Cutting Edge Cooper: Stems Cells Chosen for Young Dog With Joint Problems
Former D135 teacher opts for cutting edge treatment at Midwest Animal Hospital for her ailing canine companion.
Jan Schaefer has been told not to buy pets from a pet store.
But there was something about Cooper's face and demeanor that she couldn't resist. So she took the pup, a golden retriever, home.
“From the moment I saw him, he was just such a sweetheart and he’s been like that since,” Schaefer said. “He always lays his head in my lap and just overall has a positive attitude.”
But Cooper’s physical health wasn’t as great as his disposition. Troubles with hip dysplasia and other joint issues led Schaefer to pursue a recent addition to Midwest Animal Hospital’s repertoire — stem cell therapy. Cooper became the first animal treated at the Orland Park facility, where stem cells were taken from his own fat and injected back into his trouble areas.
“All the sudden I heard he’d be the first one to get the stem cells,” Schaefer said. “At 11 months old, he wouldn’t have lasted too long already with dysplasia and other problems in his legs.”
Schaefer, a retired Centennial School teacher and Lemont resident, was at an animal shelter across the street from a pet store, looking for a new dog. Her old black lab had been put down, and she was looking for a new companion for her feisty dachshund and pair of cats. Not finding what she was hoping for at the shelter, she went to the pet store to run an errand when she saw Cooper.
Cooper was 6 months old when Schaefer took him in, and already people were saying his back legs swayed when he walked. The swaying soon developed into a full limp, which led to his first examination at Midwest Animal Hospital. A bone fragment was found in his hip, along with other issues, Schaefer said.
“Surgery was going to be $3,000, the stem cell treatment was $1,500 and water therapy is $400,” Schaefer said. “Ultimately they recommended going in the middle with the stem cells.”
That the cells came from Cooper’s own fat and not an embryo defrayed any controversial thoughts that came to Schaefer’s mind. But more importantly, she heard a lot of positive feedback about the procedure.
“They said it was especially good to do it while he’s young and still growing,” Schaefer said. “I was also told to be careful with him, that he’s going to be sore and tender. You wouldn’t even know anything happened. He was walking around 5 minutes afterward. Maybe we should call him Cutting Edge Cooper.”