Aug 4, 2023

Assistance Dog Day: Max’s VetStem Cell Therapy Success Story

August 4th is Assistance Dog Day and next week is International Assistance Dog Week. This is a time to recognize and honor the hard work and selfless love that assistance dogs provide day in and day out. As you probably know, assistance dogs are specially trained to perform specific tasks for people with disabilities. These disabilities can be physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or mental. There are many types of assistance dogs including guide dogs for the blind, medical and hearing alert dogs, mobility assistance dogs, and more. In this week’s blog, we are going to share a special story about a psychiatric service dog named Max.


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.

Unfortunately, Max tore his cruciate ligament in his knee. As a common injury in large breed dogs, cruciate ligament tear is one of the biggest reasons for hind limb lameness, pain, and subsequent knee arthritis in dogs. Additionally, according to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, 40-60% of dogs who injure one cruciate ligament will go on to injure the other cruciate ligament in the future.

Max was obviously in pain and in need of surgery and other medical procedures. Fortunately, his story made the news and through donations and good will, Max was able to have surgery and treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy. 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 platelet therapy kit as well as discounted stem cell processing services.

According to Dr. Christiansen, Max recovered completely. But as is common, Max suffered a second cruciate ligament rupture in his other leg just over two years after his first 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. Max once again recovered well and hasn’t required a repeat stem cell treatment since.


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