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
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Nov 22, 2019

Documentary Featuring VetStem Receives Another Award

Posted by Bob under VetStem Cell Therapy

In our blog about translational medicine, we announced that VetStem was featured in an award-winning documentary, Animal Pharm: Where Beasts Meet BiotechThe film was included in the Brentwood and Pacific Palisades International Film Festival in Los Angeles, California where it received the award for Best Nature and Animals Film.

The documentary focuses on regenerative veterinary medicine as a means of improving the quality of life for domestic and wild animals and heavily features VetStem, including an interview with VetStem Founder and CEO Dr. Bob Harman.  Dr. Harman explains that when he first conceived of and formed VetStem, he was called “crazy.” Over time however the thinking has evolved so that regenerative medicine is now regarded as a legitimate and valuable tool for veterinarians.

We recently received the exciting news that the film will be featured in the Palm Beach International Mini Movie and Film Festival on December 9th in Palm Beach, Florida.  Not only will the film be featured, the producers will also be presented with the award for Best Documentary!  Congratulations to everyone involved in the making of the film.

We are proud to be a part of this film and believe that it provides a great service to the public by providing legitimate education about cell therapy in the veterinary field and how this can assist the field of human stem cell therapy.    

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Nov 15, 2019

Stem Cells for Cats: An Overview

Posted by Bob under Cat Arthritis, Cat Stem Cells

A few weeks ago, our sales and marketing team was at the American Association of Feline Practitioners conference in San Francisco, CA.  So, we thought it an appropriate time to discuss stem cell therapy for cats.  This blog will give you an overview of some of the conditions that veterinarians have treated with VetStem Cell Therapy.

Veterinarians have used VetStem Cell Therapy to treat a variety of conditions in their feline patients, one of which is osteoarthritis.  Though we primarily think of dogs when it comes to osteoarthritis, cats are not immune to the disease.  Their symptoms however may be more subdued or even unnoticeable to their owners- cats tend to be masters at hiding their illnesses.  Some signs to look out for include a decreased activity level, an inability to jump to high places, and missing the litterbox.  In addition to osteoarthritis, veterinarians have used VetStem Cell Therapy to treat cruciate ligament injuries and fractures in cats.

Veterinarians also use VetStem Cell Therapy for the treatment of internal medicine and immune-mediated diseases in cats through our Clinical Research Programs.  A large population of VetStem’s feline patients have been treated for Chronic Kidney Disease.  Based upon data from a small number of feline patients treated with VetStem Cell Therapy, blood kidney values were slightly to moderately improved after treatment.  The goal of our current clinical research program for feline Chronic Kidney Disease is to gather additional data and to better understand the effects of stem cell therapy on these cats.

Two additional clinical research programs are for the treatment of feline Gingivostomatitis and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  Gingivostomatitis is a painful disease that affects the mouth of cats and can lead to full mouth teeth extractions.  Two small studies conducted at the University of California Davis in cats with full mouth teeth extractions showed favorable results after receiving stem cell therapy for this condition. VetStem believes that stem cells may help without cats having to undergo full mouth teeth extractions.  Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder which can cause diarrhea, vomiting, inappetence, and weight loss.  In a recently published paper, 5 out of 7 IBD cats that were treated with stem cells were significantly improved or had complete resolution of symptoms whereas the 4 control cats had no improvement.  Since this disease can also affect dogs, VetStem is evaluating the use of stem cells in both species with this condition.

Though this is not an all-inclusive list, the above conditions are those that are most commonly treated in cats with VetStem Cell Therapy. As always, if you think your cat may benefit from stem cells, speak to your veterinarian or contact us for a list of VetStem providers in your area.

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Nov 8, 2019

November is Senior Pet Month

Posted by Bob under Dog Arthritis, Dog Stem Cells

It is officially November, which happens to be Senior Pet Month!  We wanted to highlight senior pets in this week’s blog as we all know that senior pets may be more at risk of developing osteoarthritis.  While dogs and cats of all ages may develop osteoarthritis, studies have indicated that senior dogs are more often diagnosed with osteoarthritis, in part due to the age-related break down of joint tissues such as cartilage, ligaments, and bone.

There is also speculation that senior pets are more often diagnosed with osteoarthritis because symptoms become more prevalent as the disease worsens.  Therefore, owners are more likely to notice symptoms such as limping and stiffness as their pet ages, which often leads to a trip to the veterinarian for diagnosis/treatment.

