Aug 7, 2020

Injured Veteran’s Dog Receives Stem Cells and Platelet Therapy

Posted by Bob under Dog Stem Cells, Platelet Therapy

This week is International Assistance Dog Week (IADW). Information from the IADW website states, “International Assistance Dog Week was created to recognize all the devoted, hardworking assistance dogs helping individuals mitigate their disability related limitations.” To show our support of this well-deserved recognition, we wanted to highlight Max, a service dog to a disabled army veteran. According to an article from Florida Today, Max has been a trained companion for U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Edward Johnson since 2014. Sgt. Johnson, a purple heart recipient, was shot in the head during combat in Iraq in 2006 and was left with a traumatic brain injury. Max helps Sgt. Johnson cope with PTSD and other debilitating ailments related to his injuries.

Max at the vet

In 2017, Max was diagnosed with a torn cruciate ligament. He was obviously in pain and in need of surgery and other medical procedures. Fortunately, his story got out and through donations and good will, Max was able to have surgery. His surgeon, Dr. Jeff Christiansen of Superior Veterinary Surgical Solutions, donated his services and organized donations from several others as well. As an experienced VetStem provider, Dr. Christiansen recommended stem cell and platelet therapy in conjunction with the surgery to aid Max’s healing. VetStem provided a free Veterinary Platelet Enhancement Therapy kit as well as discounted stem cell processing services.

According to Dr. Christiansen, Max recovered completely. Unfortunately, Max suffered a second cruciate rupture in his other leg just over two years after the initial surgery. Once again, Dr. Christiansen and several companies, including VetStem, stepped up to provide this dog with top-notch care. Max received surgery on his other knee in addition to stem cells and platelet therapy. In this video from Dr. Christiansen, Max can be seen working on his at home exercises with his dad.

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Jul 31, 2020

FDA Approved Stem Cell Clinical Trial for COVID-19

Posted by Bob under COVID-19, Stem Cell Therapy

It is with immense pride that we announce our human company, Personalized Stem Cells, recently received FDA approval to treat COVID-19 patients in an upcoming clinical trial. Read PSC’s blog below:

Personalized Stem Cells (PSC) recently received FDA approval to treat COVID-19 patients with stem cells in an upcoming clinical trial. In April, we announced that we filed an expedited IND at the request of the White House Coronavirus Task Force to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients. This approval is incredibly significant because patients will be treated with disease-screened, quality tested donor cells as opposed to their own stem cells. This is known as allogeneic stem cell therapy and is different from PSC’s current FDA approved clinical trial in which patients receive their own stem cells (autologous) to treat knee osteoarthritis.

Stem Cell Therapy for COVID-19

PSC has become a leader in the field, recently publishing a landmark peer-reviewed scientific article on the rationale behind using stem cells to treat COVID-19. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have demonstrated the capacity to inhibit lung damage, reduce inflammation, dampen immune responses and aid with alveolar fluid clearance. Additionally, MSCs produce molecules that are antimicrobial and reduce pain. Recently, the application of MSCs in the context of ongoing COVID-19 disease and other viral respiratory illnesses has demonstrated reduced patient mortality and, in some cases, improved long-term pulmonary function.

Based on information out of Israel, China, Spain and the United States, stem cells have shown promising effectiveness in the treatment of the major medical lung issues caused by COVID-19. Israel recently announced 100% recovery in seven COVID-19 patients who were treated with stem cell therapy. Spanish medical investigators reported on an adipose stem cell study in which 13 COVID-19 patients were treated using a protocol very similar to the one just approved for PSC. According to the results, the mortality rate in the treated patients was significantly decreased.

FDA Approved Clinical Trial: CoronaStem 1

The initial clinical trial, named CoronaStem 1, will include 20 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in California. Once complete, PSC hopes to move into a larger Phase 2 clinical study and potentially into FDA Expanded Use programs or Emergency Use Authorization, which could allow for many more patients to be treated.

In order to rapidly ramp up the production of stem cells for use in the clinical trial, PSC collaborated with Calidi Biotherapeutics, a biotechnology company based in San Diego, California. Calidi provided disease-screened, quality stem cell lines to PSC, enabling us to accelerate the stem cell drug manufacturing process. In addition, sister company and CRO, VetStem Biopharma, provided manufacturing and regulatory support to help make FDA approval a reality.

