May 17, 2019

Arthritic Bogey Resumes His Daily Walks

Posted by Bob under Dog Arthritis, Dog Stem Cells

Bogey, a Labrador who is now ten years old, injured his cruciate ligaments in both knees when he was nine.  On top of that, he also has advanced arthritis in his left hip.  His mobility was so limited that he could barely walk and required assistance to do things like jump in the car and onto the couch.

According to Bogey’s mom, when he was first injured, they thought they might lose him.  Fortunately, Bogey’s veterinarian, Dr. Ava DeCozio of VCA Apache Junction Animal Hospital, recommended treatment with VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy.

Just three months after treatment, Bogey was back to his old self and was able to resume his daily walks to the park with mom.  You can read the rest of Bogey’s story here.

We recently checked in on Bogey and his mom reported that he continues to do well and is still going on his daily walks.  We’re so happy for Bogey and his family!

Though Bogey was facing multiple painful joints and limited mobility, stem cell therapy improved his quality of life.  According to his owner he got his energy and personality back and was like his old self again.  If you think your dog may benefit from stem cell therapy, speak to your veterinarian for more information.  Or you can contact us to locate a stem cell provider near you.

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May 10, 2019

Veterinarian Highlight: Dr. Nick Vitale, DVM

Posted by Bob under Dog Stem Cells, Platelet Therapy

For this week’s Veterinarian Highlight, we would like to introduce you to Dr. Nick Vitale of Heritage Animal Hospital in Dundee, MI.  Dr. Vitale received his BS in Zoology and his DVM from Michigan State University.  Though a relatively recent adopter of VetStem Cell Therapy, Dr. Vitale hit the ground running and has treated over 40 patients with stem cell therapy in less than a year and half.  And that doesn’t include the patients he has treated with Veterinary Platelet Enhancement Therapy (V-PET™)!

Though stem cells are primarily used to treat orthopedic conditions such as osteoarthritis and injured tendons or ligaments, Dr. Vitale has treated his patients for several “non-standard” indications as well including feline kidney disease and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

We spoke with Dr. Vitale to ask a few questions about how he uses regenerative medicine in his practice.

Why do you like stem cell therapy and what do you commonly use it for?

I like it for many reasons. I can help reduce a patient’s need for medicines that have bad secondary side effects. I can help multiple issues at once, vs an owner having to perform multiple orthopedic surgeries which can be very, very expensive when the owner only has so much to work with.

Ideally, I would love to perform stem cell therapy on each orthopedic patient I take care of from ACL injuries to OCD issues to medial coronoid disease, etc. If my own lab needed ACL surgery, I would automatically perform stem cells to help the surgery even more. My normal surgical discussions, especially for ACL injuries, is to discuss standard of care surgery such as MRIT or TPLO and then I say, ‘we can make it even better with doing this.’ I also bring up that when we bank these doses, we can use them later in life for other problems such as autoimmune disease or liver or kidney problems, as this is most likely going to be a treatment very commonly done in the future. 

What injuries/ailments do you commonly treat with Veterinary Platelet Enhancement Therapy (V-PET™)?

I use V-PET for chronic non-healing injuries and for use on ligamentous and tendon injury. For very early ACL strains and tears, less than 25%, I have performed V-PET and have had good outcomes so far. I also will do this for a last resort when a patient has a less than 50% tear of an ACL and there are no other options as far as surgery, which is too expensive for the owner. Older patients, especially those with cancers, I will do V-PET on for arthritis vs doing stem cells. In very, very old patients, V-PET is easy to do and apply and it will keep them mobile longer and I have seen very good results with this modality. 

If you are located in the Dundee, MI area and are interested in having your dog or cat treated with VetStem Cell Therapy and/or Veterinary Platelet Enhancement Therapy, we recommend a visit with Dr. Nick Vitale.

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May 3, 2019

An Update on Pearl, The Tripod Pit Bull

Some of you may remember Pearl, the tripod blue pit bull who had a chronic wound on her leg stump and a partially torn cruciate ligament in her right knee.  Pearl was treated with Veterinary Platelet Enhancement Therapy (V-PET™) by Dr. Holly Mullen of VCA Emergency Animal Hospital and Referral Center.  Her response to treatment was fantastic: her wound healed and the limping and pain in her injured knee stopped.  You can read Pearl’s story here.

