Feb 21, 2020

Horse Receives Stem Cells for Tendon Injury

Jesse, a Spanish Arabian, was 11 years old when he suddenly went lame.  A bone scan and MRI revealed a severe injury to his right front deep digital flexor tendon.  The diagnosing veterinarian, Dr. Mark Martinelli of California Equine Orthopedics, recommended treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy and also referred Jesse to Dr. Sylvia Ouellette who specializes in equine lameness diagnosis and treatment.

Jesse and His Owner

Jesse began a long rehabilitation process with Dr. Ouellette.  During rehab he experienced another setback, after which Jesse’s owner pursued treatment with stem cells.  Jesse received one injection of his own stem cells into his injured tendon, but he wasn’t out of the woods yet.

Jesse continued with a rigorous rehabilitation schedule and experienced a few setbacks.  It was two years after his initial injury when Jesse’s owner finally received the good news that Jesse was sound.

Jesse was initially treated with VetStem Cell Therapy back in May 2006- almost 14 years ago!  Yet in a recent update from Jesse’s owner, Jesse is now 24 years old and his tendon has remained sound. Jesse’s owner stated, “Though he has other age-related health issues, the deep flexor tendon has stayed strong and has served him well all of these years.”   

Jesse is not the only horse to receive lasting effects from stem cell therapy.  Another horse, CP Merritt, was still competing at a champion level after receiving VetStem Cell Therapy 10 years prior.

If you think your horse may benefit from stem cell therapy, speak to your veterinarian or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area.

Share
Feb 14, 2020

Happy Valentine’s Day from VetStem!

Posted by Bob under VetStem Biopharma

Happy Valentine’s Day to our loyal readers!  We wanted to do something special for this love-filled day, so we thought we’d introduce you to some of our four-legged best friends.  Our pets bring so much love and joy into our lives, why not dedicate a blog to them?!  Read below to meet some of our furry friends!

“This is Bella.  She’s a 13-year-old Yorkie-Poo and she is the Queen of the house.  She greets us every day with the exuberance of a puppy and as if we’ve been gone forever.  We love her like crazy!” -Tracy, VetStem Buyer

“I know that no matter how bad of a day I have had, I can always count on one of my cats to come sit on my lap and make me feel needed and loved.” Kristi, Director of Commercial Operations

Pyewacket and Scarf (Super Doofus Oriental Shorthair)
Phini (Oriental Shorthair)

“Ben is not only my hiking companion, he also serves to alert me to the presence of rattlesnakes when on the trail.  He’s a great hiker and even carries all of his own supplies in his pack.” Dr. Bob Harman, CEO

Ben (Border Collie)

“These are my sweet 6-month-old kittens, Zipper and Buttons. They are two rowdy little boys who love to eat, sleep, and get into trouble. I love them because they take my stress away. They are there on good days and bad and always seem to have a way of making me smile, especially when they purr.” Madalene, Laboratory Manager

Zipper
Buttons

“Providing a safe area outside for Frankie, my Maine Coon, is one of the many ways I show him I love him.” Sue, Director of Clinical Development

“These three fuzzy creatures love unconditionally.  Willow is such a good guard dog and the cats just sleep and cuddle all day.  They are so good with our rowdy toddler, despite all of her poking and prodding and attempts to ‘ride’ them.  We loved them before she came, and we love them even more now for being the best big sisters/brother a baby could ask for!”  Ashley, Marketing Coordinator

Pius (orange and white) and Portia (tortie)
Willow (Chocolate Lab)

“This is Kodiak, a 10-year-old Australian Shepherd.  What is great about him is he’s constantly wanting to be active and always excited to play catch or go on a hike!” Jon, Laboratory Assistant

“Born about one month apart, these two boys are brothers from another mother.  Jasper makes the greatest faces.  Koda is a big lover – and totally food driven.” Carolyn, COO

Koda (white Lab), Jasper (light brown Lab)

