Archive for the ‘Dog Stem Cells’ Category

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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Jan 4, 2019

Shar-Pei Receives Stem Cells for Arthritic Knees

Posted by Bob under Dog Arthritis, Dog Stem Cells

Gracie-Allen is a nine-year-old Shar-Pei.  Over the years, her knees developed arthritis that eventually began to slow her down.  In late 2017, Gracie was taken to her veterinarian, Dr. Nancy Hampel of VCA Animal Medical Center of El Cajon, who determined that Gracie had mild arthritis in her knees and recommended stem cell therapy.

Gracie was scheduled to have an anesthetic dental cleaning the following March, so her owners elected to wait until then to have the fat collected for stem cell therapy.  Scheduling your dog’s stem cell procedure at the same time as another routine procedure can be a good idea for dogs that are older or otherwise not great candidates for anesthesia.  Collecting the fat for stem cell therapy is a relatively quick and minimally invasive procedure that can potentially be done at the same time as a dental cleaning, spay/neuter, etc.  Speak to your veterinarian about your options for stem cell therapy.

Within 48 hours of the fat collection, Gracie received three stem cell injections: one in each knee and one intravenously.  It only took a few days for Gracie’s owners to notice a difference in her behavior and activity.  You can catch up on Gracie’s story here.

We recently checked in with Gracie’s owner and got a shining report!  Here is what Gracie’s mom said:

“Gracie is doing great.  She now stands on her hind legs to look over fences.  It was something she used to do and it hadn’t dawned on me that she had stopped until she started looking over a wood fence for Annie (Bulldog) when we go on our walks.  She sometimes jumps off our front porch and back on instead of using the step and she flies up and down stairs in the house.  She will stand on her hind legs and does a dog paddle when I ask her ‘what do horses do’ and sits on her bottom (with front legs off the ground) and dog paddles when I ask her to ‘sit pretty’ and ‘sit pretty patty cakes’.  I had stopped asking her to do these tricks since it became obvious that she didn’t want to do them, but now she will start the trick before I finish the question.  She oozes happy . . . which makes us very happy.”

Arthritis is a common problem that can affect all breeds of dogs.  If your dog is slowing down, limping, or less active than they were before, check with your veterinarian to determine if your dog has arthritis.  You can also contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area.

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Dec 28, 2018

Stem Cells for Muscle Injuries

Posted by Bob under Dog Muscle Injury, Dog Stem Cells

As you probably noticed, our primary focus in this blog tends to be arthritis.  We occasionally discuss torn cruciate ligaments and also have a few blogs about various disease processes that may be helped with stem cells.  One thing we have not spent much time on is stem cell therapy for muscle injuries.

Muscle injuries are not uncommon in the athletic dog.  Typical therapies for muscle injuries include rest, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and physical rehab.  Unfortunately, these therapies generally do not prevent the formation of fibrosis (scar tissue) or muscle contracture which ultimately leads to functional impairment.

In a study done on two police dogs (both German Shepherds) with injuries to their semitendinosus muscle, both dogs returned to the line of duty with a normal gait and no signs of lameness after receiving VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy.  This study was, in fact, the first report of using stem cells to treat skeletal muscle injuries in dogs.

If your dog has injured a muscle, speak to your veterinarian about whether VetStem Cell Therapy may help.  Or you can contact us for a list of VetStem providers in your area.

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Dec 7, 2018

Platelet Therapy: A Complement to Stem Cell Therapy

In addition to stem cell processing services, VetStem distributes platelet therapy kits to small and large animal veterinarians across the United States and Canada.  Platelet therapy is similar to stem cell therapy in that the patient’s own cells are collected, concentrated, and then reinjected into the affected area.  Unlike stem cell therapy, platelet therapy requires a blood collection and the process of concentrating the healing cells is performed by your veterinarian in the clinic.

How does platelet therapy work?  The scientific answer is that platelets activate by exposure to damaged tissue, releasing their granular contents which include anabolic growth factors.  These growth factors help attract progenitor cells to the injury site and play a key role in stimulating tissue repair through fibroblast expansion and cellular matrix production.  In other, less technical terms, when the concentrated platelets are injected into the site of damaged tissue, the platelets signal additional healing cells to migrate to the affected area to begin the process of tissue repair.

