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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.

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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 »

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Jan 17, 2020

January is Walk Your Pet Month

Posted by Bob under Cat Arthritis, Dog Arthritis

At VetStem, one of our goals is to educate pet owners about the prevalence and potential severity of osteoarthritis (OA) in our pets.  Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that can be debilitating.  It has even been identified as the number 2 reason for euthanasia.  Though 1 in 5 dogs in the U.S. are affected by OA, there are some steps you can take to potentially reduce or delay the symptoms of OA in your pet. 

In a previous blog, we shared some steps you can take to help reduce or delay the symptoms of OA in your pet.  One of those steps is to provide your pet with regular exercise.  While pets require varying amounts and different types of exercise, your veterinarian can help you to develop an exercise routine tailored specifically to your pet.

Since January is Walk Your Pet month, we thought it important to highlight the potential effects that regular walks can have on your pet’s joint health.  Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine states, “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 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.” 

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.  If you’re concerned that your pet may be overweight, you can refer to this blog or contact your veterinarian. And don’t forget, cats get OA too!  Cats with OA may also benefit from exercise.  Speak to your veterinarian about the best way to exercise your cat.

Ben, getting his exercise in by hiking the Pacific Coast Trail
with his human and VetStem CEO, Dr. Bob Harman

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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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Aug 2, 2019

Tips to Help Reduce or Delay Osteoarthritis in Dogs

Posted by Bob under Dog Arthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) affects approximately one quarter of the dog population.  OA is a chronic disease that is characterized by cartilage loss and bone changes in the affected joint(s).  Symptoms include painful joints and decreased or limited mobility.  While certain breeds of dogs, usually larger breed dogs, may be predisposed to developing OA, all dogs are at risk for developing this chronic condition.

Developing good habits early on may help to delay the onset of OA or may reduce the severity of the disease.  Below we have highlighted some general steps you can take to help prevent OA in your dog.  But remember, we advise that you first consult with your veterinarian to get a preventative plan tailored specifically to your dog.

Which brings us to our first step: regular veterinary visits.  Taking your dog to your vet for regular checkups may help to identify conditions that could lead to arthritis as well as identify arthritis early on in the disease process.  Your vet may be able to spot some of the earliest signs of OA even if your dog has not shown any typical symptoms such as limping or decreased mobility.  Early detection and treatment may help reduce the severity of damage to the joint(s).

Your veterinarian may also recommend a nutritionally sound diet for a slower rate of growth and joint supplements.  Joint supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin can help to slow the loss of cartilage, the tissue that cushions your dog’s joints.  Omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce inflammation in the body.  It is best to speak to your veterinarian to determine which supplements and/or diet will be best for your dog. 

Exercise can also play an important role in reducing wear and tear on your dog’s joints.  Various breeds of dogs require different amounts and different types of exercise.  Work with your veterinarian to develop an exercise routine that is tailored to your dog.  By exercising your dog in the appropriate manner, you may be keeping them lean and building muscle which can help support their joints.

Keeping your dog at an ideal weight is essential in minimizing the wear and tear on your dog’s joints.  Like people, a dog’s body is not designed to carry too much extra weight.  When a dog is overweight, they are more likely to develop OA.  Speak with your veterinarian to develop a good nutritional plan for your dog to help maintain a healthy weight. If your dog has already been diagnosed with OA, speak to your veterinarian about the possibility of VetStem Cell Therapy.  Or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area.

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Apr 19, 2019

Great Dane Receives Relief from Platelet Therapy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Nov 9, 2018

Stem Cell Therapy for Cats Part 3: Gingivostomatitis

Posted by Bob under Cat Stem Cells, Stem Cell Therapy

In our last two blog posts, we discussed stem cells for cats.  In addition to arthritis, stem cells may be beneficial for felines with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).  In this week’s blog, we will discuss feline Gingivostomatitis.

Gingivostomatitis is a disease affecting the mouth of felines.  It 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 teeth, however only about 70% of cats will respond to this treatment.  Those cats that do not respond will require lifelong treatment with medications.

Two small studies on cats that had full mouth extractions conducted at the University of California Davis have shown that fat-derived stem cell therapy led to improvement or remission in the majority of cats treated.  VetStem believes that fat-derived stem cells without full extractions may be beneficial.  While a few veterinarians have seen favorable results using VetStem cell therapy, more investigation is needed.

If your cat has Chronic Kidney Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, or Gingivostomatitis, stem cell therapy may provide relief.  Contact us today to locate a VetStem Credentialed veterinarian in your area.

