Archive for the ‘Cat Stem Cells’ Category

Oct 30, 2020

Stem Cells for Cats on National Cat Day

Posted by Bob under Cat Stem Cells

Yesterday, October 29th, was National Cat Day! We could not let this holiday pass by without a shout out in our blog! We at VetStem love cats and employ quite a few self-professed “crazy cat ladies.”

National Cat Day was created to bring awareness to the many cats that need rescuing each year and to “encourage cat lovers to celebrate the cat(s) in their life for the unconditional love and companionship they bestow upon us.” According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), in 2017-2018 over 25% of the households in the United States owned cats. With over 30 million households owning an average of 1.8 cats, that means there were nearly 60 million family cats in the United States at the time of the AVMA’s pet ownership survey. That is a lot of cats!

Regenerative Medicine for Cats

To honor our feline friends, we have compiled a review of stem cell uses for cats. Like dogs and horses, cats may benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy for arthritic joints or injured tendons and ligaments. In addition, many veterinarians have used VetStem Cell Therapy in cats for kidney disease, gingivostomatitis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Osteoarthritis

Though we tend to think of dogs when it comes to arthritis, cats are susceptible to the disease as well. Unlike some dogs, cats are very good at hiding their pain. If you are unsure if your cat is in pain, speak to your veterinarian. We’ve also written a few blogs on the topic: click here and here to learn some of the possible signs of pain in cats.

Though most of our osteoarthritis data is from dogs, cats have experienced similar results when treated with VetStem Cell Therapy. Stem cells may reduce pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis and may lead to the regeneration of damaged joint tissues. This can result in increased mobility and a better quality of life for your kitty.

Kidney Disease

Nearly 200 cats have received VetStem Cell Therapy for chronic kidney disease (CKD). 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.  

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.

Gingivostomatitis

Another debilitating feline disease is gingivostomatitis, which affects the gums, teeth and sometimes upper throat of cats. Gingivostomatitis 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.

Some veterinarians have seen favorable results using VetStem Cell Therapy in cats affected by gingivostomatitis. In addition, 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.

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 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 with no recurrence. 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. One of our veterinary clients also wrote a guest blog about one of his feline patients who received VetStem Cell Therapy for IBD.

If you believe your cat may benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy, speak to your veterinarian. Or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area. Maybe stem cell therapy is just the gift your cat needs for National Cat Day!

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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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Jun 5, 2020

Success Story: VetStem Cell Therapy for Feline Kidney Disease

We’ve shared many blog posts about treating cats with stem cells. Although we primarily process fat from dogs and horses for VetStem Cell Therapy, we’ve provided cell processing services for over 350 cats. Like dogs, cats may benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Veterinarians have also treated cats for a variety of internal medicine diseases utilizing VetStem Cell Therapy. These diseases include Gingivostomatitis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and Chronic Kidney Disease. For more information about stem cell therapy for these conditions, this blog is very helpful: Stem Cells for Cats: An Overview.

One VetStem recipient, a domestic short haired cat name Bender, received VetStem Cell Therapy for kidney disease and had a positive outcome. Bender’s renal issues began when he was four years old. He ingested an unknown poison and ended up in the emergency hospital on IV fluids for seven days. Following this episode, Bender’s bloodwork showed elevated kidney values and he was diagnosed with stage 3 kidney disease.

Bender

Bender’s owner began researching potential treatment options and came across the VetStem website. She requested a list of stem cell providers in her area and was referred to Dr. Mark Parchman of Bend Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center. Together, Dr. Parchman and Bender’s owner agreed to move forward with VetStem Cell Therapy.

To begin the process, Dr. Parchman collected fat from Bender. This fat was shipped to the VetStem laboratory and aseptically processed to extract Bender’s stem and regenerative cells. These cells were divided into doses and one dose was shipped back to Dr. Parchman for treatment approximately 48 hours after the fat collection. Bender received a series of three intravenous doses one week apart. The rest of his doses were cryopreserved for future treatment.

Approximately six months after his third stem cell injection, Bender’s owner stated that, “By all appearances he seems happy, healthy, playful, and active. Though he has suffered some permanent kidney damage.”

