Archive for the ‘Dog Stem Cells’ Category

May 13, 2022

VetStem Cell Therapy Helps Senior Lab Walk Again

We absolutely love hearing stem cell success stories from pet owners. But some stories are extra touching because it’s clear that VetStem really improved a pet’s quality of life. That’s the case with Molly, a senior chocolate lab who was suffering from severe osteoarthritis and a potential spinal condition.

Molly

Osteoarthritis and Neurological Issue?

Molly has severe osteoarthritis (OA) in her hocks (ankles) and her left elbow. With a noticeable limp in her left front leg, one veterinarian called her elbow a mess after seeing X-rays of the joint. But Molly’s condition quickly deteriorated when one day she suddenly couldn’t walk at all. According to her owners, she was unable to bear any weight on her back legs and her back paws knuckled under when her owners tried to help her stand.

Her veterinarian worried that Molly may have a neurological issue such as a herniated disc in her spine, which can sometimes lead to being unable to walk. An MRI was offered however Molly’s owners elected to use the money to have Molly treated with VetStem Cell Therapy instead.

Treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy

Molly’s veterinarian, Dr. Rebecca Wolf of Metropolitan Veterinary Associates, collected fat tissue from Molly’s abdomen during a minimally invasive anesthetic procedure. The fat was aseptically packaged and shipped to the VetStem laboratory in Poway, California where VetStem lab technicians processed the fat to extract and concentrate the stem and regenerative cells contained therein. Molly’s cells were divided into doses and four stem cell injections were shipped to Dr. Wolf for treatment. Approximately 48 hours after the initial fat collection procedure, Molly received one stem cell injection into each hock, her left elbow, and intravenously.

Molly Regains Her Ability to Walk!

According to her owner, Molly had a great response to the stem cell therapy. Just two weeks after her injections, Molly was able to support her own weight with assistance. At her one month recheck appointment, Molly was able to take a few steps. And just shy of two months post-stem cell therapy, Molly was walking on her own again. When her back paws were flipped over, she righted them within two seconds.

Molly’s owner stated, “She is walking again on her own and without assistance, and she is definitely limping less on that front elbow. While we do realize at her age and the severity of arthritis in her joints that she won’t be a puppy again, I would definitely expect her to continue to improve and continue to be mobile. I would do this again for her in a heartbeat, and we are so thankful this technology exists. Thank you, VetStem, for giving us back our happy girl.”

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common diseases in dogs and pain associated with osteoarthritis can greatly reduce a dog’s quality of life. If you think your dog may benefit from treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy, speak to your veterinarian or contact us to find a VetStem provider near you.

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Mar 25, 2022

The VetStem Canine StemInsure

Posted by Bob under Dog Stem Cells, StemInsure, VetStem

March 23rd was National Puppy Day. To help you celebrate, we thought we would share how puppies can benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy. That’s right, stem cell therapy is not just for older or injured dogs, it can help puppies too!

VetStem StemInsure: The Stem Cell Insurance

VetStem offers a service called StemInsure. Similar to storing your baby’s stem cells at birth, the canine StemInsure provides peace of mind with banked stem cells that can be used later in life should your dog require them. Hence why we like to think of it as stem cell “insurance.” While many owners take advantage of this service for their young, healthy dogs, older dogs have benefitted from StemInsure as well.

What is the StemInsure Process?

The StemInsure process is similar to our standard stem cell process where we extract stem cells out of a small amount of fat from your furry friend. This small sample of cells can be stored for the lifetime of your dog and can be used to culture, or grow, therapeutic stem cell doses should your dog become sick or injured later in life. While many dogs can benefit from StemInsure, this process is ideal for large breed puppies and other breeds that are considered high risk for developing orthopedic diseases as they age.

Benefits of StemInsure

StemInsure comes with several advantages. First, the fat tissue can be collected in conjunction with an already scheduled, routine procedure such as a spay or neuter. While performing the routine procedure, your veterinarian will simply collect a small amount of fat from your dog and send it to our laboratory to be processed. If your dog requires stem cell therapy in the future, he/she won’t need to go through an additional fat collection procedure.

