Search Results

Aug 23, 2019

Is Your Pet Overweight?

Posted by Bob under Cat Arthritis, Dog Arthritis, Pet Obesity

In previous blog posts, we discussed risk factors for osteoarthritis and how to reduce or delay the onset of osteoarthritis.  In both of those posts, we mentioned that a pet being overweight may contribute to his/her development of osteoarthritis. 

Unfortunately, it is estimated that approximately 56% of dogs and 60% of cats in the United States are overweight or obese.  But how can you tell if your pet is overweight?  Below are some tools to help you determine if your pet is overweight.

One way to tell if your pet is overweight is to determine your pet’s body condition score.  You can look this up online and find pictures of what your pet’s ideal body should look like.  Below is an example of a body score chart for dogs and cats.  What score does your pet receive?  If you’re not sure, your veterinarian can help to determine your pet’s body condition score.

Notice in the chart above, the pictures show the view of dogs and cats from the top.  Looking at your pet from above can be a helpful way to determine if your pet is overweight.  Like the chart above says, you should be able to feel your pet’s ribs but not see them.  There should be a slight layer of fat over your pet’s ribs.  Your pet should also taper at their waist- a bit like an hourglass shape.

Another sign that your pet is overweight is reduced stamina or increased lethargy.  Is your dog panting more or not able to walk as far?  Is your cat unable to jump up on furniture?  Note that these signs can also indicate other, more serious conditions so if you’re concerned about your pet’s behavior, take him/her to the vet.

Nobody wants to be told that their pet is overweight.  But it puts your pet at risk of many diseases so it should not be ignored.  In addition to osteoarthritis, obesity can lead to serious health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  Alternatively, your pet may be obese as a result of a health problem such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease. 

If you believe your pet may be overweight, a visit to the veterinarian is probably in order.  Luckily, there are steps you can take to ensure your pet maintains an ideal weight or to help your pet lose weight.  Your vet can rule out underlying diseases and also help you establish a nutritionally sound diet as well as an exercise routine that is appropriate for your buddy.

Share
Feb 22, 2010

Misleading Labels Can Lead to Overweight Dogs & Arthritis

 

We care so much about the health of our dogs, especially when it comes to weight and sometimes the parallels between human health and dog health are surprising.  Just as people search for low calorie food and often find the labels to be confusing, low calorie dog food labels can be misleading as well.  There is a link between being overweight and arthritis in people AND in our pet buddies!   Read the rest of this entry »

Share
Aug 6, 2021

VetStem Cell Therapy for Diseases in Cats

This coming Sunday, August 8th, is International Cat Day! We thought this would be the perfect opportunity to discuss the use of stem cells for various diseases in cats. Like dogs and horses, VetStem Cell Therapy can be used in cats to treat orthopedic conditions such as osteoarthritis and injured tendons and ligaments. But there are several other diseases for which VetStem Cell Therapy may be helpful.

Chronic Kidney Disease

A common disease in cats is kidney disease. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a common cause of sickness and death in cats. In fact, some reviews suggest that CKD may be the number one cause of sickness and death in older cats. Unfortunately, treatment options are limited and can be costly.

One potential treatment option is VetStem Cell Therapy. Nearly 200 cats have received VetStem Cell Therapy for CKD and veterinarians have seen some promising results. 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. While more evaluation is necessary, these results suggest VetStem Cell Therapy may be a viable treatment option for cats with CKD.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a gastrointestinal disease that can affect both cats and dogs. It is characterized by inflammation of the intestines and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, reduced appetite, and weight loss. It is important to note however, that these symptoms can be indicative of several conditions including feline lymphoma. Since VetStem Cell Therapy is contraindicated in pets with cancer, it is essential to rule this out before pursuing treatment with stem cells.

Several cats have received VetStem Cell Therapy for IBD. In fact, one of our veterinary clients, Dr. Joel Stone, wrote a guest blog about one of his feline patients who experienced relief from IBD after treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy. In one of our own case studies, a 4-year-old Himalayan cat developed IBD and treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy quickly resolved the cat’s diarrhea and vomiting and led to an increased appetite with no recurrence. To add to that, 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.

Gingivostomatitis

Another unfortunate disease that affects cats is gingivostomatitis. Gingivostomatitis affects the mouths of felines and causes oral pain which leads to other symptoms such as decreased appetite, reduced grooming, and weight loss. The most common treatment is extracting all the cat’s chewing teeth, however only about 70% of cats will respond to this treatment. The remaining 30% of cats that do not respond will require lifelong treatment with medications.