Approximately two years after his initial round of stem cell injections, he received a follow up intravenous injection from his stem cell bank. That was over three years ago and according to his owner he’s still doing well. His owner stated, “Bender is stable with basically high normal values, lots of energy, playful and continues to do very well considering he was so near not surviving. I believe that stem cell treatments have helped his body recover and remain stable over five years later. Thank you VetStem for blazing a trail for my cat.”

Bender is not the only cat with kidney disease to benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy. Other cats have received VetStem Cell Therapy for the treatment of kidney disease and many have experienced positive outcomes. If your cat has kidney disease and you think VetStem Cell Therapy may help, contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area.

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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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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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Aug 30, 2019

Veterinarian Highlight: Kim Carlson, DVM, DACVS

Posted by Bob under Cat Stem Cells, Dog Stem Cells

This week, we would like to introduce you to one of VetStem’s most prolific users: Dr. Kim Carlson. Dr. Carlson practices in the Bay Area of California and recently opened her new surgical practice North Peninsula Veterinary Surgical Group in San Mateo, CA.  Dr. Carlson is a board-certified surgeon with a special interest in orthopedic surgery, oncologic surgery, trauma and wound management.

Dr. Carlson became credentialed to perform VetStem Cell Therapy in 2007 and has provided VetStem services for over 200 patients since!  Dr. Carlson also uses the Pall Veterinary Platelet Enhancement Therapy kit.  We asked Dr. Carlson a few questions about her use of VetStem Cell Therapy.  See her answers below.

Many of your stem cell patients receive VetStem Cell Therapy in conjunction with orthopedic surgery.  Do you recommend stem cell therapy with all of your orthopedic surgeries?  If so, why? 

Yes, I do.  Because of the regenerative power of stem cells.  Most patients having orthopedic surgery have some degree of OA or soft tissue injury.  The benefit of stem cell therapy is faster healing, more normal healing, decreased pain, reduced development of OA.  Stem cells have the ability to treat injuries and return patients to full function that didn’t have a good prognosis with traditional options.  Not only do I recommend stem cell therapy for my orthopedic patients but I also recommend stem cell therapy for my patients who are being treated with skin grafts or other wound treatments.

Please explain why VetStem is your go-to stem cell provider. 

Simple.  Quality control.

You have provided VetStem services for well over 200 patients.  What advice can you offer to pet parents who are considering stem cell therapy for their pet? 

It’s a great option.  I’ve treated two of my own pets.  If you don’t have pet insurance look into obtaining pet insurance that will cover stem cell therapy should you need it for your pet.  Not only can stem cells help your pet with their current injury but their cells will be banked for any potential future treatments.

If you’re located in the Bay Area and are considering stem cell therapy for your pet, Dr. Kim Carlson is a very experienced and knowledgeable surgeon and VetStem provider.

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Jul 19, 2019

Veterinarian Highlight: Cindy Echevarria, DVM

This week we would like to introduce you to VetStem proponent, Dr. Cindy Echevarria of VCA University Animal Hospital in Dallas.  Dr. Echevarria has been utilizing VetStem Cell Therapy since early 2015 and has treated nearly 40 patients, including her own dog, Bella.  Dr. Echevarria also treated Stuart, the Lab with a soft tissue injury and Seve, a Golden Retriever with osteoarthritis in his hips.

We recently caught up with Dr. Echevarria to ask her some questions about how she utilizes VetStem Cell Therapy.  See her answers below.

At what point in the process do you recommend stem cell therapy for your patients (ie, when the injury/ailment is first diagnosed, after meds have proven unsuccessful/detrimental, etc.)

I usually recommend stem cell for all orthopedic injury cases, particularly ACL tears, and arthritic cases.  For cruciate injuries I find combining the TPLO or repair surgery with the collection part of the stem cell process to be easy on the pet and the owner since the recovery process goes unchanged.  Anything that does not inconvenience the owner further but helps the pet makes it easier to relay the benefits to the owner.  Since aftercare alone is a lot to take on for each procedure alone, being able to manage both at the same time saves the owner time and stress (versus doing the procedures independently).  Also, as discussed at the time of injury, once one ACL tears it is very common for the other to tear in the future.  Having the stem cells available in the future allows for re-infusion into originally affected limb and new limb if needed without having to collect additional cells.  Some owners do not have the funds to do all at once, but at least discussing the options with them helps them narrow down where their funds would be best utilized.