Another benefit of StemInsure is the price. The StemInsure process costs considerably less than our standard process. Because there are no therapeutic doses being sent for immediate treatment, the stem cell processing is much less intensive. Additionally, StemInsure cell banking is a bit cheaper than standard stem cell banking.

To find a VetStem credentialed veterinarian near you, click here.

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Jan 14, 2022

VetStem Helps Search and Rescue K9 Return to Work

Yana is a Search and Rescue K9 with a high drive to work. Unfortunately, she injured her iliopsoas, a group of muscles that function to externally rotate and flex the hip joint, similar to the hip flexor in people. These muscles are connected to the femur via a common tendon. Iliopsoas injuries most frequently occur at or near the muscle-tendon junction, which is referred to as “the weak link.”

After several weeks and three misdiagnoses, Yana was taken to a board-certified surgeon and experienced VetStem user, Dr. Kim Carlson. Dr. Carlson used ultrasound to diagnose Yana with a grade 2, or partial, iliopsoas tear and recommended treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy.

Yana

Fat tissue was extracted from Yana’s abdomen during a minimally invasive anesthetic procedure and overnighted to our laboratory. From there, VetStem lab technicians isolated Yana’s stem and regenerative cells from her fat tissue. These cells were divided into doses, and two stem cell injections were shipped to Dr. Carlson for treatment. Yana received one injection of her own stem cells into her injured iliopsoas and one intravenous injection. The rest of her cells were put into cryopreservation.

According to her owner, the months following Yana’s stem cell treatment were not easy and Yana’s healing process took a bit longer than anticipated because it was difficult to keep her quiet. She had to be kept on leash for almost a year, which is not ideal for a high-drive working dog. Approximately three months after her initial treatment, Yana received a follow up stem cell treatment, identical to her first, utilizing the stem cells that were cryogenically stored from the original fat tissue process.

Fortunately, the difficult rehabilitation process paid off. Dr. Carlson confirmed, via ultrasound, that Yana’s injury was healed, and Yana was able to get back to her very important work. Her owner stated, “It was a very difficult year for us, but I am very happy to say it was worth it. Yana returned to her work 11 months after injury and is her old, agile self!”

We absolutely love to hear stories about VetStem Cell Therapy helping working animals return to what they love to do. But stem cells can help companion animals too! If you think your pet may benefit from stem cell therapy, speak to your veterinarian or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area.

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Oct 15, 2021

Agility Dog Returns to Competition after VetStem Cell Therapy

Charm is a nine-year-old dalmatian and accomplished agility champion. Though she has always had a strong will to perform, Charm has had a few setbacks along the way. In 2016, Charm partially tore her cruciate ligament in her left knee. After consulting with her veterinarian and doing some independent research, Charm’s owner elected to have Charm treated with platelet rich plasma (PRP) and VetStem Cell Therapy.

To begin the process, fat tissue was collected from Charm’s inguinal area during a minimally invasive anesthetic procedure. Once collected, the fat was aseptically packaged and shipped to the VetStem laboratory in Poway, California. VetStem lab technicians processed the fat to extract and concentrate the stem and regenerative cells contained therein. One stem cell injection was shipped to her veterinarian for treatment. Approximately 48 hours after the initial fat collection procedure, Charm received one dose of her own stem cells and PRP into her injured knee.

Charm

According to her owner, Charm recovered well and returned to agility five months later. Unfortunately, this then four-year-old active dog, continued to show signs of intermittent lameness and stiffness. Though her X-rays showed no arthritis, further testing revealed that Charm had Lyme disease. This helped to explain her lameness as a few of the common symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs are painful or swollen joints and lameness that comes and goes. Though there is limited data regarding stem cell therapy for Lyme disease, Charm’s owner elected to have her retreated with stem cells in an attempt to manage her symptoms.

