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Aug 27, 2021

VetStem Cell Therapy for Dogs on National Dog Day

Posted by Bob under Dog Stem Cells, VetStem Cell Therapy

August 26th is National Dog Day. This day was founded in 2004 and celebrates dogs of all breeds. The stated mission is to bring attention to all the dogs that need rescuing as well as honor both family dogs and working dogs. For our own celebration, we would like to discuss the various uses of VetStem Cell Therapy in dogs!

VetStem Cell Therapy for Dogs

Though the first patient to be treated with VetStem Cell Therapy was a horse, dogs followed closely behind. Initially, we worked with select veterinary clinics to evaluate the use of VetStem Cell Therapy for osteoarthritis (OA) and orthopedic soft tissue injures such as cruciate ligament tears. After several years of collecting and analyzing data, we published two peer-reviewed studies. The first, in 2007, evaluated the use of stem cells for chronic hip OA. The second was published in 2008 and looked at stem cells for chronic elbow OA. Both studies concluded that treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy led to reduced lameness and pain as well as increased range of motion in the affected dogs.

VetStem Cell Therapy for More than OA

Though dogs were initially treated primarily for orthopedic conditions, we eventually broadened our research interests. Veterinarians have now used VetStem Cell Therapy to treat a wide array of conditions in dogs including organ failure, inflammatory bowel disease, back pain, and keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS or “Dry Eye”). Though we do not have any completed peer-review studies for these conditions, some dogs have experienced good results!

VetStem Cell Therapy for Canine Back Pain and IVDD

Canine back pain is one of VetStem’s current clinical research programs. A clinical research program is designed to evaluate the safety and possible effectiveness of VetStem Cell Therapy for specific conditions. One condition that falls under our back pain clinical research program is intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). This is a condition in which one or several intervertebral discs in the spine bulge, resulting in pressure on the spinal cord and leading to pain and possibly the loss of limb function. While IVDD can potentially be a devastating disease, several owners have reported improvement in their dog after treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy including Bella and Bailee.

If you think your dog may benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy, even if he/she is not suffering form an orthopedic condition, we recommend speaking to your veterinarian or contacting us to find VetStem providers near you.

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Jun 4, 2021

Tripod Dog Receives VetStem Cell Therapy

Posted by Bob under VetStem Cell Therapy

Jackson is an approximately 5-year-old tripod, meaning he only has 3 legs. His right rear leg was amputated when he was only four months old, just before he was adopted from an animal shelter. Jackson got around just fine for a while, as many rear leg amputees tend to do. But when he was around 2.5 years old, he injured his left knee while playing. This was bad news for Jackson.

A picture of Jackson, three-legged dog and VetStem Cell Therapy recipient.

According to Jackson’s mom, he could barely walk after he injured his only rear leg. His owner had to help him get around by using a lift harness. His veterinarian, Dr. Nick Vitale of Heritage Animal Hospital, diagnosed him with a partially torn cruciate ligament in that left knee. Additionally, he was also diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis in his left hip and both of his elbows.

Fortunately, Dr. Vitale is an experienced VetStem user, and recommended treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy. Jackson had fat tissue collected from his abdomen and sent to the VetStem laboratory for processing. After his stem and regenerative cells were extracted and concentrated, 5 stem cell doses were shipped back to Dr. Vitale. Jackson received one injection of his own stem cells into each elbow, his left hip, his left knee, and an intravenous injection.

According to Jackson’s mom, he had a great response to the stem cell therapy. She stated, “After the therapy, he is completely back to full functioning!” It is just over three years since Jackson’s initial stem cell treatment and he has not required a retreatment. Fortunately, he still has multiple stem cell doses stored, should he need them in the future.

Jackson’s story is unfortunately not uncommon among tripods. Osteoarthritis is common in tripod dogs because their remaining limbs endure added weight and stress to make up for the missing leg. Jackson is also not the only tripod dog to benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy. Mandy is a front leg amputee who received stem cell therapy for arthritis in her hips and hocks (ankles). You can read Mandy’s story here.

Of course, we never want any dog to be in pain or lose mobility. But when it comes to tripods, keeping them “on all threes” is extra important. We are so happy VetStem Cell Therapy helped Jackson and Mandy return to their own version of normal mobility. If you think your dog 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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Apr 16, 2021

Agility Dog Successfully Treated with VetStem Cell Therapy

Posted by Bob under VetStem Cell Therapy

Kirby is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi who has been competing in agility since he was just one and a half years old. Several years ago, he began experiencing intermittent lameness in his hind end, most notably in his hips and left knee. He was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and cruciate ligament injuries.

