May 26, 2023

VetStem Cell Therapy Helps Dog with Hip Arthritis

All month long we’ve been discussing arthritis in honor of Arthritis Awareness Month. We’ve covered arthritis in cats and dogs as well as using exercise to manage your pet’s arthritis. Another tool to help reduce symptoms of arthritis and actually help to repair damaged cartilage tissue is VetStem Cell Therapy. This week, to wrap up our month of Arthritis Awareness blogs, we are sharing Gracie’s stem cell success story.

Gracie at the dog park

Gracie, a spirited Golden Retriever, was two years old when she suddenly could not stand up. Prior to this, her personality had changed as well. She went from being a rambunctious, active pup to very calm. It turns out, she was struggling with pain. Her owners immediately took her to the veterinarian where it was determined she has a bad case of bilateral hip dysplasia resulting in osteoarthritis. Hip dysplasia is a deformity of the ball and socket hip joint that occurs during growth. The deformity results in joint laxity (looseness) and eventually leads to osteoarthritis (OA). OA is a painful condition that can greatly reduce a dog’s quality of life.

Fortunately for Gracie, her veterinarian works with VetStem proponent Dr. Angie Zinkus at Germantown Parkway Animal Hospital. Dr. Zinkus has treated multiple arthritic patients with VetStem Cell Therapy and agreed Gracie was a good candidate for the procedure. In this particular case, Dr. Zinkus mentored Dr. Susannah Mays to familiarize her with the VetStem process.

First, Dr. Mays collected fat tissue from Gracie’s abdomen during a minimally invasive anesthetic procedure. The fat was aseptically packaged and shipped to the VetStem processing laboratory in Poway, California. Lab technicians processed the fat to extract and concentrate the stem and regenerative cells contained therein.

Gracie’s cells were divided into doses and a total of nine stem cell injections were shipped to her veterinarian for treatment while the rest were put into cryostorage. Approximately 48 hours after the initial fat collection procedure, Gracie received injections of her own stem cells in her hips, knees, elbows, shoulders, as well as an intravenous injection. According to Dr. Zinkus, though Gracie’s knees, elbows, and shoulders did not show signs of arthritis, she prefers to treat each joint as a preventative measure to help protect against the development of future osteoarthritis.

In addition to stem cell therapy, Gracie received platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections into her joints. PRP and stem cell therapy work synergistically. Concentrated platelets accelerate internal healing processes by attracting stem cells, supporting an anti-inflammatory environment, and stimulating local tissue repair processes.

According to Gracie’s owner, the stem cell and PRP treatment was a huge success! Her owner noted that it only took a few months before they noticed a vast improvement stating, “Gracie is back to her silly self, running as fast as she can to chase our backyard squirrels!! Thank you, VetStem and Dr. Zinkus for this wonderful solution to Gracie’s painful hips.”

Gracie’s story is just one of many that we have received from pet parents. As we discussed in a recent blog, Osteoarthritis is one of the most common diseases in dogs and pain associated with osteoarthritis can greatly reduce a dog’s quality of life. But VetStem Cell Therapy can help! According to surveys answered by owners and veterinarians, greater than 80% of dogs showed an improved quality of life after receiving VetStem Cell Therapy for osteoarthritis.

Curious if your dog may benefit from treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy? Speak to your veterinarian or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers near you.

May 19, 2023

Obesity and Exercise: Managing Arthritis in Pets

As you probably know, May is Arthritis Awareness Month, and we are discussing all things arthritis in pets in the VetStem blog. In last week’s blog, we covered arthritis in cats. This week we are discussing obesity and exercise and how these two things can help you manage your pet’s arthritis.

A few weeks ago, we mentioned that obesity or excess weight can cause or exacerbate arthritis in pets. Excess weight puts more stress on the joints and thereby causes them to break down faster. Unfortunately, several reports in recent years have indicated that obesity in pets is on the rise. Thus, osteoarthritis rates are also on the rise. It is estimated that approximately 25-30% of the general canine population in North America are obese, making it the most common preventable disease in dogs. Unsurprisingly, approximately 20% of all dogs are affected by OA, making it the most common chronic disease in dogs. Are you picking up on a pattern?