Maverick, a Golden Retriever, was adopted at 8 years old with osteoarthritis.  Fortunately, his new parents sought VetStem Cell Therapy for his condition and he experienced an improved quality of life.

VetStem Cell Therapy Recipient Maverick

It is important to note however that dogs and cats may develop osteoarthritis at any age.  For instance, if a dog is born with joint dysplasia (malformed joints), he is more likely to develop osteoarthritis at a younger age than a dog born with properly formed joints.  One example is Jack who was showing symptoms of osteoarthritis before he was even a year old.

VetStem Cell Therapy Recipient Jack

The good news is, VetStem Cell Therapy has shown to help pets, both young and old, with osteoarthritis.  Stem cells have been demonstrated to regenerate joint tissues and reduce inflammation.  They also have pain blocking mechanisms that may lead to increased comfort for painful pets.  If your pet, no matter their age, has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis or is showing signs of the disease, speak to your veterinarian about the possibility of treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy.  Or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area.

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Oct 25, 2019

Veterinarian Highlight: Jerrold Bausman, DVM

Posted by Bob under Cat Stem Cells, Dog Stem Cells

This week we’d like to introduce you to a longtime VetStem user, Dr. Jerrold Bausman of VCA Veterinary Specialists of the Valley.  Dr. Bausman received his DVM from Kansas State University after which he completed a small animal surgical internship and residency at Animal Specialty Group in Los Angeles.  While Dr. Bausman’s practice is focused on surgical cases, he frequently treats patients with osteoarthritis using VetStem Cell Therapy.  Dr. Bausman has been utilizing VetStem Cell Therapy since 2007 and has provided VetStem services for nearly 70 patients including our favorite 3-legged mini Aussie, Mandy.  Another memorable patient was a cat named Small, who was treated for a fracture and osteoarthritis.  Small’s family came all the way from India to receive VetStem Cell Therapy.

We recently asked Dr. Bausman a few questions about VetStem Cell Therapy.  See his answers below.

What injuries/ailments do you typically treat with VetStem Cell Therapy?

I primarily treat osteoarthritis.  Next in line to that would be tendinopathies including traumatic rupture, avulsion or tendon laceration repairs.  More specifically – I treat hip arthritis, followed by elbows for OA then I’d say biceps or supraspinatus tendinopathies.

When is a patient not a good candidate for stem cell therapy?

In my opinion a patient is not a good candidate for stem cell therapy if they have an ailment that stem cells will not assist in.  Let me clarify with an example – cranial cruciate ligament tear.  I have some clients that think stem cell therapy will fix the CCL tear.  That patient is not a good candidate for CCL repair with stem cells.  That patient’s stifle will benefit from stem cells – but they are not going to fix the torn ligament.  Aside from that, it’s anesthetic risk.  I have some patients that are excellent candidates for stem cell therapy BUT are such anesthetic/surgical risks that I do not recommend harvesting (fat for stem cell therapy).  In these cases, I would consider PRP.

You’ve been providing VetStem services for over 10 years.  Why is VetStem your go-to stem cell provider?

VetStem is my go-to stem cell provider because in over 10 years I have never had a single bad experience with them.  And that spans the gamut from quality of product, product delivery and patient outcomes through quality of customer service.  You can always count on a friendly helpful person on the phone every time we call.  And lastly innovation.  I love that VetStem is leading the way in regenerative therapy.

Dr. Jerrold Bausman

We appreciate Dr. Bausman taking the time to speak with us about his use of VetStem Cell Therapy.  If you’re looking for a VetStem provider in the Los Angeles area, contact VCA Veterinary Specialists of the Valley for a consult.

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Oct 18, 2019

How Owning Pets May Improve Our Lives

Posted by Bob under Cat Ownership, Dog Ownership

Most pet owners know that having a pet comes with many bonuses.  Pets provide companionship, entertainment, and unconditional love.  But did you know that pets may have a positive effect on our ,mental and physical health as well?

There have been several observational studies that have pointed to the potential health benefits of owning a pet.  A recent review of nearly 70 years of global research concluded that owning a dog may reduce your risk of death.  Notably, pet owners have demonstrated reduced blood pressure, lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels, and therefore, reduced cardiovascular disease.

It has been observed that pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression, loneliness, and anxiety.  While playing with a dog or cat can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, one study found that simply watching cat videos can boost energy and positive emotions while reducing negative feelings.

