Animal General of East Norwich

Dr. Ellen Leonhardt performs cutting-edge stem cell procedure on ailing Rottweiler

By Animal General of East Norwich
Published: September 04, 2011

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Due to new advances in regenerative medicine, on September 29, 2010, Dr. Ellen Leonhardt performed stem cell therapy on Luger, a 4-year-old Rottweiler suffering from severe congenital hip dysplasia. Luger's owner, Roseanne Mamo, was thrilled by the dramatic improvement in her dog. In the past, he would cry in pain when he tried to stand up.

Thanks to this newly-available medical technology, stem cell therapy now offers new hope for pets such as Luger with conditions such as hip dysplasia or arthritis by promoting the growth of new cartilage in joints where it had been worn off. Previously, traditional medical treatment options included the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and nutritional supplements.

Stem cell therapy is typically performed in two out-patient procedures, involving three steps: (1) fat is surgically collected from a patient under general anesthesia. An incision is made through the skin and fat is placed in a sterile collection container. The incision is sutured closed; (2) the fat sample is then sent to the processing lab where stem cells (mesenchymal) are then extracted from the collected fat and then sent back to the veterinarian; and (3) the patient's own stem cells are then injected by the veterinarian into the patient's affected joints and also into the bloodstream via a dose delivered intravenously. These stem cells then become encoded by chemical mediators in the joint and become cartilage, tendon or bone. The stem cells given intravenously migrate through the blood stream to wherever the body needs them.

Dr. Leonhardt reports that her patients who have undergone the procedure have all done exceedingly well, with most showing improvement within two weeks and continuing to make some improvement for up to two months afterward. It does take some time for the cells to grow into a significant amount of cartilage. Arthritic joints are painful because the cartilage on the surface of the joint has been worn off. When new cartilage grows, pain is relieved. If a joint has instability (such as cruciate ligament injury) or is genetically abnormal (such as hip dysplasia), new cartilage will grow but may get worn off again. When the new cartilage becomes worn and pain returns, stem cell therapy can simply be repeated.

Dogs and cats of all ages can suffer from arthritis and other conditions where stem cell therapy can be beneficial. There has also been great interest in using stem cell therapy at the time of an orthopedic injury in the hopes that these pets will develop less arthritis as they age. The future is bright for stem cell therapy, which is great for our pets. This type of treatment is a way of helping the body to heal itself. The stem cell procedure, which costs $2,000-$2,500, is sometimes covered by pet insurance.

For further information about stem cell therapy or veterinarians trained in this type of medicine, please visit and MediVet and Vet-Stem are leading the way in stem cell regenerative therapy in pets.


Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

Find a VCA Specialty Care Animal Hospital near you:


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Emergency Care

Animal General of East Norwich is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 8AM-8PM. On Tuesday our hospital is open 8AM-6PM, and on Saturday 8AM-4PM. (We are closed on Sunday.) If your pet has a medical emergency during our hospital’s hours, please telephone us immediately at 516-624-7500. Our experienced team of veterinarians, technicians and assistants are here to help you and your pet.

Our address is:

Animal General of East Norwich
6320 Route 25A
East Norwich, NY 11732

Please click here for directions to our location.

If your pet is experiencing a medical crisis when our hospital is closed, you may take your pet to either of following veterinary emergency hospitals in our vicinity:


Veterinary Referral & Emergency Center of Westbury
609-5 Cantiague Rock Road
Westbury, NY 11590
Phone: 516-420-0000
Open 24/7/365