Fortunately, there is something that can help control weight AND arthritis symptoms: Exercise! That’s right, exercise, especially low- to moderate-impact exercise can not only help keep your pet in shape, it can also help to reduce the symptoms or delay the onset of arthritis.

Exercise such as walking and light hiking can help to maintain or reduce your dog’s weight, thus putting less stress on their joints. Additionally, routine exercise can help to strengthen the muscles and supporting soft tissue structures around the joints, promoting increased joint stability. It can also increase joint fluid circulation, which is beneficial to maintaining healthy joint cartilage.

While exercising your pet has many benefits, it’s important to speak to your veterinarian first, if you have concerns about your pet’s abilities. Generally speaking, regular, moderate exercise is favored over intermittent, intense exercise. According to Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine, “Regular physical activity is paramount in the treatment of osteoarthritis both in humans and animals. A lifestyle of regular activity that is moderated away from intermittent extremes of exercise (such as long hikes on the weekends) and activities to which the pet is not conditioned is essential. Ideally, multiple shorter walks are better than one long one. The same activity every day (or slightly increasing if tolerated) is ideal.”

May 12, 2023

Arthritis Awareness Month: Arthritis in Cats

Posted by Bob under Cat Arthritis, Cats

As we shared in last week’s blog, May is Arthritis Awareness Month. We spend a lot of time talking about arthritis in dogs but it’s important to remember that cats get arthritis too! And because cats are masters at hiding their pain, and their symptoms present differently, sometimes it’s hard to know when our cats have arthritis.

Arthritis in Cats

It may surprise you to learn that a high percentage of cats will get or already have osteoarthritis (OA). According to one study, 91% of cats between 6 months and 20 years old have OA in at least one joint, as proven by X-rays. That being said, sometimes cats with OA have no visible changes on the X-rays. This is one of several reasons why osteoarthritis in cats can be difficult to detect and diagnose.

Symptoms of Arthritis in Cats

For years, osteoarthritis in cats has been underdiagnosed when compared to dogs. One reason for this is that cats with OA present with different symptoms than what we see in dogs. Because of their smaller size and natural agility, cats tend to tolerate bone and joint problems better than dogs. But there are specific symptoms to watch out for.

Unlike dogs, cats with pain from arthritis do not typically present with lameness and limping. Instead, they will be less willing to jump and/or have shorter jumps. You may also notice a loss of appetite and weight loss, depression or a change in general attitude, poor grooming habits, and urination or defecation outside the litter box.

Checklist to Screen for Early Signs of Arthritis in Cats

Fortunately, there are some newer tools available to help cat owners and veterinarians determine if a cat may have OA. One such tool is a checklist developed by researchers designed to help determine if a cat is suffering from pain associated with OA. The publication analyzed and compiled data from previously conducted studies to develop a short checklist that veterinarians can use to help detect pain associated with OA. The checklist may also be beneficial for owners who are concerned their cat may have OA.

The compiled data allowed researchers to pare down longer diagnostic questionnaires into six short questions:

  1. Does your cat jump up normally?
  2. Does your cat jump down normally?
  3. Does your cat climb up stairs or steps normally?
  4. Does your cat climb down stairs or steps normally?
  5. Does your cat run normally?
  6. Does your cat chase moving objects (toys, prey, etc.)

Treatment for Cats with Arthritis
Unfortunately, there are fewer treatment options for cats with osteoarthritis compared to dogs. Unlike dogs, cats do not tolerate nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other pain medications very well. While there are some NSAIDs approved for short-term post-operative use in cats, there are currently no veterinary NSAIDs approved for safe, long-term use to control osteoarthritis pain in cats according to the FDA.