The great thing about platelet therapy is it can be performed in conjunction with stem cell therapy to further aid the healing process.  In our opinion, stem cell and platelet therapies are very different regenerative medicine solutions that can work synergistically. They each have their place and can benefit patients in different circumstances. We see the combination of adipose stem cell therapy and platelet therapy as the “platinum standard” for regenerative medicine.  While the idea of stem cell therapy is to deliver as many regenerative cells to the affected area as possible, by adding platelet therapy on top of it, additional healing cells will migrate to the area to further stimulate local tissue repair processes.  And like stem cell therapy, platelet therapy is autologous, meaning the animal is both the donor and the recipient.  Thus, there is minimal risk of rejection and reaction when performed under sterile conditions.

Our primary platelet therapy product for small animals is Pall Veterinary Platelet Enhancement Therapy or V-PET™.  We’ve seen much success with V-PET™ such as in Pippa Rose’s case and Pearl’s case.  But, similar to stem cell therapy, every patient’s response will vary.  Your veterinarian can best determine if your dog may benefit from platelet therapy.

If you have questions or would like VetStem to help you locate a platelet therapy provider near you, please contact us.  To read more about platelet therapy and success stories, click here and here.

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Nov 30, 2018

Stuart Gets Back to Playing Fetch After Stem Cell Therapy

Posted by Bob under Dog Stem Cells, Stem Cell Therapy

Stuart is a fun-loving Labrador that, like most Labs, loves to play fetch.  In 2017, when Stuart began showing signs of an injury, his owner, Cynthia, took him to her veterinarian, Dr. Cindy Echevarria at VCA University Animal Hospital in Dallas.  After an unsuccessful trial of a multitude of injectable and oral medications, Dr. Echevarria recommended treatment with VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy.

In July 2017, Stuart had his right carpus (wrist) and shoulder injected, as well as an intravenous injection of his own stem cells.  Approximately one week after the procedure, Stuart was feeling better and Cynthia commented that he was almost a completely different dog.

You can read the rest of Stuart’s story here.

We recently checked in on Stu and Cynthia reported that he is as happy and active as ever!  She stated, “Stem cell treatment was a lifesaver!”

If your dog has been diagnosed with a soft tissue injury, stem cell therapy may help him/her get back in the game.  Be sure to speak to your veterinarian or contact us to receive a list of VetStem Credentialed veterinarians in your area. 

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Nov 23, 2018

StemInsure: The Stem Cell Insurance for Dogs

Posted by Bob under Dog Stem Cells, Stem Cell Therapy

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.  While we can’t bank cord blood/tissue like we do with infants, the StemInsure is similar to our standard stem cell process where we extract stem cells out of a small amount of fat from your furry friend.

The great thing about the canine StemInsure is the fat can be collected in conjunction with an already scheduled, routine procedure such as a spay or neuter.  When your vet is performing the procedure, they would collect a very small amount of fat from your dog and send it to our laboratory to be processed where the small number of stem cells would be extracted and cryopreserved.  This process costs considerably less since it is a smaller amount of fat than is required for our normal process. If your dog develops arthritis or injures a tendon or ligament down the road, those cells would be available without requiring an additional anesthetic procedure to collect more fat tissue.  For this reason, we recommend StemInsure for all large breed puppies and other “at risk” breeds that tend to develop orthopedic issues as they age.

StemInsure is not only appropriate for puppies, however.  Dogs of all ages and breeds can benefit from this procedure.  An example would be an older dog that is undergoing an anesthetic procedure such as a dental cleaning.  Older animals tend to be a higher anesthetic risk than puppies so it is ideal to minimize their time under anesthesia.  Rather than removing a larger amount of fat from your dog’s abdomen, your vet can quickly remove a small amount of fat from beneath their skin in an effort to reduce the amount of time spent under anesthesia.

Unlike our standard stem cell process where your vet sends us fat and we send back injectable stem cell doses 48 hours later, the StemInsure sample cannot be used for immediate treatment.  Instead, the smaller tissue sample size yields enough cells that can be used to culture, or grow, a lifetime supply of stem cell doses for treatment at an additional cost when you need them.  This culture takes about 3-4 weeks however so if your dog requires treatment sooner than that, discuss with your veterinary stem cell provider which option will be best for your dog.