Fewer cats have received VetStem Cell Therapy for gingivostomatitis than CKD, however veterinarians have seen favorable results none the less. In addition to our own data, two small studies conducted at the University of California Davis showed that when fat-derived stem cell therapy was utilized in addition to teeth extractions, there was improvement or remission in the majority of cats treated. VetStem believes that fat-derived stem cell therapy without full extractions may be beneficial.

As you can see, VetStem Cell Therapy may be useful for a number of disease processes. Though the above conditions are still in the investigative stages, the preliminary results look very promising! If you think your cat may benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy, speak to your veterinarian or contact us for a list of VetStem providers near you.

Share
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.

Share
Apr 30, 2021

Celebrate Your Pets During National Pet Week

Posted by Bob under Cat Ownership, Dog Ownership

Next week, May 2nd-8th, is National Pet Week! Founded in 1981 by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Auxiliary to the AVMA, National Pet Week “celebrates the pets that enrich our lives and encourages responsible pet care every day of the year.”

Each day of National Pet Week has a specific theme. See below for a list of themes provided by the AVMA with a link to helpful information for both new and seasoned pet owners alike:   

Daily Themes

Each day of the week focuses on a different topic essential to responsible pet ownership:

You may notice that several of the above themes emphasize responsible pet ownership, which includes routine veterinary care. On this blog, we frequently talk about diseases and ailments which may prompt visits to the vet. But routine care is very important to maintaining your pet’s health. Preventative care, such as regular wellness exams, can lead to the detection and diagnosis of problems that may otherwise go unnoticed until it is too late. If a problem is detected in its early stages, it is more likely to be treated and resolved with less expense, less difficulty and better success.

But routine veterinary care is not the only way to keep your pet happy and healthy! Exercise and stimulation are important too! We have blogged many times about the benefits of walking your dog such as weight management and a reduction of osteoarthritis symptoms. But taking a walk can provide mental stimulation as well. All the new smells, sights, and sounds beyond your dog’s normal environment provide great mental stimulation. A dog who is well stimulated tends to be happier and more relaxed at home and may demonstrate less destructive behaviors. And don’t forget about cats! Though they tend to be lazier than our canine companions, cats benefit from routine exercise and mental stimulation as well. National Pet Week starts on Sunday so don’t forget to celebrate your pets!

Share
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.

Share
Mar 19, 2021

Trinity Receives VetStem Cell Therapy for Feline Kidney Disease

Based on 15+ years of data, veterinarians primarily use VetStem Cell Therapy to treat dogs and horses. But cats have also benefited from stem cell therapy. In previous blogs, we have discussed stem cell therapy for various diseases in cats. For a good overview, read this blog.

VetStem Cell Therapy for Feline Kidney Disease

VetStem has processed nearly 400 feline fat samples to provide stem cells. Of these samples, over 50% have been for cats with kidney disease. Unfortunately, kidney failure may be the number one cause of sickness and death in older cats. Yet treatment options are limited and do not cure the disease.

Veterinarians have been treating feline kidney disease with VetStem Cell Therapy for over a decade. And we have seen some promising results! But nothing is as good as hearing about a kitty who experienced those results firsthand. This is Trinity’s story.

Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment Plan

Trinity is a ragdoll cat who was diagnosed with renal failure when she was twelve years old. She had several symptoms including vomiting, not eating, lethargy, weakness, and weight loss. She was uninterested and spent a lot of time hiding. Her mom worked with several vets to find an effective treatment protocol for Trinity, but she continued to feel bad, and her blood kidney values kept going up.

Eventually, Trinity’s mom found Dr. Tamera Cole at The Animal Hospital at Steiner Ranch. Dr. Cole started Trinity on fluids and multiple medications to ease her symptoms and support her kidneys. Though Trinity’s mom noticed improvement, she continued to research additional treatment options.

Treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy

In her research, Trinity’s mom came across VetStem Cell Therapy and brought it up to Dr. Cole. Dr. Cole was already credentialed to perform the VetStem procedure and agreed that stem cell therapy may help Trinity.

She moved forward with the process and collected a sample of fat tissue from Trinity in a minimally invasive anesthetic procedure. The fat was processed at the VetStem laboratory and Trinity’s stem cells were extracted, concentrated, and divided into doses for treatment. Trinity received an intravenous dose of her own stem cells approximately 48 hours after the initial fat collection procedure. She went on to receive a second intravenous dose approximately two weeks later.