Charm received a second round of stem cell injections approximately one year after her initial treatment. This time, she received one dose into her left knee and one intravenous dose in conjunction with PRP. She was also treated with homeopathic remedies, hydrotherapy, and strength training. According to her owner, Charm bounced back and returned to master level agility trials. Her owner stated, “She feels great, her quantitative Lyme levels are subclinical, and she is running, jumping, and playing like a puppy again.” She later went on to win Agility Champion of Canada Awards, 5th place at Agility Association Canada Nationals plus a Distance Log from the Dalmatian Club of Canada. Charm received a third round of stem cell injections, both in her left knee and intravenously, approximately two years later.

Fast forward another few years and Charm, being the active athlete that she is, injured the cruciate ligament in her right knee. Fortunately, she still had multiple stem cell doses cryopreserved. So, in January of this year, Charm received a stem cell injection into her right knee. Once again, her owner noticed marked improvement. She stated, “This now nine-year-old girl is feeling wonderful just 5 weeks after her stem cell injection and no signs of any arthritic pain!”

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Aug 27, 2021

VetStem Cell Therapy for Dogs on National Dog Day

Posted by Bob under Dog Stem Cells, VetStem Cell Therapy

August 26th is National Dog Day. This day was founded in 2004 and celebrates dogs of all breeds. The stated mission is to bring attention to all the dogs that need rescuing as well as honor both family dogs and working dogs. For our own celebration, we would like to discuss the various uses of VetStem Cell Therapy in dogs!

VetStem Cell Therapy for Dogs

Though the first patient to be treated with VetStem Cell Therapy was a horse, dogs followed closely behind. Initially, we worked with select veterinary clinics to evaluate the use of VetStem Cell Therapy for osteoarthritis (OA) and orthopedic soft tissue injures such as cruciate ligament tears. After several years of collecting and analyzing data, we published two peer-reviewed studies. The first, in 2007, evaluated the use of stem cells for chronic hip OA. The second was published in 2008 and looked at stem cells for chronic elbow OA. Both studies concluded that treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy led to reduced lameness and pain as well as increased range of motion in the affected dogs.

VetStem Cell Therapy for More than OA

Though dogs were initially treated primarily for orthopedic conditions, we eventually broadened our research interests. Veterinarians have now used VetStem Cell Therapy to treat a wide array of conditions in dogs including organ failure, inflammatory bowel disease, back pain, and keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS or “Dry Eye”). Though we do not have any completed peer-review studies for these conditions, some dogs have experienced good results!

VetStem Cell Therapy for Canine Back Pain and IVDD

Canine back pain is one of VetStem’s current clinical research programs. A clinical research program is designed to evaluate the safety and possible effectiveness of VetStem Cell Therapy for specific conditions. One condition that falls under our back pain clinical research program is intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). This is a condition in which one or several intervertebral discs in the spine bulge, resulting in pressure on the spinal cord and leading to pain and possibly the loss of limb function. While IVDD can potentially be a devastating disease, several owners have reported improvement in their dog after treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy including Bella and Bailee.

If you think your dog may benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy, even if he/she is not suffering form an orthopedic condition, we recommend speaking to your veterinarian or contacting us to find VetStem providers near you.

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Jul 23, 2021

Dog Receives VetStem Cell Therapy for Disc Disease

In this week’s blog, we are sharing Bella’s story. Bella, a pit bull, was approximately twelve years old when she received VetStem Cell Therapy. She was previously diagnosed with Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) and pain medication, unfortunately, brought her little relief.

Intervertebral Disc Disease

IVDD is a condition in which one or several intervertebral discs in the spine bulge, resulting in pressure on the spinal cord. This pressure may result in extreme pain and possibly loss of limb function. IVDD can be a result of chronic disc degeneration or from an acute injury. Conservative treatment with pain medications and anti-inflammatories may help patients who have a gradual onset of symptoms or whose symptoms are mild. In severe cases or when there are repeated episodes, surgery may be recommended.

