Clifford and Stem Cell Treatments

Here’s a picture of Clifford I took the other day. He was running up to the barn for dinner. Does this look like a horse who has arthritis?

His knee is horrendous. It’s big and lumpy and ugly. But with the way he’s been ripping around lately, one would never know there was a problem.

Determined to find out more about stem cell treatments, I asked my friend Rose to get me a name. Rose works at the small animal blood bank up at Michigan State University. I finally got a referral to Dr. Caron today up at MSU and emailed him:

Dear Dr. Caron,

Clifford, my Morgan, has bad arthritis in one knee, and a bone chip. He’s got basically no cartiledge left. He’s 17.

I have heard great things about stem cell treatments for just this type of injury (specifically with a race horse called Be A Bono) and was wondering if you could tell me anything.

Please feel free to e me back or call. I look forward to hearing from you!


His response came less than ten minutes later:

Ms. Bailey,

We are not yet using stem cells for this purpose here, although it would not be that difficult to do so. I suspect that to compare your horse to Be A Bono might not be completely accurate – arthritis is a progressive disease and it sounds as if your horse has rather more severe disease. As such, results might not be all that you might anticipate. Nonetheless, I would be happy to examine your horse, discuss his past history and treatment and learn of your aspirations for him. An appointment can be made with our reception staff – 517-353-9710

I immediately called the number and spoke to Carol the receptionist, who, it turns out, has heard of Clifford. “Aren’t there TWO books?” she said.

“YES!” I yelped. I was so excited that someone had actually heard of the sequel!

“My daughter has them!” she said. “I’m going to have them call me when Clifford gets here, so I can come down there and meet him!”

So Clifford is going in on Tuesday at 10 am, possibly as a guinea pig, and our trot down the Stem Cell Trail begins. He’s never visited MSU before. I can hardly wait to see what he thinks about this!

I was warned by my “horsey” friend Chris that MSU is expensive. (Hello?! Who was up there every month two years ago for dog chemotherapy?) Read my lips: I DON’T CARE. Any time you start thinking about veterinarians and drugs and therapy and experimental treatments, there will be words of caution from friends, not to mention the vets. It’s Dr. Caron’s job to be cautious. But he doesn’t know Clifford.

I know this is the right thing to do — I can feel it. The answers will come. The money will come. And I will have my horse back.


About Nancy J. Bailey

Artist, author, bad karaoke singer. Woodsy ragamuffin. Mom of a horse named Clifford who plays fetch and paints with watercolors. He visits libraries and schools with me, to promote literacy and making the world a better place. Yes, he is house trained, no, he doesn't live in my house! I have written three books about Clifford. But my newest book, THE NORTH SIDE OF DOWN, is co-written by my awesome sister Amanda, who has Down syndrome. Her unexpected one-liner wisecracks can always make me laugh. If you make me laugh, you've made my day!
This entry was posted in Clifford, equine, horse, stem cell, veterinary. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Clifford and Stem Cell Treatments

  1. Good luck Nancy and Clifford. Please let us know how this turns out with the stem cells, as we are also interested in this for a horse we have.


  2. Gecko says:

    Definetly let us know how this goes, I have a mare with arthritis and I’m starting to look around for treatments for her.


  3. Nancy – What a good omen that Carol knew about Clifford! It sounds like you are doing just the right thing – there’s a favorite saying of mine whenever I am doing something that feels like it must be done – “Don’t worry about the money and it will come to you.” And if Dr. Caron’s not the right doctor for you, I know you’ll keep trying and find someone eventually who will be able to help.


  4. Nancy says:

    Thanks for the support! I do have a good feeling about it and the response from the Morgan community has been entirely positive. I so hope that Clifford will be able to benefit. And on a grander scale, wouldn’t it be great if this somehow led to more help for arthritic horses? Stay tuned…


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