PSC is not currently soliciting patients for inclusion in CoronaStem 1 due to the limited number of hospitals participating in the study. For more information regarding future clinical trials, please contact us here.

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Jul 24, 2020

July Update: COVID-19 in Animals in the United States

Posted by Bob under COVID-19

It has been a little over a month since our last update regarding COVID-19 and animals in the United States. Altogether, the USDA has reported 18 confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 in animals in the United States. Of these 18 cases, 7 of them were tigers and lions at the Bronx Zoo. The remainder were domestic cats and dogs.  

Ben wearing his dad’s mask for a quick photo op.

On the whole, the narrative remains the same as our previous updates. Based upon the limited number of confirmed positive cases, there are several probable conclusions we can draw:

1. Dogs and cats (as well as other species) can contract COVID-19

2. Most infected pets presumably contracted the virus from an infected pet owner/caregiver

3. Symptoms in dogs and cats tend to be mild, if not completely absent

4. Dogs and cats do not appear to be a source of COVID-19 and the risk of animals spreading the virus to humans appears to be low

With this information, the best we can do is be prepared. According to the CDC and the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are some steps we can take to ensure the well being of ourselves and our families, both 2- and 4-legged.

  • Do not allow pets to interact with people or other animals outside of the home. Keep dogs on a leash and cats indoors and practice social distancing. Avoid public places where large groups of people and animals gather such as dog parks.
  • If you or a household member become sick with COVID-19, whether suspected or confirmed, avoid interaction with your pets as much as possible. If you must interact, wash your hands before and after interaction, wear a face covering (mask), and do not share items such as food, dishes, bedding, or towels.
  • It is wise to prepare an emergency kit for your pets should you be required to quarantine. The AVMA recommends your kit include at least 2 weeks’ worth of food and any needed medications. Additional items to include may be bedding, toys, and any other items to help keep your pet(s) healthy and happy.

For up-to-date information and other resources regarding animals and COVID-19, you can visit the AVMA website and CDC website.

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Jul 17, 2020

Horse Receives VetStem Cell Therapy for Ligament Injuries

Posted by Bob under Horse Injuries, VetStem Cell Therapy

Heartbeat is a 22-year-old Oldenberg gelding. When he was 16, he started to show signs of lameness in his left front leg. Extensive examinations and diagnostics revealed his lameness was due to injuries to his lateral collateral and impar ligaments in his left front hoof.

Heartbeat in the Jumper Ring

His veterinarian, Dr. Patricia Doyle of Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center, recommended treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy and began the process by collecting fat from Heartbeat’s tailhead. The fat was processed at the VetStem laboratory and 3 syringes of Heartbeat’s own stem cells were shipped back to Dr. Doyle for injection into his injured leg.

In addition to VetStem Cell Therapy, Dr. Doyle recommended a slow, regimented rehabilitation program for approximately 8-12 months following Heartbeat’s stem cell treatment. Veterinarian’s may or may not recommend rehabilitation in conjunction with VetStem Cell Therapy depending on several factors such as the condition being treated and the severity of the condition. Some other horses that benefited from rehab after receiving VetStem Cell Therapy are Jesse, Atlas, and Woody.

Following stem cell therapy and one full year of rehab, Heartbeat returned to the jumper ring and has competed successfully at the lower levels for the past 6 years. Now, at age 22, his owner reports, “He remains sound working six days a week on average and still winning in the show ring.” If your horse has suffered an injury or is suddenly lame, speak to your veterinarian about whether or not VetStem Cell Therapy may help. Or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area.

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Jul 10, 2020

Vet has Own Dog Treated with VetStem Cell Therapy for Arthritis

Posted by Bob under Dog Arthritis, VetStem Cell Therapy

Emma is a 12-year-old Australian cattle dog. She has arthritis in her elbows and carpus (wrist) and also has spondylosis, a spinal condition in which bony spurs form along the vertebrae. Fortunately for Emma, her mom is a veterinarian and elected to have Emma treated with VetStem Cell Therapy.

In 2018, Emma had her fat collected to begin the process for stem cell therapy. Her initial treatment consisted of three joint injections for her elbows and right carpus, one intravenous injection, and one injection that was given along the muscles of her spine. She responded well to treatment.

