Archive for the ‘from the vet’ Category

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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Apr 28, 2010

21st Century Medicine is here:Stem Cells for Dogs

Am I too old for stem cells for my arthritis?

Recently there was a segment on 60 Minutes entitled “21st Century Snake Oil” that profiled the use of stem cells in humans for conditions that were over represented, over promised and understudied.  The segment showed how people suffering from ALS were taken advantage of because they were so desperate for a cure.  Unfortunately, it is companies and clinics like these that inhibit the progress of stem cell medicine.

Vet-Stem Lab

As one of the first veterinary stem cell companies in the world, Vet-Stem sets the standard for other veterinary stem cell companies. The reason why Vet-Stem has a mandatory training class for veterinarians who want to use stem cells for dogs with arthritis is to teach them the science behind regenerative medicine.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Mar 29, 2010

Using the Internet to Find Answers for Arthritis in Dogs

The internet has quickly become a resource to many pet owners, especially those seeking new solutions for their dog’s arthritis. In this Examiner article, Dr. Selmer does a great job of taking a complicated subject of stem cell therapy for dog arthritis and making it an easy read. In the video embedded in the article, you will see how a dedicated pet owner used the internet to find new solutions for her dog’s arthritis pain due to elbow dysplasia.

Stem cells are quickly becoming many veterinarians’ treatment of choice for pets that have pain due to arthritis.  But with over 50,000 veterinarians in the country, many are still learning about this new therapy.  While there are veterinarians like Dr. Michel Selmer who researched new solutions for his patients suffering from arthritis pain and are now offering stem cell therapy, many veterinarians hear about this new modality from their clients.  At Vet-Stem we have created a letter for pet owners to download and share with their veterinarian.

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Mar 19, 2010

Does Pet Insurance Cover a Vet-Stem Procedure?

We asked three of the top pet insurance companies in the United States to tell us in their own words if their company would cover a stem cell procedure for a dog or cat. Here are their answers.

“At Petplan, we’re proud to offer the most comprehensive pet insurance coverage for all medical conditions, including congenital and hereditary diseases. To us, this means that pets should get the best and most appropriate treatment as recommended by their veterinary team.”

When veterinarians started recommending Vet-Stem therapy to our policyholders, as an insurance company, we were excited to be able to offer coverage for a new treatment modality for serious orthopedic conditions. Now, having seen the success stories, I’m even more excited to be able to offer it to my own patients!”  (www.gopetplan.com)
– Dr. Jules Benson, BVSc MRCVS, VP Veterinary Services


Vet-Stem Regenerative Cell therapy is eligible for coverage in pets with a VPI® Pet Insurance policy providing that the condition being treated is eligible for coverage under the terms of the policy.  The reimbursement amount will vary based on the plan coverage provided for your pet’s condition. (www.petinsurance.com)
– Dr. Carol McConnell
Chief Veterinary Medical Officer/Vice President Underwriting and Veterinary Services


PurinaCare Pet Health Insurance takes great pride in the fact that our policies cover the cost of stem cell therapy for treatment of eligible conditions.  Our web site (www.purinacare.com) has more specific details about coverage and exclusions.

“As a veterinarian, I am always pleased to see that PurinaCare’s policies cover the latest in medical advances.  Our goal is for veterinarians and their clients to have the freedom to choose the best treatment for their pets!”
– Dr. Bill Craig, Chief Medical & Underwriting Director, PurinaCare Pet Health Insurance

We thank these three insurance companies for their answers and willingness to discuss coverage.  It is important that you review any insurance policy for coverage and exclusions.  We will continue to work with the industry to try to secure the best coverage for stem cell therapy for all your pets!

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Mar 12, 2010

First Veterinary Industry Stem Cell Meeting

Last week I had the honor of presenting our Vet-Stem stem cell treatment success data at the First North American Veterinary Regenerative Medicine Meeting.  Sponsored by our partners at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, it was an incredibly intense and exciting stem cell meeting focused specifically on veterinary medicine.  I presented data on arthritis in horses and arthritis in dogs and how stem cells can reduce the pain and improve quality of life and even performance.  There were over 40 presentations from universities, private practices, and industry.  The amount of sharing and open discussion frankly surprised me.  It is the first of many to come I am sure.  In my upcoming blogs I will provide you with a glimpse into some of the exciting possibilities being researched.  But for now, be proud that the data from your dogs and your horses (those that have used stem cells) was the most solid and clinical proof of how well these cells work in real patients.  I presented data on over 3,500 cases of orthopedic injury and disease including pain from arthritis and how animals can return to a useful and happy life after treatment with stem cells from adipose (fat) by their Vet-Stem trained veterinarian.