Dog ownership has also been linked to an increase in exercise for the owner.  Most dog owners take their dogs for walks while some choose to run or hike with their canine companion.  This also gets the owner outside and around other dog owners where you may potentially make new friends.

While most studies have pointed to dogs and/or cats, other pets may bring health benefits as well!  For example, watching a fish in an aquarium may help reduce muscle tension and lower your pulse rate.  Another example would include horse owners who may get outside frequently to care for or ride their horse(s).  This type of structure and routine can help to give you purpose while keeping you balanced and calm.

We agree that pets improve our lives in many ways and most of our employees have at least one pet.  Meet some of our employees’ pets below!

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Oct 11, 2019

Golden Retriever Gets Relief from VetStem Cell Therapy

Seve is a senior Golden Retriever who, earlier this year, was diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis in his hips.  His owners noticed that his back legs would go out from under him and he seemed to be a little “gimpy.” 

After the diagnosis, his veterinarian, Dr. Cindy Echevarria of VCA University Animal Hospital recommended treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy.  Seve initially received three stem cell injections: one into each hip and one intravenously in January 2019.

Seve had a great response to his initial treatment and his mom was very pleased.  You can catch up on Seve’s story here.

When we reached out to Seve’s mom in July, she reported that he was showing symptoms of discomfort again.  His back legs became a bit less stable and started to go out from under him again.  Fortunately, Seve still had several stem cell doses banked from his initial fat collection procedure.  The doses Seve had banked were available for treatment at the request of Dr. Echevarria.

In August of 2019, Seve received his second treatment utilizing his banked stem cells.  The same injection protocol was followed: one in each hip and one intravenously.  We recently spoke with Seve’s owner and once again he had a great response to the therapy.  His owner reported that he’s feeling much better.

Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease, so Seve’s story is a good example to point out that it is not uncommon for arthritic dogs to require additional treatments to keep them feeling comfortable.  We emphasize that every patient is different in so many ways: from severity of the disease being treated, to lifestyle, to how they handle and show pain.  Thus, it is impossible to predict how each patient will respond and we think it is important that pet owners have the proper expectations when it comes to stem cell therapy. 

What we do know is that stem cells have been shown to reduce pain and inflammation, and to regenerate joint tissues, all of which may improve the quality of life for an arthritic dog like Seve.  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.

Seve
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Oct 4, 2019

Bunji Received Surgery and Platelet Therapy for Broken Forelimb

We recently received news that one of VetStem’s most experienced users, Dr. Jeff Christiansen, treated an extra special patient with surgery and Platelet Rich Plasma using a kit that was donated by VetStem.  But what makes this patient so special, you ask?  Well, it was a Kangaroo! 

Bunji is a 2-year-old Red Kangaroo who lives at the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Florida.  In July during the daily morning check-in, his keepers found him injured and while it was clear he had broken bones, there was no known cause of the injury.  X-rays revealed he had fractured his radius and ulna in his right forelimb and surgery was indicated to ensure proper healing.

X-ray of Bunji’s broken limb

Dr. Christiansen, a veterinary surgical specialist, was called in for the job and performed the surgery on Bunji.  A plate was placed to hold the bones together.  He also used Bunji’s own bone marrow to aid in healing the fracture site.  Lastly, he treated Bunji with Platelet Rich Plasma utilizing the Genesis CS-2 kit, which is typically used to treat horses. 

First, Dr. Christiansen collected blood from Bunji, which he then centrifuged to concentrate the platelets.  Once the platelets were concentrated and collected, he injected the platelet rich plasma directly into Bunji’s surgical site.  Platelets, when exposed to damaged tissue, release signals to attract healing cells to both speed up and increase the quality of healing.

Bunji spent approximately two months in recovery at the zoo animal clinic before he was returned to the Kangaroo Walkabout.  He is reported to be doing well and seems happy to be reunited with his Kangaroo buddies.  Though we have not done any work with a Kangaroo before, Bunji is not the first exotic animal that VetStem veterinarians have treated.  In April, we reported that a Sun Bear at the San Diego Zoo received VetStem Cell Therapy for his arthritis.    

Bunji
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Sep 27, 2019

Signs That Your Pet May Be in Pain

Posted by Bob under Pain in Pets

As we close out Animal Pain Awareness Month, we wanted to leave you with some information to help you determine if your pet may be experiencing pain.  Unfortunately, pets cannot talk to us to let us know if there is a problem.  Thus, we must rely on other methods to decipher whether they are experiencing any pain.  One of the best methods to determine if your pet is in pain is to observe their behavior.