VetStem Cell Therapy for Arthritis in Cats
VetStem Cell Therapy is a potential treatment option for osteoarthritis in cats, dogs, and horses. It can be particularly beneficial for cats, given that effective treatment options to control osteoarthritis pain are extremely limited. Stem cells have shown the ability to directly modulate pain and down-regulate inflammation. Additionally, stem cells can induce repair and stimulate regeneration of cartilage and other joint tissues.

If you think your cat may benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy, speak to your veterinarian or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area.

May 5, 2023

May is Arthritis Awareness Month

Posted by Bob under Cat Arthritis, Dog Arthritis

May is Arthritis Awareness Month for pets (and people, too!). It is estimated that one in five dogs is affected by osteoarthritis (OA). Additionally, four to nine out of ten cats experience pain from OA. According to research conducted by Banfield in 2019, OA has been on the rise over the past ten years with a 66% increase in dogs and a150% increase in cats.

What Causes Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease in which the cartilage within a joint breaks down, causing changes in the surrounding bone. Common symptoms of OA include pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. In dogs, the majority of OA cases stem from a developmental orthopedic disease such as joint dysplasia. It can also develop as a result of an injury such as a cruciate ligament tear.

Another factor that contributes to the formation or worsening of OA is weight. Excess weight puts more stress on a pet’s joints and thereby increases the risk of developing OA. Unfortunately, obesity in pets is on the rise and, according to Banfield’s research, one out of three cats and dogs in the U.S. are overweight. Thus, it makes sense that osteoarthritis in pets is also on the rise.

Osteoarthritis Treatments

While osteoarthritis can be a debilitating condition that severely affects a pet’s quality of life, there are several treatment options available. Like people, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and other pain medications are commonly used in animals to treat pain from OA. Rehabilitation and exercise can also be effective at mitigating some of the major symptoms of OA and can help to strengthen the muscles that support a pet’s joints.

VetStem Cell Therapy has been used on thousands of patients to treat osteoarthritis. In addition to reducing pain and inflammation, stem cells can actually help to regenerate damaged joint tissues, leading to increased comfort and mobility. After receiving stem cell therapy, many pets have been able to reduce or discontinue their use of NSAIDs, which can have negative effects on major organs after prolonged use.

If you think your pet may benefit from treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy, speak to your veterinarian or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers near you.

Apr 28, 2023

Guest Blog: VetStem Cell Therapy for My Cat with IBD

Hi all! Veronika here, VetStem’s Customer Service Manager. I’m taking over the blog this week to tell you the story of Gryffin, my cat who received VetStem Cell Therapy for inflammatory bowel disease. Gryffin is an eleven-year-old Ragdoll who rules our house! He has many nicknames including Gryffindorable and the Handsomest of Handsomes! If you haven’t guessed, he has me wrapped around his little fluffy paw.


But recently, he has been experiencing some symptoms that warranted a trip to the vet. My normally floofy boy lost a lot of his beautiful coat. He was vomiting 2-3 times a week, had a reduced appetite and weight loss. Though normally full of catitude, he was acting lethargic and not playing or engaging much with the family or my crazy Frenchie, Darby, and was often isolating.

Gryffin was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD is a gastrointestinal disease that can affect both cats and dogs. It is characterized by inflammation of the intestines and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, reduced appetite, and weight loss. Numerous cats have received VetStem Cell Therapy for IBD and I’ve heard great results firsthand from some of their owners so I knew exactly what I needed to do.

Gryffin received his first stem cell treatment in February. About a week after that first intravenous injection, I noticed small positive changes. His appetite increased and he was generally a little more upbeat. He was coming out of his shell a little bit and even started climbing to the top of his cat tree again.

Gryffin back on top!

He received a second intravenous stem cell treatment in early March, three weeks after his first treatment. That is when I began to notice more obvious improvements. He now voluntarily plays (by himself or with us). He’s also begun doing “racetrack” around the house again and annoying Darby. His stools have firmed up and he has not vomited in probably a month or more. I even bought him $30 worth of cat toys because I was so excited he wants to play again! His coat has started to come back and he has gained some weight.

