Zoo Kangaroo to Undergo Cutting-Edge Medical Procedure
Vickee Spicer - Wed 08:52 AM 01/30/2013
“Emerald”, a six-year-old red kangaroo, will be undergoing a cutting-edge new procedure in efforts to restore more function to her hock (hind leg).
A six-year-old kangaroo at Rolling Hills Zoo will undergo a cutting-edge new medical procedure in an effort to enhance her quality of life.
According to the zoo, "Emerald”, a six-year-old red kangaroo at Rolling Hills Zoo, will be undergoing a cutting-edge new procedure in efforts to restore more function to her hock (hind leg).
Rolling Hills Zoo veterinarian, Dr. Danelle Okeson, and Dr. Larry Snyder, a veterinarian from the University Bird and Small Animal Clinic in Topeka, will harvest adult stem cells from Emerald’s own adipose (fat) tissue. They will then process the fat to remove the stem cells, and then implant it into the injured joint.
Adult stem cells are found in the bone marrow, adipose tissue (fat), skin, liver, blood vessels, and neurons. Contrary to embryonic stem cells, there are no moral or ethical concerns in harvesting these cells, activating them, and reintroducing them back to the patient in areas where healing and regeneration is needed.
Stem cell therapy is more commonly used for joint injuries, ligament and tendon damage, and fractured bones, in dogs, cats, and horses. This is the first time adipose stem cell therapy will be used at Rolling Hills Zoo (or anywhere) on a macropod, the family of animals that includes kangaroos, wallabies, tree-kangaroos, and several others native to Australia, New Guinea, and nearby islands.
“I have great confidence in this treatment, making Emeralds' quality of life much better”, says Dr. Snyder. “While this won’t return her hock back to "normal", we believe this will make her more comfortable and make the joint more functional, which is a good thing.” Also assisting in the procedure is Dr. Preston Hickman, a Wichita veterinarian with extensive experience in equine podiatry and sports medicine issues, who has used stem cell therapy on horses with excellent results.
Also in attendance for the procedure will be Dr. Jim Carpenter, from the Zoo and Exotic Animal Medicine Service of Kansas State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, who was integral in introducing Rolling Hills Zoo to Dr. Snyder’s work in adipose stem cell therapy.