After approximately one year, Emma began to slow down again. Her veterinarian requested that Emma’s stem cells be put into culture to grow more stem cell doses for treatment. Once the culture process was complete, Emma received a second round of stem cell injections just over one year after her first treatment.

Again, Emma responded well to the stem cell treatment but, according to her mom, began to show signs of discomfort approximately one year after her second stem cell treatment. Her mom stated, “What we notice is weakness to her back legs and mild limping on her front legs. She will also lick at her carpi and elbows when her pain is acting up. When her rear legs are weak, we notice she has trouble jumping onto the couch. She also needs to stop and rest frequently when we take her on walks.” Emma received a third stem cell treatment in June of this year. Her mom stated, “I know she would not be alive today if it wasn’t for the stem cell treatment.”

Emma’s story is not uncommon. Many VetStem patients have undergone repeat injections when their symptoms start to flare up again. One such patient is Bodie, the champion Bird Dog with hip dysplasia. Fortunately, VetStem offers stem cell storage for patients who receive VetStem Cell Therapy. If available, the stored stem cells can be used for future treatments as needed. For more information about cell storage, read our recent blog on the subject.

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Jun 26, 2020

New Checklist to Help Detect Osteoarthritis Pain in Cats

Posted by Bob under Cat Arthritis, Cat Stem Cells

When we think of arthritis in our pets, most of us immediately think of dogs. We have all heard about or experienced firsthand dogs with arthritic joints. But what about cats? Well, the truth is, osteoarthritis (OA) in cats is a lot more common than you may think. It is estimated that 45% of all cats and 90% of cats over age 10 are affected by arthritis in some way. Unfortunately, feline arthritis tends to go undiagnosed.

Symptoms of OA in Cats

With such a high percentage of cats potentially affected by arthritis, why is the problem underdiagnosed? The most obvious answer is that most pet owners do not know that their cat has OA because the signs are different than in dogs. The typical symptoms we see in dogs such as limping, stiffness, and pain, are generally not present or are much less noticeable in cats with the same ailment. Cats do not present pain in the same way dogs might. For instance, they do not generally vocalize pain and instead of limping, cats might not jump as well or as high. Knowing the signs is key to helping your veterinarian determine if your cat is affected by OA.

New Checklist to Check for Early Signs of OA

Because cats tend to hide their ailments well, researchers set out to develop a new checklist to help both cat owners and veterinarians determine if a cat is affected by pain associated with OA, also knows as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD). The recent publication analyzed and compiled data from previously conducted studies to develop a short checklist that veterinarians can use to help detect pain associated with DJD. 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.)

What to Do If You Think Your Cat May Have OA

If you answered no to any of the above questions and your cat hasn’t suffered any obvious injury that you know of, this might indicate that your cat may have OA. The first thing to do is make an appointment with your veterinarian to determine the diagnosis. If it is confirmed that your cat has OA, there are several treatment options that may bring your cat relief. The American College of Veterinary Surgeons recommends a multi-modal approach to pain management for arthritic cats. This may include weight management, physical rehabilitation and certain medications. If your cat is prescribed medication for pain, it is important to monitor them closely with your veterinarian to check for adverse side effects.

Stem cell therapy is another natural treatment option for cats with OA. Like dogs, fat is collected from the patient and shipped to the VetStem laboratory. After processing, VetStem will ship your cat’s own stem cells back to the veterinarian in injectable doses. Though the majority of our clinical data is from dogs, cats have responded to VetStem Cell Therapy in a similar way to dogs. Stem cells have shown the ability to reduce pain and inflammation and thereby improve a patient’s quality of life.

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

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Jun 18, 2020

June 18th is Veterinary Appreciation Day™

Posted by Bob under Veterinary Medicine

June 18th is a special day for those of us in the veterinary field. In 2015, Trupanion created Veterinary Appreciation Day™ to recognize and honor veterinary professionals. From the veterinary receptionists and front desk teams to the animal care team, technicians and doctors, veterinary professionals are a dedicated and hardworking bunch of individuals.

While human doctors and nurses often specialize in one field of medicine, veterinary doctors and technicians practice several areas of medicine. Veterinarians, with support from their team, examine and diagnose patients with many different conditions, perform radiography, provide hematologic (blood) analysis, prescribe medication, and perform an array of surgeries and dental prophylaxis. Also, veterinarians are trained to treat more than just one species and none of their patients can tell them what is wrong! Your veterinary hospital is likely a one-stop-shop for all of your pet’s basic needs.