Recently, Dr. Mullen reached out to give us an update on Pearl.  According to Dr. Mullen, her leg stump has not had a single issue since the first treatment with platelet therapy over three years ago.  And she has been doing great on the knee that was treated at the same time.  Fantastic news!

Unfortunately, earlier this year Pearl began limping on the opposite knee and was diagnosed with a probable partial cruciate tear.  Dr. Mullen believed this injury to be a little bit worse than the knee that was previously treated.  Once again, she treated Pearl’s injured knee utilizing the V-PET™ kit.  A platelet concentrate was created using Pearl’s own blood and injected directly into her affected knee.  Dr. Mullen reported that her knee became sound again and is so far doing great!

If you are wondering whether Veterinary Platelet Enhancement Therapy may help your pet, speak to your veterinarian today.  Or you can contact us to locate a veterinarian in your area who provides platelet and/or stem cell therapy.

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Apr 26, 2019

VetStem Cell Therapy for Canine Dry Eye

Posted by Bob under Dog Stem Cells

As most of you know, stem cell therapy is most commonly used to treat orthopedic conditions  such as osteoarthritis and injured ligaments.  In previous blogs, we’ve shared that VetStem Cell Therapy may help other conditions such as canine back pain, inflammatory bowel disease, feline kidney disease, and feline gingivostomatitis.  VetStem continues to evaluate the use of stem cells for these disease processes with some favorable results being seen.  Another condition that VetStem is evaluating is canine Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, otherwise known as KCS and commonly referred to as “dry eye.”

This disease of the eye is found in an estimated 35% of dogs.  Symptoms include decreased tear production, discomfort, and potential vision problems.  Studies suggest KCS may be caused by an inflammatory process that leads to the destruction of the tear production glands.  Unfortunately, most dogs with KCS will require lifelong treatment with medications to relieve the symptoms associated with the condition.

The good news is, two recent studies found that symptoms of KCS in dogs were reduced or, in some cases, completely resolved after treatment with adipose-derived stem cells.  To receive treatment, your dog would first undergo a minimally-invasive fat collection procedure.  From the fat, VetStem laboratory technicians will isolate your dog’s stem and regenerative cells to create injectable stem cell doses.  Your veterinarian would then inject the stem cell doses following a protocol that VetStem has established.

If your dog has KCS, speak to your veterinarian to determine if he/she may be eligible for this clinical research program using VetStem Cell Therapy.  You can also contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area.

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Apr 19, 2019

Great Dane Receives Relief from Platelet Therapy

In January, we reported about a Great Dane that was suffering from an injury to her cruciate ligament.  Pinky, who is seven years old and approximately 170 pounds, slipped on a wet driveway and tore her right rear cruciate ligament.  She was non-weight bearing on her injured leg and was unable to go on her daily walks and struggled with her normal activities such as getting in and out of the car and going up the stairs.

Pinky’s owner, Rebecca, was initially told surgery was Pinky’s only option.  Rebecca decided to seek a second opinion with Dr. Douglas Stramel of Advanced Care Veterinary Services.  Dr. Stramel is a Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner and offers advanced pain management techniques including VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy and Veterinary Platelet Enhancement Therapy (V-PET™), which he recommended to aid Pinky’s ailing knee.

After a simple blood collection, Pinky’s blood was run through the V-PET™ system to create an injectable platelet concentrate rich in natural healing cells.  The concentrate was injected into Pinky’s injured knee and the healing cells began their work.

Pinky had a fabulous response to platelet therapy and was able to resume her daily walks and regular activities!  You can read the rest of Pinky’s journey here.