I know without a doubt that stem cells helped my sweet boy feel better. I’m so fortunate to work for VetStem and to know about this amazing technology. I want to spread the word to all pet owners who are dealing with IBD, which can be such a frustrating and debilitating disease. If you think VetStem might help your furry friend, don’t hesitate to reach out! You can bring it up to your veterinarian (print out this blog if you want!) or use our Locate a Vet page to find a VetStem vet near you:  

Check out a video of Gryffin playing with his toy mouse now that he’s feeling better:

Apr 21, 2023

VetStem Cell Therapy Helps Bulldog with Knee Arthritis

Today is Bulldogs Are Beautiful Day, an unofficial holiday to celebrate all those short-nosed, loveable, goof balls! There are several different types of bulldogs including the English Bulldog and the very popular French Bulldog. In this blog, we want to share the stem cell story of an English Bulldog named Knuckles.

Like several breeds, English Bulldogs are prone to their own array of diseases and complications. One of which is, you guessed it, arthritis. Some bulldogs may be predisposed to joint dysplasia, an inherited condition that causes a malformed joint and osteoarthritis. This active and sometimes overweight breed also runs the risk of cruciate ligament rupture, another condition that can lead to osteoarthritis.

Poor Knuckles not only tore his cruciate ligament, he also had a luxating patella – a knee cap that shifts out of alignment. He underwent surgery to repair both problems but unfortunately the surgery failed. He developed a serious bacterial infection in his knee and the hardware that was placed during surgery had to be removed. After a long course of strong antibiotics, Knuckles’ condition continued to worsen. He lost muscle in the leg and didn’t want to use it, despite being on large amounts of anti-inflammatories, pain medications, joint supplements, and joint injections.

Fortunately, Knuckles was referred to Dr. Holly Mullen, a board-certified veterinary surgeon in San Diego. She determined that the bacterial infection damaged Knuckles’ knee so badly that he no longer had cartilage cushioning the joint, it was bone-on-bone. His pain would likely continue to increase until his only option was amputation. As an alternative, Dr. Mullen recommended treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy.

Knuckles chasing bubbles

To begin the VetStem process, a fat tissue collection was performed, and the tissue was sent to the VetStem laboratory. Due to Knuckles’ unique case, VetStem performed extra sterility testing to ensure his stem cells did not contain traces of bacteria. Additionally, Dr. Mullen tested the fluid in his knee to ensure he was clear of infection. When both tests came back negative, Knuckles received one injection of his own stem cells into his bad knee, and also an IV injection.

According to his owner, knuckles had a great response to the stem cell treatment! She stated, “At 7 years old, Knuckles has basically turned back into a puppy. Thirty days after his treatment, he was able to stop taking any medications at all! He now bears full weight on his leg, and he has gained back almost all of the muscle.” Knuckles was once again able to play with his sister and his best friend, climb up in the bed for snuggles, and do his favorite thing: chase bubbles!

If you think your pet may benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy, speak to your veterinarian or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area.

Apr 14, 2023

VetStem Cell Therapy for Puppy with Hip Dysplasia

Arthritis in dogs is hard at any age. But it’s especially heartbreaking when puppies are diagnosed with arthritis. That was the case for Ellie Mae, a hound mix, who was diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia resulting in osteoarthritis.

At approximately nine months old, Ellie Mae started limping. Soon after that, she stopped putting any weight on her back left leg and would cry every time she had to get up. Eventually, she stopped wanting to play at all. A trip to the veterinarian revealed that Ellie has osteoarthritis in both hips as a result of hip dysplasia.

Ellie Mae

A hereditary condition, hip dysplasia is a deformity of the ball and socket hip joint that occurs during growth. The deformity results in joint laxity (looseness) and eventually leads to osteoarthritis (OA). OA is a painful condition that can greatly reduce a dog’s mobility and quality of life.