I also commonly bring it up for owners who are tired of what they perceive as over-medicating or “nothing works” idea.  Many of the cases I have done that were on medications have been able to be reduced significantly to none in some cases.  Although it can be mentioned as last resort if nothing else works, I feel like the sooner stem cell is used on the pet, the higher chances of success.  Including offering StemInsure when they are young (at time of spay or neuter) for those breeds that are prone to arthritis or those dogs (hunting, agility, etc) that are at higher risk of needing stem cell in their future.

I had a Newfoundland puppy that I did StemInsure on for her potential bilateral elbow dysplasia that her predecessor had and the fact of her size/breed overall.  2.5 years later she tore her ACL.  Her cells were already stored at that time and only had to be processed at the time of her knee repair.  Worked really well and the owners were pleased that that had even been offered back when she was a puppy.  It has been about 1.5 years since her TPLO/stem cell infusion and she continues to not need pain management.  She only takes Dasuquin (which I advise for all my patients with injuries or arthritis), regardless of stem cell.

What parameters make a patient a good candidate for stem cell therapy?

*are we on pain management and only minimal improvement?

*has the pet been on long term meds and liver/kidney values now an issue?  medications are more limited now

*are their neurologic deficits?   If yes, I generally do not proceed with stem cell.  I always offer a free initial assessment to see if stem cell would even be an option for the pet.

*does the pet have or has had cancer?  I usually do not proceed with stem cell.

*what other conditions might the pet have that would compromise the effectiveness of the stem cells or are they higher risk for anesthesia for the collection process? 

Advice for pet owners considering stem cell therapy for their pet.

There is so much benefit from stem cell aside from joint related ailments, that just reading about it and asking for testimonials goes a long way.  I am always open to calls for those interested or just want to know more about it.  I am also very real about the fact that it is intense and probably inconvenient for most the following 8 weeks after infusion, but it does get results.    

If you’re located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and are interested in VetStem Cell Therapy for your dog or cat, we recommend a visit with Dr. Echevarria.

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Apr 12, 2019

Guest Blog: Stem Cells for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

This week, we would like to share a guest blog from one of our veterinary clients, Dr. Joel Stone.  Dr. Stone is a feline practitioner at All Cat Clinic in Englewood, CO.  He received his DVM from Colorado State University in 1990 followed by his PhD from the University of California, Davis in 1995.  Dr. Stone has been credentialed to perform VetStem Cell Therapy since 2010.  Below he describes his experience with one of his stem cell patients, a cat named Adobe.  Adobe was treated under one of VetStem’s clinical research programs for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

When I was in High School, I had an awesome teacher named Craig Cogswell.  One of the discussions his students would have every week, was to tell the class if anything “Good and New” had happened in the life of his students in the prior week.  I am not sure why this has stuck with me for all these years (I am not sure I can tell you about anything else I learned in the class), but I have always tried to appreciate anything in my life that is “good and new.” As a veterinarian, you learn new things almost every day.  I want to tell you about a case that I would describe as good and new.

Adobe is an 8-year-old, female neutered domestic medium hair cat that I had initially seen on June 14th, 2016 (when she was 5 years old).  Adobe and her owners, Pam and Paul, had come to the All Cat Clinic to get a second opinion on why Adobe would vomit nearly every day.  She had been on prednisolone once a day for the previous 2 years to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but Adobe still was vomiting nearly every day.   To be honest with you, this is not necessarily an unusual case.  Cats can vomit for many different reasons. After ruling out bacterial, viral and parasitic reasons for vomiting, I started by trying to determine if she had a food allergy that was making her vomit.  I asked her owners to feed a sample of a diet called Z/D, gave an anti-inflammatory injection that lasts about 7 days and asked the owners to get back with me in about a week.  Her owners said that she did great for about 2 weeks without vomiting but would not eat the Z/D diet.  Adobe’s owners are retired and travel frequently so they asked if I could give a similar medication that lasted longer.  After performing blood work and a urine analysis to rule out reasons for vomiting that are not related to IBD, I agreed to give an injection of a drug called Depo-Medrol (methylprednisolone).  I also suggested another hypo-allergenic diet called the HP diet.  After a few weeks, the owners were happy to report that Adobe liked the HP diet and felt it reduced vomiting and along with the Depo-Medrol injection eliminated vomiting for about 1 month.