“My five cats make my life better by providing affection and entertainment. I can’t imagine sitting on the couch and not being covered in cats.  We call our five dogs our herd of herders. There is never a dull moment at our house, as at least one of them is up to some sort of mischief at all times- except when they’re all sleeping!” Whitney, Customer Service Representative

Flynn (mini Aussie), Brogan (Aussie mix), Piper (Border Collie), Luca (Australian Shepherd), and Duncan (Mini Aussie)
Kolohe, Lilly, Squirrel, Keone, and Ali’I
Share
Feb 7, 2020

Stem Cell Therapy with Rehabilitation for Pets

Patients with compromised mobility due to osteoarthritis or acute orthopedic injuries are often prescribed physical rehabilitation.  Physical rehabilitation or physical therapy (PT) refers to a number of non-invasive techniques including but not limited to exercise, manipulation, cold therapy, heat therapy and electrotherapy.  The goal of PT is to reduce pain and improve strength and mobility and thereby, improve a pet’s quality of life.

Physical therapy can also be a great way to help a pet recover from surgery.  When used postoperatively, the goal is to decrease pain, inflammation, and recovery time.  When applied appropriately, these treatments may have both immediate and long-term effects.  For these reasons, VetStem recommends that pets follow some basic rehabilitation guidelines after receiving intra-articular (into the joint) or intra-lesional (into the injured tissue) stem cell injections.

Though the optimal post-stem cell injection rehabilitation protocol is unknown, your veterinarian can help you craft a rehab routine that is based on your pet’s specific condition and needs.  Some factors that may affect your pet’s rehabilitation protocol include severity of the condition, number of joints/lesions that are affected and/or injected, as well as other medical conditions your pet may have. In general, VetStem recommends starting with very light rehabilitative exercises for the first several weeks following stem cell therapy.  For dogs and cats, this may include passive range of motion and stretching as well as slow leash walks.  For horses this may include limited or short hand walks or stall rest with hand grazing, depending on the condition being treated.  We understand keeping a pet quiet can be challenging for many owners.  We believe however that it is very important to follow good rehabilitation practices to help your pet heal in the most optimal way. Patience and good nursing care can help your pet’s healing process in both the short and long term.        

VetStem patient, Koda, getting his PT in an underwater treadmill.
Share
Jan 31, 2020

VetStem 2019 Year in Review

Posted by Bob under VetStem Biopharma

As we close out the first month of 2020, we wanted to share some highlights from 2019.  Here is VetStem’s 2019 year in review.

In 2019:

  • VetStem provided stem cell processing services for over 800 patients.
  • We trained over 60 new veterinarians to use VetStem Cell Therapy.
  • Over 80 veterinarians began using VetStem services and/or products for the first time.

WHEW!  It was a big year for us!  Thank you to our veterinary colleagues and pet owners who have entrusted us with the processing of your patient’s and pet’s stem cells.  Here’s to a great 2020 for everyone! 

Share
Jan 24, 2020

Labrador Retriever Stops Pain Meds After Stem Cell Therapy

At just four months old, Tucker, a Labrador retriever, was limping and lame.  At one year of age, he was diagnosed with bilateral hip and elbow dysplasia.  His veterinarian prescribed him pain medications as well as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs).  After four years of continuous medication and restricted physical activity, Tucker’s owners were introduced to VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy as a potential treatment option for osteoarthritis in his hips and elbows.

To begin the process, Dr. Glenn Behan of Barnegat Animal Clinic collected Tucker’s fat tissue and sent it off to the VetStem laboratory in January 2019. Once received, VetStem lab technicians processed the fat to extract Tucker’s stem and regenerative cells for injectable stem cell doses. Tucker’s stem cell injections were sent back to Dr. Behan and, approximately 48 hours after the initial fat collection, Tucker received one injection into each hip and each elbow.

At just one month post stem cell therapy, Tucker’s owners noticed his energy level was up, he could get up and down with more ease, and stairs were easier to climb. After approximately six weeks, Tucker could walk further distances and his limp subsided. His owner stated, “He was able to actually run on the beach and through the surf for the first time without pain. There was almost a hop in his step which we had never seen before.”  In a 90-day follow up survey, Tucker’s owner reported that he was able to discontinue his pain and anti-inflammatory medication and his quality of life was significantly improved.