Fortunately for Ellie, her veterinarian Dr. Glenn Behan of Barnegat Animal Clinic, recommended treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy. To begin the process, Dr. Behan collected fat tissue from Ellie Mae in a minimally invasive anesthetic procedure. The fat was shipped to the VetStem laboratory where technicians extracted her stem cells to create doses for treatment and cryopreservation. Approximately 48 hours after the initial fat collection procedure, Ellie Mae received one dose of her own stem cells into each hip.

According to Ellie Mae’s owner, “Nothing worked until the stem cells.” After her treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy, Ellie Mae slowly began to get better. Her owner stated, “It took about 2-3 months after the stem cell treatment, and she was running around like she never had a problem. She loves to run and go on walks with no problems. Rolls around and even shows her belly again when rolling on her back. She is about 15 months old now and is a crazy playful girl and enjoying playing with her sisters once again!”

VetStem Cell Therapy is used by veterinarians to treat a wide variety of injuries and diseases and may provide relief when, as in Ellie Mae’s case, other treatments are not working. VetStem Cell Therapy utilizes the body’s natural healing cells to accelerate and improve the quality of healing for acute conditions and to slow, stop, and ultimately revert the course of chronic diseases. If you think your pet may benefit from treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy, speak to your veterinarian or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers near you.

Apr 7, 2023

VetStem Sponsors Lab at IVAPM Pain Management Forum

Posted by Bob under Pain in Pets, VetStem

The VetStem sales and marketing team just returned from the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM) Pain Management Forum in Atlanta, GA. For the past few years, VetStem has sponsored a dry lab at the forum. Additionally, experts in veterinary pain management have discussed the use of regenerative medicine as one approach to managing pain in pets.

Founded in 2001 by a group of veterinarians, including one of VetStem’s earliest users and collaborators, Dr. Jamie Gaynor, the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management unites veterinary professionals across all disciplines from around the world to advocate for best practices in the treatment of pain in animals. The organization is committed to encouraging pain management for all animal species through education and advocacy. They also encourage various veterinary organizations to raise public awareness about pain and pain management as it pertains to veterinary patients. IVAPM is the leading forum and educational resource for veterinary professionals and pet owners interested in animal pain prevention, management, and treatment.

One of the primary goals of IVAPM is to educate the veterinary community to recognize and treat pain in all species of animals. In addition to offering continuing education, they also provide the only interdisciplinary pain management certification program for veterinary professionals. Last year, IVAPM launched the first annual Pain Management Forum where like-minded veterinary professionals can connect to advocate for the best practices in the treatment of animals in pain.

This year, at the second Pain Management Forum, Dr. Gaynor delivered a lecture in which he included information on the topics of VetStem Cell Therapy and platelet rich plasma. You may be surprised to learn that stem cells not only have the ability to down-regulate inflammation, but also to directly affect pain. Current literature supports that stem cells have the ability to address both acute and chronic pain by secreting pain blocking cytokines (small proteins), which can have opioid-like effects. We enjoy attending and supporting the IVAPM Pain Management Forum and look forward to supporting their cause in 2024!

Mar 31, 2023

VetStem Cell Therapy for Feline Asthma

Posted by Bob under Cat Stem Cells, VetStem Cell Therapy

While VetStem Cell Therapy is primarily used to treat orthopedic conditions, many patients have received stem cell therapy for alternate indications such as kidney disease, gingivostomatitis, and inflammatory bowel disease. Conditions such as these are still in the investigational stage, as there is minimal published data to demonstrate that stem cells are effective in treating these diseases.

That being said, it is well documented that stem cells have anti-inflammatory properties, which, theoretically, may make them effective at treating a wide range of inflammatory diseases and processes. One example of an inflammatory disease is feline asthma.