We recently checked in with Dr. Stramel and Rebecca to see how Pinky is doing.  Pinky is over 8 months out since her last treatment with platelet therapy and according to her mom she is doing great!  She walks a total of about 1.5-2 miles per day and Rebecca stated, “she is full of energy and gets very excited when I ask if she wants to go for a walk.  At night when she sees the motion detection lights in the backyard, she runs out the door to go chase opossums.  She has no trouble going up and down stairs and does so easily.”  While Pinky continues to take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory, Dr. Stramel pointed out that she takes a dose that is about 75mg lower than a typical dose for a dog her size.  Way to go Pinky!

If your dog has injured a tendon or ligament or suffers from osteoarthritis, speak to your veterinarian about V-PET™ and VetStem Cell Therapy to determine which may help your dog.

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Apr 12, 2019

Guest Blog: Stem Cells for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

This week, we would like to share a guest blog from one of our veterinary clients, Dr. Joel Stone.  Dr. Stone is a feline practitioner at All Cat Clinic in Englewood, CO.  He received his DVM from Colorado State University in 1990 followed by his PhD from the University of California, Davis in 1995.  Dr. Stone has been credentialed to perform VetStem Cell Therapy since 2010.  Below he describes his experience with one of his stem cell patients, a cat named Adobe.  Adobe was treated under one of VetStem’s clinical research programs for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

When I was in High School, I had an awesome teacher named Craig Cogswell.  One of the discussions his students would have every week, was to tell the class if anything “Good and New” had happened in the life of his students in the prior week.  I am not sure why this has stuck with me for all these years (I am not sure I can tell you about anything else I learned in the class), but I have always tried to appreciate anything in my life that is “good and new.” As a veterinarian, you learn new things almost every day.  I want to tell you about a case that I would describe as good and new.

Adobe is an 8-year-old, female neutered domestic medium hair cat that I had initially seen on June 14th, 2016 (when she was 5 years old).  Adobe and her owners, Pam and Paul, had come to the All Cat Clinic to get a second opinion on why Adobe would vomit nearly every day.  She had been on prednisolone once a day for the previous 2 years to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but Adobe still was vomiting nearly every day.   To be honest with you, this is not necessarily an unusual case.  Cats can vomit for many different reasons. After ruling out bacterial, viral and parasitic reasons for vomiting, I started by trying to determine if she had a food allergy that was making her vomit.  I asked her owners to feed a sample of a diet called Z/D, gave an anti-inflammatory injection that lasts about 7 days and asked the owners to get back with me in about a week.  Her owners said that she did great for about 2 weeks without vomiting but would not eat the Z/D diet.  Adobe’s owners are retired and travel frequently so they asked if I could give a similar medication that lasted longer.  After performing blood work and a urine analysis to rule out reasons for vomiting that are not related to IBD, I agreed to give an injection of a drug called Depo-Medrol (methylprednisolone).  I also suggested another hypo-allergenic diet called the HP diet.  After a few weeks, the owners were happy to report that Adobe liked the HP diet and felt it reduced vomiting and along with the Depo-Medrol injection eliminated vomiting for about 1 month.

From a veterinarian perspective, this is good and bad.  It is good that Adobe finally had some relief from persistent vomiting, but it is bad that this is a treatment that can cause harm, particularly when given repeatedly.  It is known to cause diabetes and a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, that I wanted to avoid.  Therefore, I started recommending alternative drugs that reduced this risk, but still relieved the vomiting.  The problem I faced was that Adobe does not like to take oral medications.  After attempting several alternative medications, we were forced to fall back to giving the injectable drug Depo-Medrol, which we did monthly for about 2 years.  Adobe started showing clinical signs of diabetes after receiving steroidal medication for 4 years – 2 years on prednisolone daily and 2 years on Depo-Medrol monthly.  Her blood glucose was moderately elevated, and she started having glucose in her urine.  Clearly, we needed to do something different.

I had read about a newer treatment involving the use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) to treat inflammatory bowel disease that had shown promise.  A published paper had shown that 5/7 cats with IBD were significantly improved or had complete resolution of clinical signs whereas the controls had no improvement (1).  A canine IBD study reported 9/11 dogs had clinical remission (2).  These data support the idea that adult stem cells could provide the immunoregulation necessary to control IBD in cats and dogs.