Tucker, enjoying the beach after receiving VetStem Cell Therapy

Approximately seven months post stem cell therapy, Tucker continued to do great. With his increased activity, he lost ten pounds and was getting around so much better. He would go on walks, up and down stairs and even began jumping on the bed, which he could not do before. He also played a lot more with his little brother. At that point in time, he continued to not require pain or anti-inflammatory medication.

Tucker lost 10lbs due to his increased activity level

It has been approximately one year since Tucker’s stem cell therapy and he has not required additional stem cell treatments.  Like Tucker, some dogs are able to reduce or discontinue pain and/or anti-inflammatory medications after receiving VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy.  It is important to point out that NSAID use can lead to gastrointestinal upset and organ damage, which is why most veterinarians advise against long-term use of NSAIDs.

If you think your dog may benefit from stem cell therapy, speak to your veterinarian or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area.

Share
Jan 17, 2020

January is Walk Your Pet Month

Posted by Bob under Cat Arthritis, Dog Arthritis

At VetStem, one of our goals is to educate pet owners about the prevalence and potential severity of osteoarthritis (OA) in our pets.  Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that can be debilitating.  It has even been identified as the number 2 reason for euthanasia.  Though 1 in 5 dogs in the U.S. are affected by OA, there are some steps you can take to potentially reduce or delay the symptoms of OA in your pet. 

In a previous blog, we shared some steps you can take to help reduce or delay the symptoms of OA in your pet.  One of those steps is to provide your pet with regular exercise.  While pets require varying amounts and different types of exercise, your veterinarian can help you to develop an exercise routine tailored specifically to your pet.

Since January is Walk Your Pet month, we thought it important to highlight the potential effects that regular walks can have on your pet’s joint health.  Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine states, “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 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.” 

According to the Arthritis Foundation, walking comes with several benefits which may lead to healthier joints including muscle strengthening, joint fluid circulation, and weight loss.  Weight loss is an important factor when it comes to managing pain and lameness associated with osteoarthritis.  One study found that weight loss significantly decreased lameness in obese dogs with OA.  If you’re concerned that your pet may be overweight, you can refer to this blog or contact your veterinarian. And don’t forget, cats get OA too!  Cats with OA may also benefit from exercise.  Speak to your veterinarian about the best way to exercise your cat.

Ben, getting his exercise in by hiking the Pacific Coast Trail
with his human and VetStem CEO, Dr. Bob Harman

Share
Jan 10, 2020

Life is Better with Stem Cells: Ember’s Story

For our first blog of the new year, we thought we would try something a little different.  This week, we have a guest blog submitted by dog owner Virginia regarding her dog Ember and her stem cell story.  Ember received VetStem Cell Therapy after she was diagnosed with elbow dysplasia.  She’s feeling much better and…well, we’ll let Ember tell her story…

Hi,

My name is Ember and I am a 4-year-old Newfoundland. I’m writing this because I was asked to tell my story.

In my family we are first and foremost companions to our people, we live side by side with them.  But we have other jobs as well.  One is we do a lot of social and therapy work to bring smiles to people.  Our other career is to be “show dogs.”  Being social dogs, we like both our jobs.

But things changed for me when we discovered that I had bilateral elbow dysplasia confirmed by OFA x-rays.  Sometimes I would limp a bit, other times not.  When I was 2 and 1/2, I started limping and did not stop for months.  That was not fun, and I did not feel like playing with all my friends at home (I have a big family). 

Then on “My Lady’s” birthday her best friend (and my first home) gave her the gift of stem cell therapy for me.  She seemed excited; I did not know what she was talking about at all.  I just go with the flow so I wagged my tail. 

