Skip to comments.Police dog team takes on arthritis
Posted on 10/01/2007 9:46:36 PM PDT by Coleus
Their time together on the road patrolling Beaverton streets nearly came to an end earlier this year when Jago (pronounced YA-go) developed immune-mediated poly arthritis in his joints. Magnus realized something was wrong with his partner after Jago took a hard fall Jan. 10 while tracking a home burglary suspect. Jago leapt over a wall, went down hard and twisted his body. He got back up and continued the pursuit. I noticed he had trouble getting up from a laying down position, Magnus recalled. At first I thought he may just be sore, but within a weeks time it seemed to be getting worse. He would rock to the front of his paws, rock himself forward and push himself up. He got to the point where I had to physically pick him up off the floor because he couldnt stand up on his own power.
Concerned for his dogs health, Magnus took him to different veterinarians and learned through testing that Jago had arthritis. Doctors initially used medications to treat Jago. I was told that he may never come back or have to be on medication for the rest of his life, Magnus said. They started him with a high dose which helped the side effects, but when they tried to lower the dosage, he would get infections and start limping again. Jago had good days and bad days as doctors attempted different treatments. When he was feeling OK, I would bring him to work and use him for certain tasks, Magnus said. He was off and on the street the whole time he was undergoing treatment, but there was a lot of stuff we didnt do.
Patrol dogs on Beavertons K-9 Unit are trained to track and apprehend suspects that flee, trained in handler protection and in locating evidence. We invest a lot of time and training in these dogs because they are one of our greatest tools in law enforcement, said Beaverton Police Chief David Bishop. Their success in tracking and locating evidence is incredible. Jagos condition made it difficult for him to perform long tracks and other tasks expected of him as a police dog. The thought of having to retire him killed me, Magnus said. I forged a bond and partnership with my dog that took time. He had to learn to trust me and I had to learn how to read him. I didnt want to give up on that. Police department leaders were also not ready to give up on Jago and looked for a clinic that specialized in caring for working dogs.
They found an ideal team with Dr. Cindy Zikes at the Surgical Medical Specialty Clinic for Animals in Beaverton. Jago didnt tolerate medications well so we decided to wean him off of them and suggested a stem cell therapy, Zikes said. The treatment involved harvesting regenerative adult stem cells from the fat in Jagos groin area, sending them to a lab to be processed and then injecting them back into his problematic joints. The therapy is very new for dogs, but its been very successful in treating horses that have been injured, Zikes said. This was Jagos last chance, Magnus said. Sgt. Robert Davis was encouraged when the city agreed to invest in Jagos treatment. I was impressed that the city would go out on a limb on a cutting edge, experimental procedure, Davis said. All our fingers are crossed with this last procedure. We knew it was a make it or break it deal.
Jago underwent treatment in July and the results impressed everyone. He improved dramatically, Zikes said. Hes a gorgeous dog. Looking at him now, youd never know that he had to have this treatment. The potential of this stem cell therapy is really exciting. Within 12 days, Jago was back on patrol and showing signs of huge improvement. It was amazing, Magnus said. I feel like I got my dog back. His energy and personality returned. He regained his playfulness. He started to jump up on me again and run around on the grass. Things I almost forgot that he would do. Zikes is continuing to keep an eye on Jagos progress. Shes considering a second injection to help with lingering inflammation. Jago is doing pretty well overall, Zikes said following a recent checkup. Ken has noticed some real, subtle changes that we are keeping an eye on, but were hopeful.
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