Archive for the ‘Dog Stem Cells’ Category

Jun 28, 2019

Translational Medicine: How Animals Are Helping Humans

VetStem was recently featured in a documentary about Regenerative Veterinary Medicine called Animal Pharm: Where Beasts Meet Biotech.  We’ll share more about this soon, but one interesting aspect of the film is the commentary on how advances made in veterinary medicine are translating into the human medical field.

It’s not an uncommon narrative: a new medial technology or drug emerges in the veterinary field and after research and outcome data are compiled, scientists and doctors begin to wonder how humans may benefit from the same technology.  Known as translational medicine, Animal Pharm takes a look at how we’ve begun to apply what we know about stem cell therapy for animals to human medicine.

As a leader in the field of Regenerative Veterinary Medicine, VetStem strives to remain one step ahead and we recently announced the launch of our human stem cell company, Personalized Stem Cells, Inc. (PSC).  PSC was launched to advance and legitimize human regenerative medicine, which until recently, has been largely unregulated.  Recent regulatory action by the FDA, FTC, and the Federation of State Medical Boards has made it clear however that the only allowed use of stem cells will be through legitimate FDA clinical trials.

As such, PSC plans to launch FDA approved human stem cell clinical trials later this year.  The company recently announced their first Investigational New Drug application to the FDA for the treatment of osteoarthritis in the knee.  If you are interested in more information, you can contact PSC here.

These are exciting times we’re living in.  Though our primary goal has been to improve the lives of animals, it was always in the back of our minds that the technology we’ve worked so hard to develop and advance might one day be able to help humans also.  We are excited to see this dream becoming a reality.

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May 24, 2019

Bodie Benefits from Routine Stem Cell Therapy

Posted by Bob under Dog Arthritis, Dog Stem Cells

Bodie is a beautiful Springer Spaniel who, according to his owner, is a natural hunter “gifted with an uncanny sense of smell, unmatched drive and very strong muscle structure” making him hard to beat in competition.  At an early age, Bodie began showing signs of discomfort and his owners noticed he had trouble getting up.  X-rays confirmed that Bodie had hip dysplasia, a condition that leads to osteoarthritis in the hip joints.

When Bodie was around three years old, he had his hips treated with VetStem Cell Therapy by Dr. Mitch Luce, owner of Live Oak Veterinary Hospital in Sonora, CA.  Later that year, he went back into tournament hunting and, after winning the majority of his tournaments, Bodie won the US Bird Dog Association Western States Nationals at four years of age.

After his big win, Bodie’s owners elected to retire him from competition and restricted his hunting activities in an effort to reduce his risk of injury.  Bodie began hydrotherapy and continued with stem cell therapy, receiving treatment once to twice per year.  Bodie’s dad, Charlie, was so committed to Bodie’s well-being that he built him an at-home underwater treadmill, which he still uses.  In the summer months, Bodie also swims in the pool for exercise.  Charlie stated that, “Exercise is key to dealing with his condition. We would walk every morning.”

Now nine years old, Bodie has started to refuse his morning walks.  His owner noted, “Hills are painful for him so we don’t force it.  Although his condition was first noticed in his hips, his right elbow and left front foot are now noticeably arthritic.”  Fortunately for Bodie, his owners continue to have him treated with his banked stem cells every year.  He also receives Adequan injections and a low dose of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug once or twice per week.

Despite his arthritis, Bodie is still full of life.  His owner tells us about his daily routine: “Bodie has a built-in clock and enjoys a sense of purpose.  He starts our day at 5:30 when he wakes us to feed his yard birds.  Breakfast quickly follows then exercise at 9.  He fills his day checking on his pen birds, playing with his brother and following in the garden, helping himself to carrots when they are in season.  Promptly at 2:30 he reminds us to feed his yard birds again.  Dinner is at 4:20, again promptly.  By 5 he’s collected the collars to be put away on the hall rack.  He then settles in for the evening.”

His owner also shared this video of Bodie (liver and white) “lecturing the fish at the hatchery.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AY1hvlw5Ryk&feature=youtu.be

Bodie’s case is a good example of an osteoarthritic dog who benefits from continued stem cell treatment.  While some dogs with osteoarthritis have one stem cell treatment and do not require another treatment for several years, it is also the case that some dogs will require routine treatment for the rest of their lives.  This is important to note when considering stem cell therapy for your arthritic pet.  Each animal responds differently to stem cell therapy and we want pet owners to have the proper expectations.  If you are considering stem cell therapy for your pet, speak to your veterinarian or contact VetStem for a list of stem cell providers in your area.

