Archive for the ‘Cat Arthritis’ Category

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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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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Dec 13, 2019

December is National Cat Lovers Month!

It’s December and while most are excited about the holiday season, we at VetStem are excited about cats!  We have more than a few cat lovers at VetStem, Sue and Kristi, to name a few.  We figured, what better month than this to share new and exciting information about regenerative medicine for felines?!

You may remember some of our previous blogs about stem cell therapy for felines.  If you need a refresher, check out this recent post: Stem Cells for Cats: An Overview.  To summarize, veterinarians are using VetStem Cell Therapy to treat a number of conditions in cats.  In addition to osteoarthritis, the most commonly treated diseases include chronic kidney disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and gingivostomatitis.

VetStem Patients Wilma and Flint

Veterinarians have also used our small animal platelet therapy kit for orthopedic conditions in cats.  Veterinary Platelet Enhancement Therapy (V-PET™) is used by veterinarians to collect and concentrate a patient’s platelets.  The platelet concentrate can be injected into joints, injured tendons and ligaments, as well as chronic wounds. 

One of our frequent users, Dr. Jeff Christiansen, recently treated a cat who had an FHO (surgery to remove the ”ball” of the hip ball-and-socket joint) utilizing V-PET™.  The cat suffered a fracture in his hip and platelet concentrate was injected into the joint after surgery.  Typically, cats will show signs of complete recovery from an FHO procedure at approximately six weeks post-surgery. In this cat’s case, he was comfortable and walking around with good range of motion at four weeks post-op. While the injury required surgical intervention, the addition of V-PET™ into the surgical site may have led to expedited healing.

Keke, Dr. Christiansen’s patient who received V-PET

Some more exciting news about cats is actually about cheetahs!  Dr. Matt Kinney of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park recently presented information at the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians conference regarding working with VetStem to treat a couple of cheetahs.  We hope to share more about this soon!  This is not the first time that VetStem has provided cell services and on-site consultation for the treatment of exotic animals.  A Sun Bear named Francis was another recipient of such services.

Follow our blog to keep up with new research and developments.

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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 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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Sep 28, 2018

Feline Arthritis: It’s Not Just a Dog Problem

Posted by Bob under Cat Arthritis, Stem Cell Therapy

As you may know, the majority of our blogs focus on canine arthritis.  But let’s not forget about our feline friends.  Like dogs, cats are living longer, healthier lives and also suffer from common “old age” problems such as osteoarthritis. In fact, in a retrospective study conducted at a major veterinary school, radiographs from 100 cats that were presented to the teaching hospital for illnesses unrelated to arthritis were re-evaluated.  90% of the cats had radiographic evidence of degenerative joint disease.

How do you know if your cat has arthritis?  Well, first of all, they may not show the same
signs of arthritis that dogs do.  For instance, they may not noticeably limp the way dogs do.  Cats generally hide their pain very well.  Listed below are some questions you can ask yourself to see if your cat may have osteoarthritis.

  1. Is your cat less active than he/she used to be?  While cats are not known to be high performance athletes, a change in activity level may indicate pain associated with arthritis and not necessarily just normal ‘lazy’ cat behavior.
  2. Is your cat missing the litterbox? While this could be a behavioral issue or the sign of a kidney or bladder issue, also consider OA. Some cats may be too painful to want to step into and out of a litterbox.
  3. Does your cat take longer to get up from lying down or have difficulty moving around?  If your cat no longer jumps on that high ledge like he/she used to, your cat may have arthritis.

Did you answer yes to one or more of the above questions?  If so, you should consult with your veterinarian to determine if your cat has arthritis.  While there are not a lot of safe options for controlling pain in cats, VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy has been shown to be a low-risk and effective treatment for osteoarthritis.  If you are interested in consulting with a credentialed VetStem provider, contact us to receive a list of providers in your area.

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Feb 14, 2012

Vet-Stem Team Achieves Over 8,000 Veterinary Stem Cell Cases

I am always very proud of the Vet-Stem team, but as I write
this I am especially proud of the accomplishment announced last week, “Vet-Stem
Reaches the Milestone of 8,000 Animals Treated with Vet-Stem Cell Therapy”.

There are more than 8,000 of our beloved with less pain,
less stiffness, the ability to run, play, and return to what they love to
do.  There are more than 8,000 animal
friends who enjoy life again after using their own bodies’ natural healing
abilities.

It takes a team to do what we do:  Veterinarians, RVTs, Caring Customer Service
Reps, Scientists, Professional Laboratory Technicians, you get the idea.  Vet-Stem has compiled a phenomenal team to
bring our patients cutting edge Regenerative Veterinary Medicine, and I am so
proud of the Vet-Stem Team and can’t wait to continue to deliver the care our
companions deserve.

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Nov 10, 2011

Update: First Stem Cell Therapy for a Panther with Arthritis

Posted by Bob under Cat Arthritis, Stem Cell Therapy

Dr. Norm Griggs at Shepherd Spring Animal Hospital performed the first stem cell therapy on a Panther named Buddah from the Tallahassee Museum of Natural History back in September 2011. We are happy to report, “Today, over 7 weeks out, Buddah has complete use of his elbow and has his life back, without pain. He is happy, healthy, sound and taking no medications.”

 To read the full story and update on Buddah click here.

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Apr 9, 2010

Big Love: Pet obesity and dog arthritis expands in United States

I have devoted previous posts to the important subject of pet obesity and the effects on canine and feline arthritis.  I would like to revisit the subject again with some great new information  from veterinarian and author Dr Ernie Ward.  I pulled some interesting facts out of the article but if you would like to read it in it’s entirety click here.  Dr Ward is passionate about educating pet owners about pet obesity. Why is obesity in pets on the uprise?  Part of the obesity problem is lack of exercise and poor portion control.  According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), when it comes to expressing our affections with food, we are doing our animals a lot more harm than good. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nov 17, 2009

Arthritis in the dog, Man’s Best Friend or Man’s Best Model?

A common question is “when will this be available for humans?” New therapies do take longer to be allowed in people, but the good news is that Vet-Stem has collected very valuable data from the thousands of dogs and horses that we have helped veterinarians treat for OA and tendon and ligament injuries. The dog is actually a very good model for human osteoarthritis. Dogs are also prone to similar soft tissue injuries such as cruciate ligament ruptures (ACL, knee injury) and tears, conditions that veterinarians have seen great improvement in healing by using stem cells. Read the rest of this entry »

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