A brown and white ragdoll cat sitting in front of a computer looking at the camera
Trinity

Trinity Gets Her Quality of Life Back

After stem cell therapy, Trinity’s owner maintained the previous treatment protocol with fluids and medications. Several months later, Dr. Cole tested Trinity’s blood work which showed no signs of kidney disease!

Her owner continued the treatment protocol and Trinity remained healthy, started eating again, and gained back all the weight she lost and more. Trinity’s mom stated, “I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to spend so many more years with Trinity. She is a continuous blessing in my life and as you can see from the picture, still shows up to work every day at my home office.”

Trinity is among several cats who have benefitted from VetStem Cell Therapy for 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. More evaluation is necessary, however these preliminary results suggest that stem cell therapy may be a viable treatment option for cats with kidney disease.

If your cat is suffering with kidney disease, speak to your veterinarian or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area to determine if VetStem Cell Therapy may help your cat.

Share
Feb 19, 2021

Walking to Reduce Obesity and Osteoarthritis

February 22nd is National Walk Your Dog Day, a day to remind dog owners about the importance of regular exercise such as walking. Studies have demonstrated that regular exercise can actually reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis and contribute to weight loss and weight management.

Link Between Obesity and Osteoarthritis

According to caninearthritis.org, osteoarthritis is the number one medical condition associated with obesity in dogs. Excess weight leads to increased wear and tear on a dog’s joints and can therefore lead to the onset or worsening of osteoarthritis. When a dog’s joints become painful, this often leads to reduced activity. Reduced activity can lead to more weight gain and thus the cycle continues. While it may seem appropriate to restrict activity for dogs with painful joints, the opposite is actually true!

Walking to Reduce Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

Multiple studies have shown that regular exercise can benefit arthritic joints. Regular, low-impact exercise, such as walking, can lead to reduced joint pain and stiffness, weight loss, and increased muscle mass. Experts agree that regular, short-interval exercise is key, as opposed to doing one big activity on the weekends, such as a long hike. Regular exercise may be something as simple as taking a walk daily or on most days.

So now that you know the benefits of walking, let’s all take a walk on National Walk Your Dog Day!   

Note: Your veterinarian is your best resource when it comes to your dog’s health. Your vet can help you determine if your dog is overweight or if your dog has a degenerative joint condition such as osteoarthritis. He/she can also help you formulate an exercise plan tailored specifically to your dog’s needs.

Share
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.

Share
Jan 15, 2021

Talk a Walk this January for Walk Your Pet Month!

Posted by Bob under Cat Arthritis, Dog Arthritis

January is Walk Your Pet Month! This month-long celebration serves to remind pet owners of the benefits of regular exercise. Walking your dog (or your cat!) can be an easy way to provide your pet with consistent, low-impact exercise, which can lead to improvements in joint health.

Benefits of Regular Exercise

Like people, pets may benefit from regular exercise. Walking is a low-impact exercise that may contribute to weight loss and may delay the onset and/or severity of osteoarthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, walking comes with several benefits which may lead to healthier joints including muscle strengthening, joint fluid circulation, and weight loss. Weight loss is an important factor when it comes to managing pain and lameness associated with osteoarthritis. One study found that weight loss significantly decreased lameness in obese dogs with OA.

VetStem patient, Rascal, getting some exercise and some vitamin sea!

How to Exercise Your Pet

Different pets require different exercise regimens, which vary based on several factors. One of your best resources is your veterinarian. He/She can help you build an exercise plan tailored specifically to your pet. That being said, it appears that regular, moderate exercise may be beneficial in comparison to intermittent, intense exercise.

According to Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine, “Regular physical activity is paramount in the treatment of osteoarthritis both in humans and animals. A lifestyle of regular activity that is moderated away from intermittent extremes of exercise (such as long hikes on the weekends) and activities to which the pet is not conditioned is essential. Ideally, multiple shorter walks are better than one long one. The same activity every day (or slightly increasing if tolerated) is ideal.”

Cats Need Exercise Too!

When we think of walking our pet, most of us immediately think of dogs. But cats suffer from osteoarthritis too and may benefit from routine exercise. Of course, it is not quite as easy with cats as it is with dogs. Some cats may like to walk on the leash. Others may prefer to play with a toy. Speak to your veterinarian about appropriate ways to exercise your cats to help keep them as healthy as possible.

Share