A veterinarian in blue scrubs gives an IV injection of stem cells to Bella, a black and white pit bull, while her mom, a veterinary technician holds her.
Bella, receiving an intravenous injection of her own stem cells via VetStem Cell Therapy

Bella’s mom, a veterinary technician at Fort Lee Animal Clinic, noticed that Bella stopped jumping on and off furniture and was restless and unable to sleep comfortably at night. After researching her options, she decided to have Bella treated with her own stem cells. Dr. Nazar Pereymybida at Fort Lee Animal Clinic agreed that Bella may benefit from stem cell therapy and Bella became his first stem cell case.

Treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy

To begin the process, Dr. Pereymybida collected fat tissue from Bella’s abdomen in a minimally invasive anesthetic procedure. The fat was aseptically packaged and shipped to the VetStem laboratory in Poway, California. Once received, VetStem lab technicians processed the fat to extract and concentrate Bella’s stem and regenerative cells. Stem cell injections were prepared and shipped back to Dr. Pereymybida. Approximately 48 hours after the initial fat collection procedure, Bella received multiple injections of her own stem cells along her paraspinal muscles as well as intravenously.

Stem cell treatment of IVDD falls under VetStem’s clinical research program for canine back pain. This program is designed to evaluate the safety and potential effectiveness of stem cells for numerous canine back conditions.

Results

Approximately two months after receiving VetStem Cell Therapy, Bella’s owner reported that her symptoms had improved! Though Bella was still on pain medications, her owner stated, “She’s now jumping on and off the bed and seems less painful and more energetic.” In addition, Bella was able to sleep comfortably through the entire night.

Unfortunately, Bella was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. Her condition progressed rapidly and she crossed over the rainbow bridge.

While there is still more to learn about using VetStem Cell Therapy to treat canine IVDD, Bella’s case is not the only positive outcome reported. You may remember Bailee’s story from a while ago. He also received VetStem Cell Therapy for IVDD after an injury to his neck. And like Bella, Bailee also experienced a reduction in pain after treatment.

If your dog has IVDD or another painful back condition, speak to your veterinarian about the possibility of treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy. Since these conditions develop for different reasons, the stem cell protocol and outcome can vary for each dog. Any inquiries regarding treatment of similar conditions or other non-standard indications should be directed to VetStem personnel.

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Mar 5, 2021

Against All Odds: A Tribute to Kingsley

Kingsley, a rottweiler, found his family in the emergency room. His mom, Dr. Bethany Mullins, was an ER veterinarian when Kingsley came in as a puppy. Despite the fact that he was an amputee with only three legs, Dr. Mullins adopted Kingsley immediately.

A black and brown dog with 3 legs lying on his back on a couch.
Kingsley

As a front let amputee, Kingsley’s remaining front leg was under extra stress. And when he was just eleven months old, he was diagnosed with osteoarthritis as a result of elbow dysplasia. Dr. Mullins reported that Kingsley could barely walk and due to the severity of his condition, surgery was not an option for him. Fortunately, the veterinary surgeon suggested treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy.

Kingsley’s first stem cell treatment was in July 2010. He received one injection into his affected elbow and one intravenous injection. According to his mom, within two weeks he was running with her other dogs and playing fetch. Kingsley went on to receive follow-up injections of his own stem cells approximately six months and one year after his initial treatment.

After his third round of stem cell injections in August 2011, Kingsley went approximately five and a half years before requiring another stem cell treatment in early 2017. In the ten years since his initial injections, Kingsley received a total of eight follow-up stem cell treatments. According to his mom, Kingsley’s life expectancy was a mere three years due to the severity of his condition. But with the help of his veterinarian mom and his stem cells, Kingsley lived to be twelve years old.

A blonde woman, Dr. Bethan Mullins, leans in for a kiss from a black and brown dog.
Dr. Bethany Mullins and Kingsley

Unfortunately, Kingsley passed away earlier this year. His mom described him as the sweetest, most gentle dog, stating, “He even went to a preschool class for a presentation about being a veterinarian and was wonderful with the children.” Dr. Mullins went on to say, “You truly saved Kingsley’s life…He lived a full life because of his stem cell injections over the years…I am an ER veterinarian, so I don’t do a lot of stem cell therapy in my department. But I’m a true believer, having had it for myself at one time, and I believe what you are doing is the future of many solutions to diseases that have confounded us. Please keep doing what you’re doing.”