A corgi dog jumping over a bar during an agility competition
Kirby

Because he is such an active dog, his owner pursued several treatment options to help him feel more comfortable. Initially, he was treated with cold laser therapy, underwater treadmill, and a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory. This combination would help Kirby for a little while and then he would go back to being lame. Next, his mom pursued treatment with platelet therapy. Kirby received concentrated platelet injections into both hips and both knees. His mom reported that he responded well, and the results lasted for a year after the platelet injections.

But after that year, Kirby was sore again. That is when his mom elected to have Kirby treated with VetStem Cell Therapy. His veterinarian collected fat tissue from his abdomen in a minimally invasive anesthetic procedure. His mom described the procedure as such, “The minor surgery to harvest the fat was easy and he recovered quickly.” VetStem laboratory technicians processed Kirby’s fat to concentrate and extract his stem and regenerative cells. Kirby’s stem cell injections were sent back to his veterinarian for treatment. He received one injection into each hip, each knee, and also intravenously.

Approximately two months after treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy, Kirby was doing much better. According to his mom, he was able to return to agility, competing about once a month with an 80% qualifying rate. In addition, he hikes 12-15 miles with his mom each week. She stated, “I’m so grateful to VetStem for their help and that they have his cells in storage so we can give him more injections in the future if needed!!”

Kirby’s treatment was nearly two years ago and according to his mom, he was still doing well and competing in agility trials as of late 2020. He has not required a repeat injection of stem cells to date!

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.

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Apr 2, 2021

Walking to Reduce Your Dog’s Osteoarthritis Symptoms

Posted by Bob under Dog Osteoarthritis

Next Wednesday, April 7th, is National Walking Day! Did you know walking can help reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis in dogs? Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis in dogs (and people!) and affects approximately one quarter of the canine population. It is a degenerative disease in which the cartilage within a joint breaks down, causing changes in the surrounding bone. Common symptoms of OA include pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. In dogs, the majority of OA cases stem from a developmental orthopedic disease such as joint dysplasia. It can also develop as a result of an injury such as a cruciate ligament tear.

And older woman walking a beagle dog on a leash in a grassy pasture

Exercise Reduces Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

While some may believe that reduced usage of the affected joint will lead to improvement of symptoms, it appears the opposite is true. Studies have found that regular physical activity can actually benefit dogs with OA and lead to an improvement in symptoms.

The type of exercise is very important, however. For instance, high impact exercises such as running and jumping may lead to increased inflammation and pain and therefore should be limited. On the other hand, regular joint-friendly exercises are ideal for dogs with OA. These are low-impact and put less stress on the body, thereby reducing the risk of injury. Some joint-friendly exercises include swimming and leash walks.

Benefits of Walking for Dogs with Osteoarthritis

Walking can be a great way to keep dogs physically active. It is easy on their joints and comes with a number of benefits that can lead to healthier, less painful joints. Walking regularly can help dogs lose weight, thereby causing less stress on the joints. It can also help strengthen the muscles and supporting soft tissue structures around the joints, promoting increased joint stability. In addition, it increases joint fluid circulation which is beneficial to maintaining healthy joint cartilage.

Of course, every dog is different. So as always, it is best to check with your veterinarian to determine the best exercise routine for your dog.

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Feb 12, 2021

Platelet Therapy in Veterinary Medicine

This week, we have a special guest blog about platelet therapy use in veterinary medicine from Dr. Amber Vibert. Dr. Vibert is VetStem’s Safety and Technical Services Veterinarian and has extensive experience in both general and emergency veterinary medicine.

Platelet Therapy in Veterinary Medicine

I’m very excited to have the opportunity to contribute to our blog today! As VetStem’s new clinical veterinarian, I’m here to give you an added layer of information from a medical perspective. Today I’d like to share with you the capabilities of wonderous cells called platelets. You may have heard the term “Platelet Rich Plasma” (PRP) or “Platelet Enhancement Therapy” (PET) and wondered, “What are platelets and how does this treatment work, exactly?” We have showcased several success stories of pets who have received platelet therapy and now it’s time to look at the science behind the medicine and applications for which they can be used.