To find a veterinary stem cell provider in your area, click here.

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Nov 16, 2018

VetStem Patient, Argo, Featured on Local News (Again!)

Remember our friend, Argo, the chocolate Labrador that was featured on the local news for his treatment with VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy?  He just had his second cameo on a longer news segment that discussed his stem cell and platelet therapy treatments for arthritis.  You can watch the new video and read his story here.

Both Dr. Angie Zinkus and Dr. Kathy Mitchener have been credentialed to perform VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy for over a decade.

One thing we would like to point out: the article states that Argo’s platelet therapy required a 48-hour processing period.  While this is true of stem cell therapy, platelet therapy is an in-clinic procedure that can be done in a matter of a few hours.  VetStem is the distributor of the Veterinary Platelet Enhancement Therapy kit (V-PET™) but your veterinarian will perform the blood collection, processing, and injection.  For more information on Veterinary Platelet Enhancement Therapy, click here.  Or you can read V-PET™ success stories here and here.

If you think your pet may benefit from VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy, speak to your veterinarian today.  Or you can contact us to receive a list of VetStem Credentialed veterinarians in your area.

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Oct 12, 2018

What happens to my dog’s stem cells if I move?

For those of you who have had your dog treated with VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy, you may know that we store stem cells from nearly every patient who has had a sample processed at VetStem.  Banked doses are cryopreserved and can be carefully recovered from cryopreservation should your dog require future treatments.  But what happens if you move and no longer see the veterinarian who originally treated your dog?  This is a question we have received in the past and the good news is that VetStem has trained close to 5,000 veterinarians to perform stem cell therapy and if there is not one near you then most licensed veterinarians can be trained to use VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy.

Take Bowie for instance.  Bowie is a 13-year-old Japanese Chin who showed his enthusiasm for life by spinning in circles, or doing “chin spins,” as his owner called it.  He would use his left hind leg to pivot so it was no surprise that by the time he was 5 years old, he was showing signs of severe degenerative joint disease.  His veterinarian at the time, Dr. Patrick Leadbeater of Kahala Pet Hospital in Hawaii, performed surgery on Bowie’s knee and treated him with stem cells in 2010 and again in 2015.

In 2016, Bowie’s owners moved to California.  In 2018, Bowie began showing signs of arthritis once again.  Fortunately, Bowie had several stem cell doses banked.  His owners took him for a consult with their new veterinarian, Dr. Andreana Lim of McGrath Veterinary Center.  Though credentialed to perform VetStem Cell Therapy, Dr. Lim had not yet treated a stem cell patient.  In June 2018, Bowie became her first stem cell patient.  He received injections in both hips and both knees.

Our veterinarians span across the United States and Canada so if you move, we will help you find a credentialed veterinarian near you or will help a veterinarian of your choosing become VetStem credentialed.  Need to find a VetStem credentialed veterinarian near you?  Click here to receive a list of veterinarians near you.

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Oct 5, 2018

Mandy, the Tripod Mini Aussie, Experiences Improved Mobility

Posted by Bob under Dog Arthritis, Dog Stem Cells

Mandy’s mobility issues began when she was around four years old.  She broke her right front leg in three places and after several failed surgeries, she ended up having the leg amputated.  Not long after, she began showing symptoms of arthritis in her rear end.  Mandy’s mom, Susan, took her for a consult with Dr. Jerrold Bausman of VCA Veterinary Specialists of the Valley.  Dr. Bausman confirmed that Mandy had arthritis in her hips and ankles and recommended treatment with VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy.

Mandy received her stem cell treatment in December 2017 and Susan noticed improvement in her mobility shortly after.  You can read the rest of Mandy’s story here.

We recently checked in with Susan and Mandy is still doing great!  Mandy is eight years old now and has stem cell doses stored at VetStem should she require future treatments.

If your dog has been diagnosed with arthritis, visit your veterinarian to determine if stem cell therapy may help.  Or you can contact us for a list of stem cell providers in your area.

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