Asthma is defined as a chronic inflammatory process involving the tracheal, bronchi, and lung fields. Cats with asthma often have a chronic cough, acute respiratory distress, and vomiting. There is currently no cure for feline asthma so traditional treatment is focused on managing the disease with oxygen, inhalers, and steroids. As one can imagine, getting a cat to cooperate with using an inhaler is not always easy. And long-term steroid use comes with several negative side effects.

That’s where VetStem Cell Therapy comes in. Stem cells have the ability to home to areas of inflammation and down-regulate that inflammation. Not only can they control inflammatory processes, stem cells can also modulate the immune system, which may play a role in reducing the number of acute asthmatic episodes in an affected cat. Some cats have received VetStem Cell Therapy for asthma, and while much of the evidence is anecdotal at this point, we have received reports of improvement in symptoms and one case where the cat went into complete remission. That being said, we still have much to learn about using VetStem Cell Therapy to treat feline asthma. And it is important to note that every patient reacts differently to treatment with stem cells.  

Mar 24, 2023

National Newfoundland Dog Day: VetStem Cell Therapy for Ava

Tomorrow, March 25th, is National Newfoundland Dog Day! Newfies are a unique breed and are often as sweet and gentle as they are big! Unfortunately, like all giant breeds, Newfies are prone to orthopedic issues like osteoarthritis and cruciate ligament injuries. This was exactly the case for Ava, a 115-pound, 3-year-old Newfoundland who partially tore her cruciate ligaments in both knees.

As a mellow dog, Ava was able to recover without surgical intervention and resumed her normal activities without any noticeable pain. That being said, when Ava was approximately 6 years old, she began showing signs of pain and decreased mobility, a result of the arthritis that had developed in her knees.


Ava’s veterinarian diagnosed Ava with moderate osteoarthritis in both knees and recommended treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy. Ava’s owner agreed, stating, “I have grown up with horses and had seen success stories of using stem cells to help ligament and tendon tears…and started researching VetStem. After all, a Newfoundland is really a mini pony.”

To begin the VetStem process, Ava’s veterinarian collected fat from her abdomen in a minimally invasive anesthetic procedure. The fat was aseptically packaged and shipped to the VetStem processing laboratory in Poway, California. Lab technicians processed the fat to extract and concentrate Ava’s stem and regenerative cells. Three injectable doses of Ava’s own stem cells were shipped to her veterinarian and approximately 48 hours after the initial fat collection procedure, Ava received one injection into each knee as well as an intravenous injection. The rest of her cells were put into cryopreservation for potential future use.

Ava’s owner noted that it took about four weeks to see significant improvement in her lameness and mobility. At six weeks post stem cell therapy, Ava could get up from lying down and walk normally. She no longer did mini-skips or awkwardly adjusted her weight between her back legs.  She was also able to discontinue her use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Nine months after treatment, Ava was examined, and her veterinarian noted that both knees felt very strong and stable compared to before the stem cell treatment.

Approximately two years later, Ava hurt her leg again while playing. Fortunately, she had banked stem cell doses from her initial treatment. This time, Ava’s veterinarian treated both of her knees and both of her elbows, where she had also developed arthritis. Like before, it took about four weeks before Ava’s owner noticed improvement in her mobility. She was able to trot and play with her sister Newfie and go on her normal thirty-minute walk. Prior to stem cell therapy, Ava’s owner stated that she could barely go on a five-minute walk. 

Just over a year and a half after Ava’s second stem cell treatment, her owner contacted VetStem to say that Ava was still doing well. At nearly ten years old, Ava was still moving around well and had not had any anti-inflammatory medication since four weeks post her second treatment with stem cells. Her owner stated, “I can’t recommend stem cell therapy enough…so many people who know her were able to see the difference in her level of comfort, which only validates her story in my eyes even more. Thank you VetStem, you truly saved my bear’s life and I will always be thankful for that!” If you think your pet may benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy, speak to your veterinarian or contact us to receive a list of providers near you.