Before stem cell therapy, I was lame and really didn’t play as much as I wanted to.  It is over 5 months now from my injections and I feel a lot better!  I am my happy self, I play with my friends, even the puppy.  I am more active and can get in bed to sleep with my people at night.  I am not lame anymore.  My movement is so much better and I am pain free. 

I am very grateful to My Lady’s friend for giving such a thoughtful gift.  It has made a huge difference for me.  I want to say thank you to all the people who worked hard so this option could be made available for us dogs. 

Life is better with stem cells.

Love,

Ember

Ember
Share
Dec 20, 2019

Stem Cells for Equine Uveitis

Posted by Bob under Horse Stem Cell Therapy

VetStem recently attended and exhibited at the annual American Association of Equine Practitioners conference.  The convention brings equine veterinarians and veterinary professionals together from across the United States to what is the world’s largest continuing education event dedicated to equine practice.

VetStem sponsored a presentation by Dr. Roland Thaler, who has been utilizing VetStem Cell Therapy for over ten years.  In his presentation, Dr. Thaler discussed an equine patient, Mac, who was treated with VetStem Cell Therapy for non-responsive uveitis.  Uveitis is characterized by inflammation of the uveal tract of the eye and can be a one-time episode or recurrent.  Recurrent uveitis can lead to permanent damage and even blindness.

Though the cause of recurrent uveitis is unclear, there is evidence to suggest it may be immune-mediated.  Stem cells have demonstrated the ability to reduce inflammation and to modulate the immune system.  Preliminary in-vitro and clinical case series results demonstrate safety and that stem cells may be effective in controlling recurrent uveitis including one where three out of four horses had a favorable response to treatment with stem cells.  

In Mac’s case, his uveitis was non-responsive, meaning his symptoms could not be managed with traditional therapies.  Dr. Thaler recommended treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy.  Mac was treated in July 2019 and the cells were administered via intravenous injection as well as subconjunctival.  Dr. Thaler reported that 14 days after treatment, Mac had marked improvement of comfort and his medications were able to be reduced.

Mac received a second treatment with stem cells in early October 2019.  Despite his initial improvement, Mac’s condition worsened and he was retired from competition due to visual impairment. 

Dr. Thaler noted that Mac tolerated the subconjunctival injections remarkably well.  Mac’s initial response to treatment was promising leading Dr. Thaler to recommend treating recurrent uveitis as early in the disease process as possible.    

Share
Dec 13, 2019

December is National Cat Lovers Month!

It’s December and while most are excited about the holiday season, we at VetStem are excited about cats!  We have more than a few cat lovers at VetStem, Sue and Kristi, to name a few.  We figured, what better month than this to share new and exciting information about regenerative medicine for felines?!

You may remember some of our previous blogs about stem cell therapy for felines.  If you need a refresher, check out this recent post: Stem Cells for Cats: An Overview.  To summarize, veterinarians are using VetStem Cell Therapy to treat a number of conditions in cats.  In addition to osteoarthritis, the most commonly treated diseases include chronic kidney disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and gingivostomatitis.

VetStem Patients Wilma and Flint

Veterinarians have also used our small animal platelet therapy kit for orthopedic conditions in cats.  Veterinary Platelet Enhancement Therapy (V-PET™) is used by veterinarians to collect and concentrate a patient’s platelets.  The platelet concentrate can be injected into joints, injured tendons and ligaments, as well as chronic wounds. 

One of our frequent users, Dr. Jeff Christiansen, recently treated a cat who had an FHO (surgery to remove the ”ball” of the hip ball-and-socket joint) utilizing V-PET™.  The cat suffered a fracture in his hip and platelet concentrate was injected into the joint after surgery.  Typically, cats will show signs of complete recovery from an FHO procedure at approximately six weeks post-surgery. In this cat’s case, he was comfortable and walking around with good range of motion at four weeks post-op. While the injury required surgical intervention, the addition of V-PET™ into the surgical site may have led to expedited healing.