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Mar 8, 2010

What’s The Right Amount of Regular Exercise for My Dog?

Posted by Bob under from the vet, Pain in Pets

The following blog post is from Sandy Gregory, an exercise physiologist at Scout’s House, a provider of products for disabled and special needs pets. Sandy graciously offered her time to write a special blog post for us.

 

 

 
Photos courtesy of Scout’s House

What’s The Right Amount of Regular Exercise for My Dog?
by Sandy Gregory, M Ed, RVT, CCRA
Exercise Physiologist at Scout’s House

Whether you and your dog are training for something competitive or  are just having fun, there are several factors to consider before starting a new exercise program:

1)  Get Your Vet’s Ok—Talk to your veterinarian to make sure your dog is healthy enough to exercise. 
2)  Start Easy—Don’t go full force into a workout program.  Consider the activity level and age of your dog first.  If he’s a puppy, he shouldn’t get more than 15 minutes of exercise at a time, 3 times a day.  And never exercise a puppy on hard surfaces as that can damage growing bones and joints.  Likewise, if your dog is older or doesn’t move easily, if he’s overweight, or if he has a short nose or short legs, he won’t have much endurance to start.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Mar 1, 2010

Does Your Dog Hurt? Arthritis Pain or Other Causes?

Posted by Bob under Dog Arthritis, from the vet, Pain in Pets

Guest Blog by Dr. James Gaynor:

Is it hard to tell if your dog hurts?  Sometimes.  A limping dog or a dog not using the leg may be obvious.  Dogs do not bear full weight on a leg for 1 of 3 reasons:  1- it hurts; 2- it is unstable (maybe from a fracture); 3- it has neurologic problems (this may be more likely to be seen as dragging rather than limping).  The problem is that dogs may hurt in many more places than just their legs.  The key to recognizing pain is to realize that any CHANGE in your dog’s BEHAVIOR may indicate a painful condition like arthritis caused by hip or elbow dysplasia.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Feb 10, 2010

Stem Cell Therapy Helps Dog with Pain in Both Knees

Posted by Bob under Dog Arthritis, from the vet, Pain in Pets

I recently read a blog post about Jasmine, a five and a half year old Rottweiler that underwent stem cell therapy.  The owner brought Jasmine to see her vet when she noticed her dog wasn’t as agile as she once was. Jasmine’s vet diagnosed her with a partial cruciate ligament tear and recommended stem cell therapy for the dog. Read the rest of this entry »

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Feb 4, 2010

Pet Experts Chat on Pet Sentinel’s Fireside Chats

Posted by Bob under Dog Arthritis, from the vet, Pain in Pets

I wanted to introduce you to our friends at Pet Sentinel.  Pet Sentinel is a site that offers podcasts called Expert Fireside Chats.

Each Fireside Chat is an interview with an accomplished expert/specialist in the field of pet issues (pet health, pet treatment, pet nutrition, pet management, pet psychology, pet care, and so on).   There is a focused 25-minute conversation with them on a topical subject (e.g. new cures for common pet ailments, new nutritional breakthroughs for pets, whole and natural pet foods, insights on pet behavior, natural ways to train and discipline pets (without use of force or any “strict” traditional means) and so on). The conversation is recorded, and the mp3 recording or podcast made available via The Pet Sentinel website to its community.  We were honored to be invited to participate and share what we have learned about using stem cells for dogs with joint pain.

Our episode was recently posted to their website and can be found by clicking the link below.

Episode 2 (12/11/2009): Dr. Bob Harman and Dr. Julie Ryan Johnson’s Expert Fireside Chat (TM) on “Stem-Cell Therapy: The Cutting-Edge of Regenerative Veterinary Medicine”

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Jan 5, 2010

Is my dog too old for stem cell therapy?

A common question pet owners ask when considering treatments for their dog or cat. I asked two very prominent veterinarians, Dr. Jamie Gaynor and Dr. Mike Hutchinson, to share with us their thoughts on this concern.

Dr. Jamie Gaynor, Owner of Peak Performance Veterinary Group, boarded anesthesiologist  and internationally recognized pain expert likes to remind pet owners about the value of quality of life.  Though an older dog may not have a long lifespan, the quality of those last months is extremely important.  For example, a thirteen year old dog may not live more than an additional 2 years- but making those dogs feel better, move more comfortably during the remaining time left is a blessing to both dog and pet owner.  He feels it is all about the quality of life.

Dr. Mike Hutchinson, Owner of Animal General of Cranberry and host of his own radio program, Animal General relayed to me the following story. Read the rest of this entry »

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