This concludes our “Stem Cell Therapy for Cats” blog series.  Thanks for reading!  If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at info@vetstem.com.

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Nov 2, 2018

Stem Cell Therapy for Cats Part 2: Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Posted by Bob under Cat Stem Cells, Stem Cell Therapy

Last week, we shared part 1 of this blog series regarding stem cells for cats.  While stem cells may be an effective treatment for arthritic felines, there are a few other diseases for which stem cells may be beneficial including Chronic Kidney Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and Gingivostomatitis.  In last week’s blog, we discussed Chronic Kidney Disease.  In part 2 of this series, we will look at Inflammatory Bowel Disease and how stem cells may be of benefit.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder characterized by inflammation in the gut.  Some of the common symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, reduced appetite, and weight loss.  It is important to note however that these symptoms can be indicative of several various ailments such as food allergies, bacterial or viral infections, and intestinal parasites.  Typically, these problems can be resolved with dietary changes and/or antibiotics while IBD is generally responsive to immunosuppressive therapy such as steroids.

Also, when considering stem cell treatment for cats with IBD, it is necessary to rule out Lymphoma as the underlying cause of the symptoms.  VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy is contraindicated in patients with active cancer.

In a case study where a 4-year-old Himalayan cat developed IBD, treatment with VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy quickly resolved the cat’s diarrhea and vomiting and led to an increased appetite.  To add to that, in a recently published paper, 5 out of 7 cats that were treated with stem cells were significantly improved or had complete resolution of symptoms whereas the 4 control cats had no improvement.1

If your cat has Inflammatory Bowel Disease, stem cell therapy may provide relief.  Contact us today to locate a VetStem Credentialed veterinarian in your area.  And stay tuned for part 3 of this blog series in which we will discuss stem cells for Gingivostomatitis.

Note: Dogs with IBD may benefit from stem cell therapy as well.

 

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

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Oct 26, 2018

Stem Cell Therapy for Cats Part 1: Chronic Kidney Disease

Posted by Bob under Cat Stem Cells

A few weeks ago, we shared a blog post about stem cell therapy for arthritic cats.  Similar to stem cell therapy for dogs, there are additional common feline diseases for which stem cells may be beneficial.  These diseases include Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), and Gingivostomatitis. VetStem is still evaluating the use of stem cells for these disease processes with some favorable results being seen.  In part one of this blog series, we will discuss feline Chronic Kidney Disease and how VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy may provide some relief.

Chronic Kidney Disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in cats.  Common symptoms include lethargy, increased urine output, and weight loss.  Other than a kidney transplant, which is costly and invasive, there really is no definitive cure for CKD.  Current therapies include supportive measures such as subcutaneous fluids and special diets.  The disease process, however, will continue to progress.

VetStem veterinarians have seen some promising results in the treatment of feline CKD.  Based upon data from a small number of feline patients treated with VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy, blood kidney values were slightly to moderately improved after treatment.  While more evaluation is necessary, these preliminary results suggest that stem cell therapy may be a low-risk treatment option for cats with CKD.

If your cat has Chronic Kidney Disease, stem cell therapy may provide relief.  Contact us today to locate a VetStem Credentialed veterinarian in your area.  And stay tuned for part 2 of this blog series in which we will discuss stem cells for Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

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Oct 19, 2018

Stem Cells Helped Pearl Retrieve her Frisbee

Pearl is a 10-year-old black lab who loves retrieving her Frisbee. When Pearl developed a persistent limp, her concerned owners took her to be examined by her veterinarian. Pearl was referred to Dr. Amie Csiszer at Oregon Veterinary Referral Associates who determined that Pearl had elbow dysplasia, which caused osteoarthritis in her elbows. Dr. Csiszer recommended elbow arthroscopy along with VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy.

Pearl had her procedures done in September 2017. After her recovery, Pearl’s pain and lameness improved and by the third month after the procedure, Pearl was back to chasing her Frisbee.

Pearl’s owner, Norm, began an almost daily ritual of taking Pearl to play fetch in the local pond. This allowed her to exercise without hard impact on her joints. Pearl was placed on a diet to lose some weight, which also helped relieve the arthritis in her joints. You can catch up on Pearl’s story here.

We recently checked in with Norm and he reported that Pearl is still chasing her Frisbee in the pond. He even sent us some new action shots (see below). He stated, “she is doing wonderfully and shows no evidence of her past lameness.” Great news for Pearl and her family!

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