However, some veterinarians pursue advanced training to specialize in fields such as surgery, neurology, ophthalmology, or internal medicine. Veterinary specialists tend to have a wider breadth of knowledge and experience in their specific field of expertise and can often provide diagnoses and services that general practitioners may not be able to. For instance, your regular veterinarian may not have an MRI machine, or they may not be experienced in some of the more advanced orthopedic surgeries.

One thing remains consistent however: veterinarians and their teams are compassionate and dedicated to the health and wellbeing of their patients. For this reason, compassion fatigue is a real and serious concern that may affect veterinary professionals. Working in a veterinary hospital is not all puppy kisses and kitten cuddles. Often, veterinary staff are faced with tough situations which can be emotionally exhausting. Long hours and strenuous physical work can add to the stress that veterinary professionals face.

With the current COVID-19 pandemic, veterinary professionals are under more stress than ever. As essential workers, many veterinary teams have continued to care for our pets amid various shelter-in-place orders. Many veterinary hospitals modified their services, providing only medically necessary procedures. Veterinary team members have donned masks, protective gowns, and/or gloves, and likely visited with their clients and their furry family members in the parking lot, as opposed to the clinic lobby.

Though veterinary work comes with challenges, most veterinarians and their staff continue to love what they do. Helping animals and their owners is very gratifying and can give one the sense of making a difference, something many of us strive to do. Thus, if you have a moment today, take the time to thank your veterinarian and their team. A simple note of thanks can make a huge difference in one’s day!

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Jun 12, 2020

An Update on COVID-19 in Animals in the United States

Posted by Bob under COVID-19

As the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop, we are still learning about how the virus may affect our pets. Since our last COVID-19 blog, there have been some additional developments regarding infected animals in the United States. We have shared some details below and will continue to provide relevant updates.

Update on Pug in North Carolina

In our last blog, we mentioned a pug in North Carolina who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Winston’s human family had all tested positive for COVID-19 so when he began to show signs of respiratory illness, his family took him to the vet. At that time, he tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 however confirmatory testing was still being done by the USDA National Veterinary Service Laboratory (NVSL).

It was recently announced however that the confirmatory testing came back negative. These results suggest that Winston was contaminated with SARS-CoV-2, likely from close interaction with his human family, however the contamination did not develop into an active infection. The virus did not enter his bloodstream or respiratory tract and according to the USDA, there was no evidence of an immune response.

German Shepherd in New York

The good news about Winston comes with the news of another dog who has become the first official positive case of COVID-19 in a dog in the United States. A German shepherd living in New York showed symptoms of respiratory illness and was later confirmed COVID-19 positive by the USDA NVSL. One of the dog’s owners is COVID-19 positive while the other owner had symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Another dog in the household had no symptoms of illness however antibodies were detected in samples suggesting exposure to the virus. The German shepherd is expected to make a full recovery.

Cats Test Positive in Minnesota and Illinois

In addition to the German shepherd, two more cats have recently tested positive for COVID-19. One cat is in Minnesota, the other in Illinois, and both live with owners who also tested positive for the virus. Both are also the first animals in their respective states to test positive for coronavirus.

Update on Tigers and Lions at Bronx Zoo

As we reported previously, the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in an animal in the United States was a tiger at the Bronx Zoo. Shortly after, a lion at the zoo also tested positive. Several of the large cats were exhibiting symptoms and it was recently reported that additional testing confirmed 4 more tigers and 2 more lions were also positive for COVID-19. It is presumed that the large cats were exposed by a zookeeper who was actively shedding the virus. All of the infected cats are reportedly recovering well.

We Still Have More to Learn

We are still learning about this virus and how it may affect animals. At this time, it appears that animals may contract the virus from infected humans however animals do not appear to play a significant role in spreading the virus. The CDC and AVMA continue to recommend avoiding contact with your pets if you have COVID-19.

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Jun 5, 2020

Success Story: VetStem Cell Therapy for Feline Kidney Disease

We’ve shared many blog posts about treating cats with stem cells. Although we primarily process fat from dogs and horses for VetStem Cell Therapy, we’ve provided cell processing services for over 350 cats. Like dogs, cats may benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Veterinarians have also treated cats for a variety of internal medicine diseases utilizing VetStem Cell Therapy. These diseases include Gingivostomatitis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and Chronic Kidney Disease. For more information about stem cell therapy for these conditions, this blog is very helpful: Stem Cells for Cats: An Overview.

