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Stem Cell Therapy Used To Treat 9/11 Search And Rescue Dog

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Mary Bubala joined WJZ in December 2003. She now anchors the 4-4:30...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—One of the last search and rescue dogs from 9/11 lives here in Maryland. She was suffering from a painful condition until her owner took action with breakthrough technology.

Mary Bubala has the story.

Red is a search and rescue dog from Annapolis, but has traveled across the country. Her missions include Hurricane Katrina, the La Plata tornadoes and the Pentagon after 9/11.

“They credit them with finding 70 percent of the human remains so that helped a whole lot of those families actually get closure,” said Heather Roche, Red’s owner.

Sept. 11 was Red’s first search. Today she’s one of the last 9/11 search and rescue dogs still alive.

She retired last summer due to severe arthritis.

“It would be nice if her arthritis, if she felt better, that she could do those kinds of things that she misses,” Red’s owner said while fighting back tears. “Alright I am going to cry.”

Roche did some research and found an animal hospital in northern Virginia that uses breakthrough stem cell therapy to treat arthritis in dogs.

The Burke Animal Clinic is one of just a few across the country that use stem cell therapy.

The vet harvests 1 to 2 ounces of the dog’s fatty tissue, activates the stem cells and then injects them back into the troubled areas.

“We’ve done about 28 dogs and of those dogs we’ve had about 75-80 percent of them doing very well,” said Dr. John Herrity.

The vet’s own dog has had the stem cell treatment and is doing well.

“Hopefully in about 2-3 months, she will be more comfortable, moving around, wanting to play more,” said Herrity.

The procedure takes about four hours. It’s not painful for the dog, and it costs around $1,800.

The technology was developed by a company called Medivet America. For more information, click here.

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