Activated platelets releasing their healing molecules

Good Things Come in Small Packages

Platelets are very small cells found in the blood stream of mammals and are best known for their ability to clot the blood. However, there is SO MUCH MORE these tiny but powerful cells can do! A complex signaling system sent out from damaged cells attracts platelets to an injury and tells them to release several healing molecules that they have stored inside of them. In turn, these healing molecules attract a multitude of additional healing cells (including stem cells) to the site of injury or inflammation. Together, these cells have been shown to reduce pain, remove the damaged cells, build new blood vessels, prevent further tissue damage, and generate new healthy cells in place of the injured ones. Amazing!

What Can These Heroes of Healing Be Used For?

In veterinary medicine, platelet therapy is most often used for treatment of joint-related problems such as cruciate ligament tears, osteoarthritis and tendon injuries in dogs, cats, and horses. However, recent research has shown that PRP/PET can also aid in the healing of skin wounds, corneal (eye) ulcers, surgical incision sites, tooth sockets following extraction, and even muscle tears. And the use of platelet therapy is not just limited to our animal companions. You may have heard of NFL players who have received PRP/PET for tendon/ligament injuries and muscle tears. Platelet therapy can also be used in conjunction with stem cell therapy to maximize the effect of both treatments.

A dog receives an injection of platelet therapy into her injured knee
A canine patient receives an injection of platelet therapy into her injured knee

Harnessing the Power of Platelets

The functions of platelets may be complex, but their collection and administration is quite simple. A calculated amount of blood is drawn based on the patient’s size/weight. The blood sample is then either spun in a machine called a centrifuge or injected through a special filter such as VetStem’s V-PET™ gravitational filter system in order to separate the platelets from other blood cells. The final product is a highly concentrated number of platelets suspended in the protein-rich fluid component of the blood called plasma. This solution is then injected (or topically applied as with skin wounds or surgical incisions) to the injury site. And voila! There you have platelet therapy- another way to enhance the body’s own power to heal.

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Oct 2, 2020

Dog Receives VetStem Cell Therapy for IVDD

Posted by Bob under IVDD, VetStem Cell Therapy

We frequently share stories about dogs that received VetStem Cell Therapy for orthopedic conditions such as osteoarthritis and injured cruciate ligaments. But stem cell therapy may potentially help a number of other conditions. Veterinarians have used VetStem Cell Therapy to treat various diseases including renal failure, inflammatory bowel disease, gingivostomatitis, and dry eye.

VetStem Clinical Research Programs

All of the above diseases fall under our Clinical Research Programs. These programs are designed to evaluate the safety and possible effectiveness of stem cell therapy for specific conditions before we move on to performing a clinical trial. Another current Clinical Research Program is for Canine Back Pain. This is obviously a broad condition so feel free to read our blog about this particular program. One condition that falls under the Canine Back Pain program is Intervertebral Disc Disease.

Intervertebral Disc Disease

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) is a condition in which one or several intervertebral discs in the spine bulge, resulting in pressure on the spinal cord. This pressure may result in extreme pain and possibly loss of limb function. IVDD can be a result of chronic disc degeneration or from an acute injury. Conservative treatment with pain medications and anti-inflammatories may help patients who have a gradual onset of symptoms or whose symptoms are mild. In severe cases or when there are repeated episodes, surgery may be recommended.

Bailee

Bailee Received VetStem Cell Therapy for IVDD

Bailee, an English Springer Spaniel, was approximately fourteen years old when he injured his neck. He jumped off a deck that was about four feet off the ground and yelped in pain. He was diagnosed with IVDD and was prescribed pain medications. Unfortunately, the medications made him very lethargic and did not help his pain so his owner sought a second opinion.    

Dr. Susan Burkhart of Animal Medical Center of Ontario examined Bailee and recommended treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy. Within one week after his stem cell therapy, Bailee’s owner reported that she noticed a huge difference. She stated, “He was once again smiling, and out of pain. It has been 2.5 years since then, and Bailee is one happy pup, once again, and able to live many more years pain free. I am so grateful and would do again for any of my pets.”

While stem cells have demonstrated the ability to reduce pain and inflammation, there is limited data to support the use of stem cell therapy for the treatment of IVDD. Since this condition develops for different reasons, the stem cell protocol and outcome can vary for each dog. Any inquiries regarding treatment of similar conditions or other non-standard indications should be directed to VetStem personnel.

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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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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 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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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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