if I am a human with the very same condition not only will insurance not pay for my treatment but I would have to go so far as to leave the dam country to get treatment.
This is so infuriating to me. All this patients I work with from the USA would be better off and get better medical care if they were a horse!
Good lord what is wrong with our system or perhaps I should say what is not wrong since that would yield a shorter list!
Posted December 30, 2007Humans not the only animals confronting the ramifications of stem cells, steroids
By Wesley Elford
I recently attended the very elite American Association of Equine Practitioners annual convention.
It is the continuing education event of the year for equine veterinarians. The most cutting-edge information is presented in the areas of reproduction, surgery, medicine and farriery. I was really impressed by the progress that is being made in all areas.
The use of stem cells has now become an accepted procedure in treating lameness in the horse. Equine medical insurance companies are covering the treatment of joint injuries with stem cells. Fat cells from the patient are used as the source of cells to culture and obtain stem cells. These are injected into injured or diseased joints. The stem cells are used by the joint cartilage or joint capsule as a source of cells to contribute to faster and more complete healing of the arthritis. The use of umbilical blood for the source of stem cell of the horse is also being perfected.
Whether for horses, humans or giraffes, genes carry the blueprint for all life on earth. Thanks to advancements in animal sciences, a specific gene of a specific horse can be looked at and identified as being healthy or not. A gene for certain diseases can be determined to be on the chromosome of a particular horse or not — and breedings can be arranged to avoid the propagation of that individual that would have a particular disease. Lethal white in paint horses would be an example.
Steroids are a problem in equine athletes also. The same type of steroid is available for normal medical use on our equine patients. These steroids are called anabolic or androgenic steroid, meaning they cause a build up of body tissues by affecting the metabolism to act in a positive and regenerative way.
The Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission has come out with a ban of such steroids. This racing commission has decided that they do not want horses racing with these steroids in their bodies. It takes 120 days for the steroids to come out of the horse's body. Therefore, by announcing the ban now, the horses that will be racing at the start of the spring meet in April will be all free of the drug. Horses are tested on race day in a random fashion, both with blood and urine taken. If a horse were found with steroids in its body there would be severe repercussions to owners and trainers.
Obviously, humans aren't the only animals that are performance "enhanced" with mind and body altering drugs. The beneficial use is to treat sick and debilitated animals that need to be stimulated to feel better, to eat more and to adjust what they eat to regenerate tissues and to create lots of energy. But this use should not be done to artificially make a horse stronger or more energetic. It is amazing how man can manipulate everything to his benefit.
Medicine is good and is needed to see that animals are kept healthy and strong so that they can perform up to their maximum. A horse should be asked to perform based on its own innate ability, however, not based on how man can manipulate that performance.