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May 17, 2019

Arthritic Bogey Resumes His Daily Walks

Posted by Bob under Dog Arthritis, Dog Stem Cells

Bogey, a Labrador who is now ten years old, injured his cruciate ligaments in both knees when he was nine.  On top of that, he also has advanced arthritis in his left hip.  His mobility was so limited that he could barely walk and required assistance to do things like jump in the car and onto the couch.

According to Bogey’s mom, when he was first injured, they thought they might lose him.  Fortunately, Bogey’s veterinarian, Dr. Ava DeCozio of VCA Apache Junction Animal Hospital, recommended treatment with VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy.

Just three months after treatment, Bogey was back to his old self and was able to resume his daily walks to the park with mom.  You can read the rest of Bogey’s story here.

We recently checked in on Bogey and his mom reported that he continues to do well and is still going on his daily walks.  We’re so happy for Bogey and his family!

Though Bogey was facing multiple painful joints and limited mobility, stem cell therapy improved his quality of life.  According to his owner he got his energy and personality back and was like his old self again.  If you think your dog may benefit from stem cell therapy, speak to your veterinarian for more information.  Or you can contact us to locate a stem cell provider near you.

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May 10, 2019

Veterinarian Highlight: Dr. Nick Vitale, DVM

Posted by Bob under Dog Stem Cells, Platelet Therapy

For this week’s Veterinarian Highlight, we would like to introduce you to Dr. Nick Vitale of Heritage Animal Hospital in Dundee, MI.  Dr. Vitale received his BS in Zoology and his DVM from Michigan State University.  Though a relatively recent adopter of VetStem Cell Therapy, Dr. Vitale hit the ground running and has treated over 40 patients with stem cell therapy in less than a year and half.  And that doesn’t include the patients he has treated with Veterinary Platelet Enhancement Therapy (V-PET™)!

Though stem cells are primarily used to treat orthopedic conditions such as osteoarthritis and injured tendons or ligaments, Dr. Vitale has treated his patients for several “non-standard” indications as well including feline kidney disease and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

We spoke with Dr. Vitale to ask a few questions about how he uses regenerative medicine in his practice.

Why do you like stem cell therapy and what do you commonly use it for?

I like it for many reasons. I can help reduce a patient’s need for medicines that have bad secondary side effects. I can help multiple issues at once, vs an owner having to perform multiple orthopedic surgeries which can be very, very expensive when the owner only has so much to work with.

Ideally, I would love to perform stem cell therapy on each orthopedic patient I take care of from ACL injuries to OCD issues to medial coronoid disease, etc. If my own lab needed ACL surgery, I would automatically perform stem cells to help the surgery even more. My normal surgical discussions, especially for ACL injuries, is to discuss standard of care surgery such as MRIT or TPLO and then I say, ‘we can make it even better with doing this.’ I also bring up that when we bank these doses, we can use them later in life for other problems such as autoimmune disease or liver or kidney problems, as this is most likely going to be a treatment very commonly done in the future. 

What injuries/ailments do you commonly treat with Veterinary Platelet Enhancement Therapy (V-PET™)?

I use V-PET for chronic non-healing injuries and for use on ligamentous and tendon injury. For very early ACL strains and tears, less than 25%, I have performed V-PET and have had good outcomes so far. I also will do this for a last resort when a patient has a less than 50% tear of an ACL and there are no other options as far as surgery, which is too expensive for the owner. Older patients, especially those with cancers, I will do V-PET on for arthritis vs doing stem cells. In very, very old patients, V-PET is easy to do and apply and it will keep them mobile longer and I have seen very good results with this modality. 

If you are located in the Dundee, MI area and are interested in having your dog or cat treated with VetStem Cell Therapy and/or Veterinary Platelet Enhancement Therapy, we recommend a visit with Dr. Nick Vitale.

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Apr 26, 2019

VetStem Cell Therapy for Canine Dry Eye

Posted by Bob under Dog Stem Cells

As most of you know, stem cell therapy is most commonly used to treat orthopedic conditions  such as osteoarthritis and injured ligaments.  In previous blogs, we’ve shared that VetStem Cell Therapy may help other conditions such as canine back pain, inflammatory bowel disease, feline kidney disease, and feline gingivostomatitis.  VetStem continues to evaluate the use of stem cells for these disease processes with some favorable results being seen.  Another condition that VetStem is evaluating is canine Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, otherwise known as KCS and commonly referred to as “dry eye.”