I discussed this option with Pam and Paul who agreed to let me surgically collect 94.5 grams of adipose tissue from the abdomen and ship the fat to San Diego to process this fat tissue at a company called VetStem.  They isolated 25.4 million mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) from the fat I had sent them, then sent these cells a day later to the All Cat Clinic in Colorado to slowly inject the cells intravenously into Adobe.  The procedure corresponded with the time that Adobe would have received the Depo-Medrol, which we did not give.

The owners reported that the week following the MSC injection, Adobe’s attitude was much improved.  Being the week beyond the time that Adobe usually received the Depo-Medrol, the improvement seen in Adobe’s behavior is significant.  Adobe was not acting “sickly”, wasn’t cowering, wanted to be petted by the owners and had a good appetite. Adobe had 3 episodes of vomiting the 1st week following the MSC injection, but these episodes included small amounts of whole food instead of large digested kibble.  Starting the second week post-MSC injection, Adobe started showing signs of lethargy, was quiet, and eating less food.  On Nov. 14th, a repeat blood panel and urine analysis was performed which was normal, except for mild renal insufficiency.  The hyperglycemia and glucosuria was resolved.  Subcutaneous fluids, along with famotidine, mirtazapine and Cerenia were given.  Adobe was also treated for mild/moderate ear infection and mild conjunctivitis.  Adobe responded well to the appetite stimulants, anti-nausea, ear, eye and fluid therapy treatments and a second MSC injection was scheduled.

On Nov. 28th, a second MSC injection was given.  Following this injection, Adobe improved significantly.  Owner stated that Adobe was acting like a younger version of herself, no vomiting was seen and had a good appetite.  Two weeks following the 2nd injection of MSC and 3 months since the last Depo-Medrol injection, Adobe was reported to be doing extremely well.  The only major concern was that Adobe’s hair appeared to be thinning.  The literature reveals the opposite effect with hair growth usually occurring after MSC injections.  It is possible that after such a long period of steroid treatment that hair loss might be a response to withdrawal and subsequent cellular “normalizing” prior to hair regrowth.

Currently Adobe is doing very well.  She has not been vomiting for about 4 months.  We haven’t needed to treat the chronic vomiting with methylprednisolone (Depo-Medrol) since starting the MSC therapy.  Adobe had alopecia/hair thinning for about 2 months after the MSC therapy, but most recently, has regained her normal hair coat.

From my perspective, this treatment can be categorized as “new and good.”  It is a little early to know just how good this new treatment modality will be in clinical practice, but as new cases present themselves and we gather more information, my hope is that we will be able to say that MSC treatment is “new and very good!”

 

1)  Webb, TL and Webb, CB.  Stem cell therapy in cats with chronic enteropathy:  a proof-of-concept study.  J Fel Med and Surg (2015) 17 (10):901-908.

2)  Perez-Merino E.M., Uson-Casaus J.M., Zaragoza-Bayle C., Duque-Carrasco J., Marinas-Pardo L., Hermida-Prieto M., et al.  Safety and efficacy of allogeneic adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells for treatment of dogs with inflammatory bowel disease:  Clinical and laboratory outcomes.  Vet J (2015) 206(3), 385-390.

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Apr 5, 2019

VetStem Cell Therapy Helps Arthritic Sun Bear at San Diego Zoo

In case anyone missed our recent news release, we wanted to share an exciting story about a sun bear named Francis.  Francis is a 21-year-old resident of the world-famous San Diego Zoo.  Several years ago, he was diagnosed with arthritis in his ankle, for which he has been receiving treatment to keep him comfortable.  Last Spring, however, Francis began showing signs of arthritis in additional joints, so a CT scan was performed.  The results revealed that he had arthritis in several joints, the worst of which was in his hips and elbows.  Though he was prescribed additional pain medications, San Diego Zoo veterinarian, Dr. Deena Brenner felt additional treatment was needed.  That’s where we come in.

VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy has been used to treat over 14,000 patients for a variety of ailments including arthritis and soft tissue injuries.  The Zoo reached out to VetStem to inquire about stem cell therapy for the sun bear, after which Francis underwent a fat sample collection just like our dogs, cats, and horses do.  His fat was processed at the VetStem laboratory to create injectable stem cell doses of Francis’ own stem and regenerative cells.  And in September 2018, with the assistance of local San Diego veterinary surgeon, Dr. Holly Mullen, Francis received stem cell injections into his arthritic joints and also intravenously.

According to the article that came out in the March 2019 issue of ZooNooz, three keepers evaluated Francis before and after he received VetStem Cell Therapy and found that his symptoms were reduced and he was climbing more!  VetStem received follow-up evaluations at 60- and 90-days post stem cell therapy and he reportedly continued to do well.

We feel very fortunate and proud to be able to help special creatures like Francis.  While stem cell therapy for zoo animals is not yet widely practiced, success stories like this may lead to broader applications of the therapeutic modality for all animals.

Francis

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Mar 29, 2019

Stem Cells in Conjunction with Surgery

Posted by Bob under Dog Stem Cells, Stem Cell Therapy

We recently posted a blog entitled “Stem Cell Therapy vs. Surgery” but what about stem cells in conjunction with surgery?  Well, stem cells can absolutely be used in conjunction with surgery and may further benefit the healing process and overall patient outcome.

Stem cells are anti-inflammatory and can modulate pain.  They have been shown to have the ability to reduce scar tissue formation, regenerate cartilage tissue, and restore elasticity to injured tendons and ligaments.  When stem cell therapy is combined with a surgery, the animal gets benefit from both treatments.  For instance, if a dog has a torn cruciate ligament that requires surgical repair, performing stem cell therapy in conjunction with the surgery may lead to reduced healing time, less pain/more comfort during recovery, and less scar tissue, which may ultimately lead to less arthritis down the road.  The same goes for arthroscopy, in which a veterinarian clears arthritic joint space of abnormal bone or cartilage.  Injecting stem cells after surgery may lead to healthy cartilage regeneration and ultimately more comfort for the patient.

Cruciate ligament repair and arthroscopy are two common procedures that we see used in conjunction with stem cell therapy.  For instance, Lady received VetStem Cell Therapy in conjunction with cruciate ligament repair surgery while Pearl received VetStem Cell Therapy in conjunction with arthroscopy to treat arthritis in her elbows.  Another patient, Sheldon, received VetStem Cell Therapy after arthroscopy to treat arthritis related to Fragmented Coronoid Process (FCP) in his elbows.

If your veterinarian has recommended surgery to repair a torn tendon or ligament or to treat arthritis, ask about adding on VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy to further benefit the healing process.  Or, if you would like a list of VetStem providers in your area, send us a Locate a Vet request.

Sheldon after Arthroscopy and VetStem Cell Therapy

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Mar 22, 2019

Veterinarian Highlight: Dr. Holly Mullen DVM, DACVS

This week we present another veterinarian highlight telling about her experiences with Regenerative Veterinary Medicine!  Dr. Holly Mullen is a Regenerative Veterinary Medicine proponent and also happens to be right in our backyard in San Diego, California.  Dr. Mullen is a board-certified surgeon who works at VCA Emergency Animal Hospital and Referral Center.  Dr. Mullen received her DVM from Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in 1985.  She then went on to complete an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the Animal Medical Center in New York City (AMC) followed by a residency in small animal surgery also at AMC.  She received her board certification in veterinary surgery in 1990 and was staff surgeon at AMC until joining her current hospital in 1995.

Dr. Mullen has been offering VetStem Cell Therapy since 2007 and has provided stem cell services for over 60 stem cell patients.  She has also been utilizing Veterinary Platelet Enhancement Therapy (V-PET™) since 2015.