From a veterinarian perspective, this is good and bad.  It is good that Adobe finally had some relief from persistent vomiting, but it is bad that this is a treatment that can cause harm, particularly when given repeatedly.  It is known to cause diabetes and a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, that I wanted to avoid.  Therefore, I started recommending alternative drugs that reduced this risk, but still relieved the vomiting.  The problem I faced was that Adobe does not like to take oral medications.  After attempting several alternative medications, we were forced to fall back to giving the injectable drug Depo-Medrol, which we did monthly for about 2 years.  Adobe started showing clinical signs of diabetes after receiving steroidal medication for 4 years – 2 years on prednisolone daily and 2 years on Depo-Medrol monthly.  Her blood glucose was moderately elevated, and she started having glucose in her urine.  Clearly, we needed to do something different.

I had read about a newer treatment involving the use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) to treat inflammatory bowel disease that had shown promise.  A published paper had shown that 5/7 cats with IBD were significantly improved or had complete resolution of clinical signs whereas the controls had no improvement (1).  A canine IBD study reported 9/11 dogs had clinical remission (2).  These data support the idea that adult stem cells could provide the immunoregulation necessary to control IBD in cats and dogs.

I discussed this option with Pam and Paul who agreed to let me surgically collect 94.5 grams of adipose tissue from the abdomen and ship the fat to San Diego to process this fat tissue at a company called VetStem.  They isolated 25.4 million mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) from the fat I had sent them, then sent these cells a day later to the All Cat Clinic in Colorado to slowly inject the cells intravenously into Adobe.  The procedure corresponded with the time that Adobe would have received the Depo-Medrol, which we did not give.

The owners reported that the week following the MSC injection, Adobe’s attitude was much improved.  Being the week beyond the time that Adobe usually received the Depo-Medrol, the improvement seen in Adobe’s behavior is significant.  Adobe was not acting “sickly”, wasn’t cowering, wanted to be petted by the owners and had a good appetite. Adobe had 3 episodes of vomiting the 1st week following the MSC injection, but these episodes included small amounts of whole food instead of large digested kibble.  Starting the second week post-MSC injection, Adobe started showing signs of lethargy, was quiet, and eating less food.  On Nov. 14th, a repeat blood panel and urine analysis was performed which was normal, except for mild renal insufficiency.  The hyperglycemia and glucosuria was resolved.  Subcutaneous fluids, along with famotidine, mirtazapine and Cerenia were given.  Adobe was also treated for mild/moderate ear infection and mild conjunctivitis.  Adobe responded well to the appetite stimulants, anti-nausea, ear, eye and fluid therapy treatments and a second MSC injection was scheduled.

On Nov. 28th, a second MSC injection was given.  Following this injection, Adobe improved significantly.  Owner stated that Adobe was acting like a younger version of herself, no vomiting was seen and had a good appetite.  Two weeks following the 2nd injection of MSC and 3 months since the last Depo-Medrol injection, Adobe was reported to be doing extremely well.  The only major concern was that Adobe’s hair appeared to be thinning.  The literature reveals the opposite effect with hair growth usually occurring after MSC injections.  It is possible that after such a long period of steroid treatment that hair loss might be a response to withdrawal and subsequent cellular “normalizing” prior to hair regrowth.

Currently Adobe is doing very well.  She has not been vomiting for about 4 months.  We haven’t needed to treat the chronic vomiting with methylprednisolone (Depo-Medrol) since starting the MSC therapy.  Adobe had alopecia/hair thinning for about 2 months after the MSC therapy, but most recently, has regained her normal hair coat.

From my perspective, this treatment can be categorized as “new and good.”  It is a little early to know just how good this new treatment modality will be in clinical practice, but as new cases present themselves and we gather more information, my hope is that we will be able to say that MSC treatment is “new and very good!”

 

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

2)  Perez-Merino E.M., Uson-Casaus J.M., Zaragoza-Bayle C., Duque-Carrasco J., Marinas-Pardo L., Hermida-Prieto M., et al.  Safety and efficacy of allogeneic adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells for treatment of dogs with inflammatory bowel disease:  Clinical and laboratory outcomes.  Vet J (2015) 206(3), 385-390.