This disease of the eye is found in an estimated 35% of dogs.  Symptoms include decreased tear production, discomfort, and potential vision problems.  Studies suggest KCS may be caused by an inflammatory process that leads to the destruction of the tear production glands.  Unfortunately, most dogs with KCS will require lifelong treatment with medications to relieve the symptoms associated with the condition.

The good news is, two recent studies found that symptoms of KCS in dogs were reduced or, in some cases, completely resolved after treatment with adipose-derived stem cells.  To receive treatment, your dog would first undergo a minimally-invasive fat collection procedure.  From the fat, VetStem laboratory technicians will isolate your dog’s stem and regenerative cells to create injectable stem cell doses.  Your veterinarian would then inject the stem cell doses following a protocol that VetStem has established.

If your dog has KCS, speak to your veterinarian to determine if he/she may be eligible for this clinical research program using VetStem Cell Therapy.  You can also contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area.

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Mar 29, 2019

Stem Cells in Conjunction with Surgery

Posted by Bob under Dog Stem Cells, Stem Cell Therapy

We recently posted a blog entitled “Stem Cell Therapy vs. Surgery” but what about stem cells in conjunction with surgery?  Well, stem cells can absolutely be used in conjunction with surgery and may further benefit the healing process and overall patient outcome.

Stem cells are anti-inflammatory and can modulate pain.  They have been shown to have the ability to reduce scar tissue formation, regenerate cartilage tissue, and restore elasticity to injured tendons and ligaments.  When stem cell therapy is combined with a surgery, the animal gets benefit from both treatments.  For instance, if a dog has a torn cruciate ligament that requires surgical repair, performing stem cell therapy in conjunction with the surgery may lead to reduced healing time, less pain/more comfort during recovery, and less scar tissue, which may ultimately lead to less arthritis down the road.  The same goes for arthroscopy, in which a veterinarian clears arthritic joint space of abnormal bone or cartilage.  Injecting stem cells after surgery may lead to healthy cartilage regeneration and ultimately more comfort for the patient.

Cruciate ligament repair and arthroscopy are two common procedures that we see used in conjunction with stem cell therapy.  For instance, Lady received VetStem Cell Therapy in conjunction with cruciate ligament repair surgery while Pearl received VetStem Cell Therapy in conjunction with arthroscopy to treat arthritis in her elbows.  Another patient, Sheldon, received VetStem Cell Therapy after arthroscopy to treat arthritis related to Fragmented Coronoid Process (FCP) in his elbows.

If your veterinarian has recommended surgery to repair a torn tendon or ligament or to treat arthritis, ask about adding on VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy to further benefit the healing process.  Or, if you would like a list of VetStem providers in your area, send us a Locate a Vet request.

Sheldon after Arthroscopy and VetStem Cell Therapy

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Mar 15, 2019

Rascal has a Renewed Interest in Life After Stem Cell Therapy

Rascal, a mixed-breed rescue dog with one eye, suffered a cruciate ligament tear just six weeks after he was adopted.  Though the ligament was surgically repaired, he developed arthritis in the joint that caused problems with his mobility as he aged.

When he was around nine years old, he began walking stiffly and was having trouble jumping into the van.  Rascal’s veterinarian, Dr. Deborah Fegan of Big Creek Pet Hospital, determined that he had arthritis in both knees and both hips as well.  She recommended treatment with VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy.

After stem cell therapy, Rascal had a ‘renewed interest in life’ according to his mom.  His mobility improved along with his energy level and he began playing with his newly adopted Lab brother.  You can read the rest of Rascal’s story here.

It has been almost one year since Rascal received stem cell therapy and his mom reported that he’s still doing very well!  She stated, “He is coming upstairs more than ever and with no discomfort.  He goes on his daily walks, and there is no need to shorten them in any way.  Rascal continues to play with his brother.  At this point, he is showing no signs of limping, discomfort or lack of interest in daily activities.  Quite the opposite, he is having an active senior life and enjoying every minute of it.”  Yay, Rascal!

It is not uncommon for arthritis to develop in joints after traumatic injuries, even when surgical repair is performed.  Stem cell therapy may provide long-term anti-inflammatory effects, decrease pain, and stimulate regeneration of cartilage tissue that slows the degenerative process of arthritis.