One VetStem recipient, a domestic short haired cat name Bender, received VetStem Cell Therapy for kidney disease and had a positive outcome. Bender’s renal issues began when he was four years old. He ingested an unknown poison and ended up in the emergency hospital on IV fluids for seven days. Following this episode, Bender’s bloodwork showed elevated kidney values and he was diagnosed with stage 3 kidney disease.

Bender

Bender’s owner began researching potential treatment options and came across the VetStem website. She requested a list of stem cell providers in her area and was referred to Dr. Mark Parchman of Bend Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center. Together, Dr. Parchman and Bender’s owner agreed to move forward with VetStem Cell Therapy.

To begin the process, Dr. Parchman collected fat from Bender. This fat was shipped to the VetStem laboratory and aseptically processed to extract Bender’s stem and regenerative cells. These cells were divided into doses and one dose was shipped back to Dr. Parchman for treatment approximately 48 hours after the fat collection. Bender received a series of three intravenous doses one week apart. The rest of his doses were cryopreserved for future treatment.

Approximately six months after his third stem cell injection, Bender’s owner stated that, “By all appearances he seems happy, healthy, playful, and active. Though he has suffered some permanent kidney damage.”

Approximately two years after his initial round of stem cell injections, he received a follow up intravenous injection from his stem cell bank. That was over three years ago and according to his owner he’s still doing well. His owner stated, “Bender is stable with basically high normal values, lots of energy, playful and continues to do very well considering he was so near not surviving. I believe that stem cell treatments have helped his body recover and remain stable over five years later. Thank you VetStem for blazing a trail for my cat.”

Bender is not the only cat with kidney disease to benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy. Other cats have received VetStem Cell Therapy for the treatment of kidney disease and many have experienced positive outcomes. If your cat has kidney disease and you think VetStem Cell Therapy may help, contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area.

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May 29, 2020

VetStem Biopharma Centennial Club

As the first company in the United States to provide adipose-derived stem cell processing services to veterinarians and their patients, VetStem pioneered the use of regenerative stem cells in veterinary medicine. Since 2003, VetStem has trained nearly 5,000 veterinarians across the United States and Canada to perform VetStem Cell Therapy. We have processed fat samples for over 14,000 patients and 30 different species of animals.

Twelve of our VetStem trained veterinarians have provided VetStem services for over 100 of their patients. The “Centennial Club,” as we like to call them, are among the most experienced adipose-derived stem cell providers in the country. Seven of the Centennial Club members are small animal veterinarians while the other five are equine veterinarians. The Centennial Club members are:

Small Animal
Dr. Kim Carlson of North Peninsula Veterinary Surgical Group
Dr. Jamie Gaynor of Peak Performance Veterinary Group
Dr. Jeff Christiansen of Superior Veterinary Surgical Solutions
Dr. Allyson Berent of Animal Medical Center of New York
Dr. Adam Gassel of Blue Pearl Pet Hospital of Irvine
Dr. Keith Clement of Burnt Hills Veterinary Hospital
Dr. Tim McCarthy formerly of Cascade Veterinary Referral Center

Equine
Dr. Ross Rich of Regenerative Therapy Consulting
Dr. Martin Gardner of Western Performance Equine
Dr. John McCarroll of Equine Medical Associates
Dr. Bill Hay of Tryon Equine Hospital
Dr. Scott Reiners of Mountain View Equine Hospital

Each of the above veterinarians has made VetStem Cell Therapy an integral part of their veterinary practice. They are all experienced in case selection and have seen many positive outcomes. We think it’s worth mentioning that two of the above veterinarians have reached even bigger milestones. Dr. Martin Gardner has surpassed 500 stem cell cases and Dr. John McCarroll has over 250 stem cell cases. Additionally, there are four more veterinarians who are approaching 100 stem cell cases.

Stem cells are regenerative cells that can differentiate into many tissue types. In both small animals and horses, stem cell therapy is most often used to treat orthopedic conditions such as osteoarthritis and injured tendons and ligaments. VetStem Cell Therapy has shown to reduce pain and lameness and improve quality of life and return to work for horses. If you would like to locate a VetStem provider near you, please contact us.

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