It is stories like Kingsley’s that keep us doing what we are doing. When we hear about dogs like Kingsley, who were dealt a bad hand in life, but came back against all odds after having stem cell therapy, we cannot help but be immensely proud of and grateful for this technology we have developed. We hope that Kingsley is getting all the belly rubs and kisses on the other side of that rainbow bridge.

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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.

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Aug 7, 2020

Injured Veteran’s Dog Receives Stem Cells and Platelet Therapy

Posted by Bob under Dog Stem Cells, Platelet Therapy

This week is International Assistance Dog Week (IADW). Information from the IADW website states, “International Assistance Dog Week was created to recognize all the devoted, hardworking assistance dogs helping individuals mitigate their disability related limitations.” To show our support of this well-deserved recognition, we wanted to highlight Max, a service dog to a disabled army veteran. According to an article from Florida Today, 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.

Max at the vet

In 2017, Max was diagnosed with a torn cruciate ligament. He was obviously in pain and in need of surgery and other medical procedures. Fortunately, his story got out and through donations and good will, Max was able to have surgery. 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 Veterinary Platelet Enhancement Therapy kit as well as discounted stem cell processing services.

According to Dr. Christiansen, Max recovered completely. Unfortunately, Max suffered a second cruciate rupture in his other leg just over two years after the initial 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. In this video from Dr. Christiansen, Max can be seen working on his at home exercises with his dad.

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May 15, 2020

The Importance of Storing Stem Cells

Posted by Bob under Dog Stem Cells, Stem Cell Storage

At VetStem, we have the potential to store stem cells from each patient whose fat we process. It is our general protocol to store a small number of stem cells from each fat sample for potential future use. Known as the Retention Sample, this small number of cells affords us the ability to provide stem cell treatments for the life of the patient from whom the cells came. More on that later.

Storage of Stem Cell Doses for Future Use

In addition to the Retention Sample, VetStem has the ability to store any unused stem cell doses from the initial stem cell process. How does this work exactly? Let’s say your dog has bilateral hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis and your veterinarian plans to give your dog an injection of stem cells directly into each hip as well as an intravenous injection. Three injections equals three doses. But suppose the fat sample from your dog had enough cells to provide six doses. Well, those extra three doses would then be cryopreserved for potential future use. And then down the line, if your dog started showing signs of discomfort, your veterinarian could request those three doses for a second stem cell treatment.

The Retention Sample Can Be Used to Provide More Doses

In keeping with this same scenario, your dog has now had two rounds of treatment, three injections each time. Therefore, all six doses from the initial fat processing have now been used. That is where the Retention Sample comes in. Our standard protocol is to store a small number of cells from every fat sample that we process. For a fee, the Retention Sample can be put into culture to grow more stem cells. The cultured stem cells will be genetically identical to your dog’s original stem cells. And once the culture process is complete (it takes approximately 3-4 weeks), your dog will have usable stem cell doses again.

Cryopreservation of Stem Cells

Cryopreservation of stem cells allows the cells to maintain their functional properties. When stored at very low temperatures, the cells can be stored for long periods. Normal biological processes are slowed allowing the regenerative properties of stem cells to remain intact. Cryopreserved cells will last the lifetime of your pet.

With the ability to culture and store extra stem cell doses, your pet should only have to undergo one fat collection procedure. Having extra doses available for use also eliminates waiting time. We ship stem cell doses out Monday through Friday and can work with short notice in most cases. This is especially beneficial for some of the animals who are battling life threatening conditions such as kidney disease.

If your pet has cells stored at VetStem and you have questions regarding those stored cells, do not hesitate to contact us! We can be reached by phone at 858-748-2004, email, or through our contact page. Alternatively, if you would like to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area, contact us here.

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