If your dog has suffered a tendon or ligament injury or has arthritis, contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area.

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Mar 1, 2019

Veterinarian Highlight: Dr. Jeff Christiansen, DVM, DACVS

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!

Dr. Jeff Christiansen with patient Ammo

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Feb 22, 2019

Stem Cell Therapy vs Surgery

Time and again, dog owners have told us that stem cells helped their arthritic dog avoid costly and invasive surgeries.  While stem cells may help to regenerate damaged soft tissue and reduce scar tissue formation, is it always a better option than surgery?  The answer largely depends on the situation at hand.

First and foremost, let us be clear that stem cells will not cure conditions such as hip dysplasia or degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis).  Joint dysplasia is a congenital disorder of a malformation of the joint.  This malformation will cause osteoarthritis which can be treated, but stem cell therapy will not realign or tighten the joint.  As for degenerative joint disease, because of the ongoing nature of changes in the joint(s) due to arthritis, stem cell therapy may not stop the degenerative process.  Stem cell administration may however provide pain relief due to the anti-inflammatory properties of stem cells and may also slow the degenerative process by stimulating cartilage repair/regeneration.

That being said, there are some surgical options that can cure joint dysplasia.  When it comes to the hips, the primary options are surgical procedures known as FHO (Femoral Head Ostectomy) and total hip replacement.  With an FHO, the veterinary surgeon will remove the head and neck from the femur (the ‘ball’ of the ball-and-socket joint).  As you can imagine, this procedure is invasive and not always successful, particularly in larger breed dogs.  A more modern approach is total hip replacement, which is similar to the human equivalent of joint replacement where an artificial joint replaces the damaged joint.  This procedure is not only invasive and costly, there are also a number of potential difficulties that may occur, which may lead to additional surgeries.

Sometimes however, surgery really is the better option.  Keep in mind, VetStem Cell Therapy can be used in conjunction with surgery.  Administering stem cells after a surgical procedure may help to reduce pain and improve healing. Oftentimes, we hear of dog owners who were told surgery was the only option, so they sought a second opinion.  Second opinions are rarely a bad idea when it comes to major health decisions.  Another option is to have your veterinarian consult with a VetStem staff veterinarian.  This can be arranged by having your veterinary office get in touch with our customer service team, who will set up a good time to speak with a VetStem veterinarian.  Your vet can discuss your dog’s specific case and what options may best help your companion.

Like you, we want what is best for your dog.  If we think that surgery is your dog’s best option, we will tell your vet that.  Ultimately, the decision to pursue stem cell therapy instead of, or in conjunction with, surgery is one you should make with your veterinarian.  We advise you to do your research, ask questions, and seek a second or even a third opinion if you still aren’t sure.  VetStem is here to help in any way that we can.  If you’d like a list of stem cell providers in your area, please contact us here.

Ruby received VetStem Cell Therapy and avoided total hip replacement.

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Jan 11, 2019

Canine Back Pain: Can Stem Cells Help?

Posted by Bob under Dog Back Pain, Dog Stem Cells

“Canine Back Pain” is a broad term that encompasses pain felt in any location along a dog’s back.  Because the back is such a complex structure, this pain can result form a variety of causes which may be difficult and costly to diagnose.  Spinal structures, nerves, and the surrounding soft tissues may all be involved as sources of canine back pain, but the exact location may be hard to pinpoint.

In recent years, cell therapy has emerged as a treatment option for human lower back pain.  While most of the clinical work has focused on intradiscal injections, recent methods have become less invasive, utilizing injection into the muscles surrounding the spine.  Stem cells may reduce inflammation and modulate pain, thereby leading to the patient being more comfortable.

In a recent stem cell success story, we discussed Sam, a German Shepherd who has arthritis in his lower spine.  Following treatment with VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy, Sam’s range of motion increased along with his activity level.  You can read Sam’s story here.

While the results of the human clinical trials appear promising, using stem cells to treat canine back pain is still in the early stages.  We cannot emphasize enough what a complex structure the back is and, as such, stem cells may not work for every condition that causes canine back pain.  If your dog is experiencing back pain, the best place to start is with a veterinarian examination.  Your vet can help determine what is causing your dog’s back pain and whether or not stem cell therapy may be an option.  Need help finding a vet?  Contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area.

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