Archive for the ‘Horse Stem Cell Therapy’ Category

Jul 9, 2021

Horse Receives VetStem Cell Therapy for Chronic Hoof Infection

Hello VetStemmers! It’s Dr. Amber Vibert here and I’ve taken over the blog again. In honor of it being National Farriers Week, I’d like to share with you a horse hoof case that is near and dear to my heart. The patient was my own 25-year-old, Thoroughbred horse named Valor. Valor came to me as a senior 5 years ago. He had some mild arthritis in his hocks (rear limb “ankles”), and he had back and neck stiffness that likely came from being trained as a racehorse and then a show horse in his early years. However, the condition for which I treated him with VetStem Cell Therapy remains somewhat of an enigma.

Profile shot of the head of Valor, a brown, thoroughbred horse with reins
Valor

Valor’s Hoof Infections

About 3 years into owning him, he developed a deep, severe, focal infection on the underside of both of his rear hooves. Each area measured about the size of a dime in diameter and were deep enough to expose the underlying soft tissue that bled really easily when touched. The infection and inflammation extended into his heels and was super painful for him. Around this time, he also displayed reduced healing capacity for scrapes and cuts on his limbs. Now, older horses are prone to delayed healing and weaker immune system responses as a result of certain metabolic conditions, but sometimes it is the natural progression of the aging process, not unlike elderly humans. So, the first thing I did was I had him examined by his equine veterinarian. Yes, I’m a veterinarian, but my 16 years of clinical practice prior to joining VetStem was working with small animals. Horses are very different from dogs and cats!

Diagnostics and Treatments

We took x-rays of his hooves and found no evidence of a foreign body (i.e., no nails or other penetrating objects) and no draining tracts. We tested Valor for metabolic diseases, immune system diseases and infectious diseases, all of which were negative. I always made sure his living area was clean and dry. We examined and adjusted his nutrition to make sure it was balanced and providing him with appropriate ratios of proteins, carbs, vitamins, and minerals. We also took culture swabs of the focal lesions in his hooves and found a particular type of bacteria in those lesions that could be a factor. But honestly, my veterinarian was stumped as to the underlying cause. I got a second and third opinion with other veterinarians and each had their theories, but none could pinpoint a definitive cause either. So, I treated him for months with an intense regimen of oral and topical antibiotics as well as pain meds in addition to the prescription anti-inflammatory medication he was already taking for his arthritis.

Of course, I got his farrier involved as well. He too, was unsure of the nature of these wounds, as he had never seen anything like it. We tried different podiatric options such as therapeutic shoeing, hoof pads, hoof packing, regular shoeing, and no shoeing at all. I spent countless hours as directed, caring for his feet- picking, washing, soaking, medicating etc. I used Platelet Therapy locally a couple of times- I saturated medical cotton pads with his platelet concentrate (created through the Genesis CS-2 Platelet Rich Plasma Kit) and packed it into the deep lesions. It helped for a short period of time, but it was too labor intensive to do consistently. Despite all of his treatments and the heroic efforts of his wonderful farrier, the improvement was minimal.

Treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy

Then in December 2020 I collected fat tissue from an area on his rump for stem cell processing. He didn’t have a huge cell yield, so we only had one stem cell dose to start with and the rest we grew in cell culture to create more doses. He received his first injection immediately following processing via a regional perfusion (RP) injection in his lower right rear leg. Regional perfusion is an injection into a vein with a tourniquet around the limb above the injection site. The tourniquet stays on for about 30 min after the injection to allow the cells (or other drugs) to be delivered to, and stay concentrated in, all parts of the limb below it. Then approximately 4 and 8 weeks later he received doses in both rear legs, also by RP injection. 

The rationale for using stem cell therapy was to reduce inflammation, reduce pain, enhance his immune system’s ability to heal, and provide antibacterial/antifungal properties to his hooves. The only other treatments he received during the time of his stem cell therapy were pain medications and daily hoof cleaning.  It was so hard to be patient waiting for the cells to do their thing! But 3 months after his initial treatment, I began to see a dramatic change. The difference was amazing! As you can see from the pictures, between December 2020 and March 2021 his hoof soles became stronger, his heals were no longer swollen and painful, and the focal lesions became significantly smaller.

Three pictures of Valor's (horse) hooves. The first two are from July 2020 and December 2020 showing his hoof infection before treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy. The third is from March 2021 showing an improved infection after receiving VetStem Cell Therapy.

Sadly, we did not get a chance to see his hoof condition through to complete resolution as I had to put him down in April 2021 due to an unrelated, fast-progressing condition. However, VetStem Cell Therapy provided him with much healthier and more comfortable feet for the last few months of his life. And for this, I will be eternally grateful.

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Feb 21, 2020

Horse Receives Stem Cells for Tendon Injury

Jesse, a Spanish Arabian, was 11 years old when he suddenly went lame.  A bone scan and MRI revealed a severe injury to his right front deep digital flexor tendon.  The diagnosing veterinarian, Dr. Mark Martinelli of California Equine Orthopedics, recommended treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy and also referred Jesse to Dr. Sylvia Ouellette who specializes in equine lameness diagnosis and treatment.