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Mar 1, 2019

Veterinarian Highlight: Dr. Jeff Christiansen, DVM, DACVS

Dr. Christiansen with patient Ammo

In this week’s blog, we’d like to introduce you to one of our many VetStem Credentialed Veterinarians, Dr. Jeff Christiansen.  Dr. Christiansen is a traveling surgeon that works out of Aloha Pet and Bird Hospital, Island Animal Hospital, Animal Specialty and Emergency Hospital, Maybeck Animal Hospital and a number of other veterinary hospitals. While he primarily works in Central Florida, Dr. Christiansen gets referrals from all over Florida and occasionally some other states including Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, and even Wisconsin!  His company, Superior Veterinary Surgical Solutions, was founded in July 2014, though he’s been practicing veterinary medicine since 1996.  Dr. Christiansen has been a board-certified veterinary surgeon since 2002 and is experienced in all manners of soft tissue, orthopedic, and spinal surgery.

Though VetStem credentialed since 2008, Dr. Christiansen treated his first stem cell patient in 2012.  Since then, Dr. Christiansen has treated over 100 patients utilizing VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy and, as such, is a member of the VetStem Centennial Club. In addition to VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy, Dr. Christiansen provides platelet therapy utilizing the Pall Veterinary Platelet Enhancement Therapy (V-PET™) kit.  Dr. Christiansen has been using V-PET™ since 2015.

We were able to tear Dr. Christiansen away from his busy schedule to get a little insight on how he uses VetStem Cell Therapy.  See his interview below:

  1. What do you like about stem cell therapy and why did you choose VetStem as your service provider?
    I like the idea of improving the ability of a pet to heal and to control inflammation.
    When we perform orthopedic surgery, the implants we use have a finite/limited ability to tolerate stress before breaking. The sooner a pet’s body heals, the sooner the pet is out of the risk for such problems.
    When I do joint surgery, I know I am improving the pet’s comfort and function, but they still get arthritis over time (just a lot more slowly than without surgery); but stem cell therapy can help the pet reduce the arthritis, and protect (and potentially repair) the cartilage, and it improves the pet’s short and long-term comfort and function.
    I chose VetStem for two simple reasons: Unparalleled quality control and client support.
    I see videos and hear reports of other stem cell companies that don’t practice sterile technique, and they are harvesting/processing the tissue in the same room in which hospitalized patients are contained, complete with the airborne hair and patient waste. VetStem has tissue harvested sterilely, processes it sterilely, examines it under the microscope to inspect the quality/sterility, and performs additional bacterial or other testing as indicated.
    Any time I have questions or concerns, I get rapid and complete responses from the appropriate staff members, and even the CEO of the company as indicated.
    Service is without fail. If I place an order, I get what I want, when I ordered it, always properly shipped, climate-controlled, protected, labeled, etc.

 

  1. How do you select your stem cell cases?  What criteria must they meet before you recommend stem cell therapy?
    I recommend stem cell therapy with any orthopedic surgery or as a treatment option for arthritis. I also recommend stem cell therapy for cases with spinal problems as well as for issues with kidneys, lungs, intestines.
    The pet must be healthy enough to tolerate a brief, minor surgical harvest, as well as an expectation to live long to enjoy the benefit of the therapy. I don’t recommend for patients with cancer or systemic infection.
    I also make sure the owner is realistic. Stem Cells can do great things, and sometimes a nearly crippled pet can play like a puppy again, but I make sure the owner appreciates the limitations of any therapy.

 

  1. Any advice for pet owners considering stem cell therapy for their pet?
    Most people appreciate holistic, natural options for their pets. If you could do something that would improve (and potentially extend) your pet’s daily and long-term comfort and quality of life without drugs and further surgery, wouldn’t you do it?
    I would also strongly encourage pet owners to get pet insurance. Because the benefits with stem cell therapy are so clear-cut, at least with arthritis, many stem cell companies pay most or all of the cost of stem cell therapy.

Thanks, Dr. Christiansen, for taking the time to speak with us!  If you live in or around Florida and are considering stem cell therapy for your pet, you are in excellent hands with Dr. Jeff Christiansen!

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