Caution: This story contains graphic images.
Treatment of a Corneal Sequestrum using Regenerative Medicine
Dempsey is an adorable 8 year old domestic long hair cat who was suffering from a chronic non-healing corneal sequestrum. It was affecting his vision and causing pain in his eye. Dempsey had been under the care of a veterinary ophthalmologist since October 2015. After a year and a half of treatment, Dempsey came to Cat Specialist for a second opinion. Dr. Lavallee suggested that she could place a contact lens on his eye that contains amnion for regenerative therapy. Dempsey’s mom agreed – and Dr. Lavallee performed the treatment on 4/27/2017. Here are some pictures of the successful healing process.
Dempsey’s Eye Before Treatment (2 pictures):
13 Days After Treatment:
35 Days After Treatment:
77 Days After Treatment:
123 Days After Treatment:
137 Days After Treatment:
Regenerative treatments promote the regrowth of healthy tissue and bone. This growth is attained by using biological material to stimulate the body’s own restoration capabilities to return the damaged area to normal function.
Amnion is the innermost membrane that contains the fetus of cats and other mammals to birth. This membrane and the surrounding fluid protects the fetus and is thought to play a role in the growth spurt that occurs during fetal development. The amnion and the outer chorion sacs are immune privileged, meaning these cells are not recognized as foreign, and allow for the fetus to develop without being rejected by the mother. Amnion is rich in all the basic building blocks of tissue and bone such as collagen, growth factors, hyaluronic acid, carbohydrates, and proteins essential for fetal development and growth.
Amnion is collected non-invasively during the birthing of healthy animals. Animal owners with pregnant pets allow the collection during normal birthing of those newborns. All deliveries are veterinarian assisted with health and safety of the animals as the paramount concern.
- fractured bones
- damaged ligaments
- torn tendons
- joint damage
- eye injuries
- superficial wounds
Human uses of amnion shows
Amniotic material has been used as a regenerative medicine for wound healing and burns since the early 1900’s. In the ‘40’s and ‘50’s, ophthalmologists began using amnion to treat eye issues such as corneal ulcers and chemical burns. Through the ‘70’s, the use of amnion as a wound treatment was well documented but due to the complications of AIDS, amnion as a treatment was discontinued. Amnion found its resurgence with advancements in cryopreservation between 2007 and 2009 as a diabetic wound treatment and quickly found uses on a variety of tissue injuries from orthopedic to ocular issues in humans. In 2016, commercialized uses of amnion in humans totaled approximately $1.5 billion.
- speeds recovery
- reduces scar tissue
- elicits stronger tissue and bone
- decreases the need for surgery
How the Treatment Works
These treatments, depending on the issue, are typically a one-time visit. For orthopedic and joint related issues, the amniotic material is injected around the affected area. In eyes, the material is applied in the form of a membrane or drops and for superficial wounds, the material is topically adhered as a biological bandage. Recovery times can vary depending on the age and health of the animal but to date. From our experience, some cats will show improvement in as little as 24 hours, others take several weeks to show improvement.
Amniotic treatments come with very few risks and typically center on the actual application of the product and not the product itself. Since this is new to animals, we tend to look at the risks found in human uses for this type of treatment. There have been approximately 250,000 cases of uses in humans with no debilitating results documented. Some patients have experienced some injection-point swelling or initial discomfort but all have subsided within 24-72 hours. Side effects are few with the most common being that the product actually treats other areas of inflammation in the body beyond the initial treatment area.
Amnion is not invasive at all. These products are administered topically for superficial wound during cleaning and debridement or as an implantable for tendon and ligament injuries.