Stem cell therapy helping once-paralyzed dogs walk again

LEAGUE CITY, Texas (FOX 26) — It was his own illness that got Dr. Steven Dale Garner hooked on stem cell therapy.

"I went into a coma for seven weeks," said Dr. Garner. "When I woke up from the coma, I myself was paralyzed."

The veterinarian knew stem cell therapy was being used to treat arthritis in dogs, but could it help the nervous system?

Garner tried stem cell therapy in 2016 on a paralyzed dog that was on the verge of being euthanized. He said that today that dog is running around like any normal dog after having stem cells injected in his spinal cord.

"Stem cells are cells that are everywhere in your body," added Garner. "They're in suspended animation. They're not moving, they're hibernating."

With his own in-house stem cell laboratory at Safari Veterinary Care Centers in League City, Garner can count live cells, keep them in a clean environment and inject them into joints, discs, spines and other areas using real-time radiography.

"These dogs that have spinal cord disease, they need it today, they can't wait three weeks while we grow cells," said Garner . "They need it today."

One in four dachshunds will get a genetic disc disease which is incurable and can cause paralysis, but stem cell therapy is changing that.