  1. Explain why you’re a big proponent of VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy.

Regenerative medicine (stem cells and PRP [platelet rich plasma]) is an important part of my surgery practice.  VetStem’s excellent customer relations, high quality control and careful processing and storage of the cells are a few of the many reasons I feel very comfortable using this company for my patient’s stem cell needs. Regenerative medicine offers a new frontier for minimally invasive, effective and safe treatments for many diseases and conditions. I offer stem cell therapy to the majority of my orthopedic surgical patients and arthritic patients, but it can also be used to help patients with medical conditions such as kidney, liver, bowel and skin diseases. I have offered stem cell therapy as a treatment modality since 2007, after taking the VetStem Credentialing Course for veterinarians. Since then, I have been very pleased with the high rate of successful response to treatment in my dog and cat patients; over 95% of my patients have had excellent responses to treatment. I have also participated in stem cell therapy in both a sea lion and a sun bear, with similarly good results. I am a big proponent of VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy because I see the huge positive difference it makes in the lives of my patients and their families.

  1. Please describe your ideal stem cell patient- what criteria must they meet in order to recommend stem cell therapy?

The ideal stem cell patient is a dog or cat who is suffering from a condition that we know stem cells can help with. They should be healthy enough to undergo the brief anesthetic procedure to harvest the fat from which the stem cells will be extracted. They also should not have conditions such as severe muscle atrophy that might prevent them from having a good response to treatment. Some patients with advanced cancers, in very debilitated body condition, and/or multiple serious medical concerns may not be good candidates for stem cell therapy. While often results seem miraculous, stem cell therapy cannot “cure everything”. However, dogs and cats with significant arthritis can walk comfortably, chronic wounds and fractures can heal, and post-op joint surgery patients can walk sooner and be more comfortable after having regenerative therapy.

  1. What advice can you offer pet owners considering stem cell therapy for their pet?

My advice is to educate yourself now about stem cell therapy and ask your veterinarian if it would help your pet. Also, give stem cell therapy a try if your veterinarian recommends it! It is safe and effective, almost all patients have very good results and it may reduce or prevent the need for other standard medications or even surgical procedures in some cases. Be sure to visit the VetStem web site for a thorough explanation of stem cell and PRP therapies; don’t miss the testimonials to read how other pet parent’s experiences have been. Ask your friends and relatives if they have had regenerative medicine treatments themselves; a portion of my patients were brought to me by owners who knew someone, or themselves had had stem cell or PRP therapy with positive results and wanted the same for their pet. Regenerative Cell Therapy is amazing!

 

We appreciate Dr. Mullen taking her time to participate in this week’s veterinarian highlight!  If you are in the San Diego area and are looking for an experienced stem cell provider, Dr. Mullen is an excellent choice!  As she stated, she has had many successful stem cell and platelet therapy cases including Knuckles and Pearl.  (And did you catch that part about working with a sun bear?!  Stay tuned for some exciting news…)

Dr. Holly Mullen

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Mar 15, 2019

Rascal has a Renewed Interest in Life After Stem Cell Therapy

Rascal, a mixed-breed rescue dog with one eye, suffered a cruciate ligament tear just six weeks after he was adopted.  Though the ligament was surgically repaired, he developed arthritis in the joint that caused problems with his mobility as he aged.

When he was around nine years old, he began walking stiffly and was having trouble jumping into the van.  Rascal’s veterinarian, Dr. Deborah Fegan of Big Creek Pet Hospital, determined that he had arthritis in both knees and both hips as well.  She recommended treatment with VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy.

After stem cell therapy, Rascal had a ‘renewed interest in life’ according to his mom.  His mobility improved along with his energy level and he began playing with his newly adopted Lab brother.  You can read the rest of Rascal’s story here.

It has been almost one year since Rascal received stem cell therapy and his mom reported that he’s still doing very well!  She stated, “He is coming upstairs more than ever and with no discomfort.  He goes on his daily walks, and there is no need to shorten them in any way.  Rascal continues to play with his brother.  At this point, he is showing no signs of limping, discomfort or lack of interest in daily activities.  Quite the opposite, he is having an active senior life and enjoying every minute of it.”  Yay, Rascal!

It is not uncommon for arthritis to develop in joints after traumatic injuries, even when surgical repair is performed.  Stem cell therapy may provide long-term anti-inflammatory effects, decrease pain, and stimulate regeneration of cartilage tissue that slows the degenerative process of arthritis.

If your dog has suffered a tendon or ligament injury or has arthritis, contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area.

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