As we discussed in a recent blog, there are several causes of pain, both acute and chronic.  Acute pain may be more obvious while chronic pain may be more subtle.  Often, chronic pain is misconstrued as “getting old” but the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM) is quick to point out that age is not a disease.  Pain however is a disease and pain management is important to maintain your pet’s quality of life.

So how do you know if your pet is experiencing pain?  Aside from the more obvious signs such as limping, one of the best ways to determine whether your pet may be in pain is a change in their behavior.  This can include an increase in anxiety, depression, or aggression as well as decreased social interaction or play.  Your pet may become less active or have difficulty doing things that were not a problem before.  For instance, they may have trouble getting up from lying down or they may have difficulty jumping or going up and down stairs.

Other changes may include decreased grooming, particularly for cats.  Some pets however over-groom areas of pain and may lick or bite excessively at an area that hurts.  They may also experience decreased appetite as well as changes in their bathroom habits.  Changes in posture as well as increased respiration or excessive panting can also be a sign of pain.  You can view an extensive list of symptoms for both dogs and cats on the IVAPM website.

It is important to keep an eye out for signs that your pet may be in pain.  Pain management is an invaluable tool in maintaining happy and healthy pets.  Last week, we introduced you to Veterinary Pain Specialist, Dr. Douglas Stramel.  While his practice focuses primarily on pain management, all veterinarians are equipped to handle painful pets in some capacity.  Your veterinarian may also be able to recommend a local pain specialist if you’re seeking a more in-depth approach to pain management.

As always, 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. 

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Sep 20, 2019

Veterinarian Highlight: Pain Specialist Dr. Douglas Stramel

Posted by Bob under Pain in Pets

As we shared last week, September is proclaimed as Animal Pain Awareness Month by the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM).  Keeping with our theme of pain awareness, we would like to introduce you to veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner, Dr. Douglas Stramel of Advanced Care Veterinary Services in Carrollton, Texas.  Dr Stramel is the first and only Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and is also the President-Elect of IVAPM.

As the President of IVAPM, Dr. Stramel takes pain management very seriously and has made it a primary focus of his veterinary practice.  He employs advanced multi-modal pain management protocols including physical therapy, acupuncture, shock wave, laser therapy, and, you guessed it, regenerative medicine.

Dr. Stramel has been credentialed to perform VetStem Cell Therapy since 2007.  He is also an experienced user of Veterinary Platelet Enhancement Therapy (V-PET™).  One of his patients, a Great Dane named Pinky, received V-PET™ for a ruptured cruciate ligament last Summer.  After treatment, she was able to resume her daily walks and normal activities.  You can read Pinky’s story here.

We recently caught up with Dr. Stramel to ask him a few questions about his practice and pain awareness.  See his answers below.

What does it mean to be a Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner?

This certification indicates that someone successfully completed advanced training in pain management.  Certification holders demonstrate an advanced knowledge in assessing, diagnosing and treating painful conditions in animals. The certificate is made possible through the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM) to both doctors and technicians.


How do you incorporate the use of regenerative medicine (stem cells and/or platelet therapy) into your pain practice?

In my practice, we have used regenerative medicine in many different cases, such as cruciate ligament injuries, arthritic joints, inflamed tendons and spinal injuries.  The most common use at this point in time is part of a treatment plan for cruciate ligament injuries.  We have even used Stem Cell Therapy to help reduce skin allergies.


Why is pet pain awareness so important?

Today’s pet owner is looking for alternatives to “just giving a pill” or to “surgery”.  Veterinary medicine has made some great advancements in the last 10 years and we now have the ability to help many different painful conditions that we struggled with in the past.  Client’s pets are living longer and are part of the family, they want their pets to live pain-free lives as they are living longer.  Our clients are realizing that “acting old” is not a real diagnosis and that a pet that “acts old” is really painful and they want more than just a pill to help their furry family member out.  This goes beyond the “typical” pet and includes horses, exotics, pocket pets and farm animals as well.  Through IVAPM we are advocating for best practices in the treatment of animals in pain and have selected September as Animal Pain Awareness month to correspond with Human Pain Awareness Month.

If you’re looking for a veterinary pain specialist and are in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, check out Dr. Stramel.  And thank you, Dr. Stramel, for taking the time to answer our questions!

Tune in next week as we continue our pain awareness theme to learn some of the signs and symptoms that may indicate your pet is in pain.

Dr. Douglas Stramel
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