Keke, Dr. Christiansen’s patient who received V-PET

Some more exciting news about cats is actually about cheetahs!  Dr. Matt Kinney of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park recently presented information at the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians conference regarding working with VetStem to treat a couple of cheetahs.  We hope to share more about this soon!  This is not the first time that VetStem has provided cell services and on-site consultation for the treatment of exotic animals.  A Sun Bear named Francis was another recipient of such services.

Follow our blog to keep up with new research and developments.

Share
Dec 6, 2019

Veterinarian Highlight: Adam Gassel, DVM, DACVS

Posted by Bob under Dog Arthritis, Dog Stem Cells

In this week’s veterinarian highlight, we’d like to introduce you to veterinary surgeon and VetStem user Dr. Adam Gassel.  Dr. Gassel practices at Blue Pearl Pet Hospital in Irvine, California.  He received his DVM from Purdue University in 1991 and pursued an internship with Animal Specialty Group in Los Angeles.  He then completed a surgical residency at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and became a board-certified veterinary surgeon in 2007.

Dr. Gassel’s surgical interests include TPLO (a surgery to stabilize the knee), portosystemic shunts, surgical oncology, and minimally invasive procedures, particularly arthroscopy and laparoscopy.  Dr. Gassel frequently incorporates VetStem Cell Therapy into his orthopedic surgeries for things like joint dysplasia/osteoarthritis and Fragmented Coronoid Process.  He has treated 125 patients utilizing VetStem Cell Therapy and is part of the VetStem Centenniel Club.

We recently asked Dr. Gassel a few questions about his use of VetStem Cell Therapy.  See his answers below regarding his specific experiences.

Why do you find VetStem Cell Therapy to be a valuable addition to your practice?

VetStem Cell Therapy is a valuable tool because of the ability of regenerative medicine (stem cells) to treat acute and chronic pain associated with tissue trauma and chronic degenerative joint disease.  We perform a variety of surgical procedures at our practice and I have been using stem cells primarily and as an adjuvant for my patients over the past 12 years.  VetStem Cell Therapy is a natural alternative to traditional medications used to treat chronic osteoarthritis, especially for patients that cannot tolerate the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).  We can stabilize a torn cranial cruciate ligament and remove cartilage fragments from a damaged elbow, but we cannot replace the damaged cartilage that can result from the initial injury.  In my opinion, this is when regenerative medicine can play a vital role in treating chronic pain and inflammation associated with these injuries.  Ongoing arthritis can be a debilitating and frustrating disease for our patients and their families.  Regenerative stem cell therapy provides us with a safe and efficacious way of treating these patients to improve their quality of life.    

As a surgeon, do you primarily recommend stem cell therapy in addition to surgery or in lieu of surgery?  Please explain your answer.

This determination is made on a case by case basis.  There are a variety of procedures in which stem cell therapy is used in combination with surgery to provide an optimal outcome.  There are certainly cases in which stem cell therapy is used in lieu of surgery mostly due to patient factors.  However, I have also been educating clients on the benefits of stem cell therapy and to consider taking advantage of the Canine StemInsure program if their pet is under anesthesia for routine prophylactic surgeries (stem cells to be stored for future use).

What advice would you give to pet owners considering stem cell therapy for their pet?

Stem cell therapy is a safe and effective way to address both acute and chronic pain caused by a variety of diseases seen in our patients.  Adipose tissue (fat) provides a rich source of stem cells that can easily be harvested with a quick and safe surgical procedure.  Once isolated and re-administered to the patient, current literature supports the ability of stem cells to reduce inflammation and pain while helping to re-build bone and soft tissue.  Pet owners should understand that there are injuries and diseases that cannot be fixed with stem cell therapy alone and should keep an open mind when consulting with the specialist.  Overall, this “cutting-edge” therapy can lengthen and improve the quality of life of their pet. 

There you have it!  Thank you Dr. Gassel for taking the time to answer our questions!  If you are located in the Irvine area and looking for an experienced stem cell provider, contact Blue Pearl Irvine for a consultation with Dr. Gassel.

Dr. Adam Gassel DVM, DACVS
Share