Jesse and His Owner

Jesse began a long rehabilitation process with Dr. Ouellette.  During rehab he experienced another setback, after which Jesse’s owner pursued treatment with stem cells.  Jesse received one injection of his own stem cells into his injured tendon, but he wasn’t out of the woods yet.

Jesse continued with a rigorous rehabilitation schedule and experienced a few setbacks.  It was two years after his initial injury when Jesse’s owner finally received the good news that Jesse was sound.

Jesse was initially treated with VetStem Cell Therapy back in May 2006- almost 14 years ago!  Yet in a recent update from Jesse’s owner, Jesse is now 24 years old and his tendon has remained sound. Jesse’s owner stated, “Though he has other age-related health issues, the deep flexor tendon has stayed strong and has served him well all of these years.”   

Jesse is not the only horse to receive lasting effects from stem cell therapy.  Another horse, CP Merritt, was still competing at a champion level after receiving VetStem Cell Therapy 10 years prior.

If you think your horse 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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Feb 7, 2020

Stem Cell Therapy with Rehabilitation for Pets

Patients with compromised mobility due to osteoarthritis or acute orthopedic injuries are often prescribed physical rehabilitation.  Physical rehabilitation or physical therapy (PT) refers to a number of non-invasive techniques including but not limited to exercise, manipulation, cold therapy, heat therapy and electrotherapy.  The goal of PT is to reduce pain and improve strength and mobility and thereby, improve a pet’s quality of life.

Physical therapy can also be a great way to help a pet recover from surgery.  When used postoperatively, the goal is to decrease pain, inflammation, and recovery time.  When applied appropriately, these treatments may have both immediate and long-term effects.  For these reasons, VetStem recommends that pets follow some basic rehabilitation guidelines after receiving intra-articular (into the joint) or intra-lesional (into the injured tissue) stem cell injections.

Though the optimal post-stem cell injection rehabilitation protocol is unknown, your veterinarian can help you craft a rehab routine that is based on your pet’s specific condition and needs.  Some factors that may affect your pet’s rehabilitation protocol include severity of the condition, number of joints/lesions that are affected and/or injected, as well as other medical conditions your pet may have. In general, VetStem recommends starting with very light rehabilitative exercises for the first several weeks following stem cell therapy.  For dogs and cats, this may include passive range of motion and stretching as well as slow leash walks.  For horses this may include limited or short hand walks or stall rest with hand grazing, depending on the condition being treated.  We understand keeping a pet quiet can be challenging for many owners.  We believe however that it is very important to follow good rehabilitation practices to help your pet heal in the most optimal way. Patience and good nursing care can help your pet’s healing process in both the short and long term.        

VetStem patient, Koda, getting his PT in an underwater treadmill.
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Dec 20, 2019

Stem Cells for Equine Uveitis

Posted by Bob under Horse Stem Cell Therapy

VetStem recently attended and exhibited at the annual American Association of Equine Practitioners conference.  The convention brings equine veterinarians and veterinary professionals together from across the United States to what is the world’s largest continuing education event dedicated to equine practice.

VetStem sponsored a presentation by Dr. Roland Thaler, who has been utilizing VetStem Cell Therapy for over ten years.  In his presentation, Dr. Thaler discussed an equine patient, Mac, who was treated with VetStem Cell Therapy for non-responsive uveitis.  Uveitis is characterized by inflammation of the uveal tract of the eye and can be a one-time episode or recurrent.  Recurrent uveitis can lead to permanent damage and even blindness.

Though the cause of recurrent uveitis is unclear, there is evidence to suggest it may be immune-mediated.  Stem cells have demonstrated the ability to reduce inflammation and to modulate the immune system.  Preliminary in-vitro and clinical case series results demonstrate safety and that stem cells may be effective in controlling recurrent uveitis including one where three out of four horses had a favorable response to treatment with stem cells.  

In Mac’s case, his uveitis was non-responsive, meaning his symptoms could not be managed with traditional therapies.  Dr. Thaler recommended treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy.  Mac was treated in July 2019 and the cells were administered via intravenous injection as well as subconjunctival.  Dr. Thaler reported that 14 days after treatment, Mac had marked improvement of comfort and his medications were able to be reduced.

Mac received a second treatment with stem cells in early October 2019.  Despite his initial improvement, Mac’s condition worsened and he was retired from competition due to visual impairment. 

Dr. Thaler noted that Mac tolerated the subconjunctival injections remarkably well.  Mac’s initial response to treatment was promising leading Dr. Thaler to recommend treating recurrent uveitis as early in the disease process as possible.    

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Jul 26, 2019

Horse Returns to Work After Partial Ligament Tear

Atlas is a large Quarter Horse that keeps busy with drill team, barrel racing, jumping, cow work, and trail riding.  So, you can imagine how devastating it was for both Atlas and his owner when he partially tore his right front suspensory ligament and was only able to walk.  Fortunately, his veterinarian, Dr. Colter Negranti of Paso Robles Equine, recommended treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy.

After stem cell therapy, Atlas underwent months of rehab.  Once he was feeling better, he began working again and, according to his owner, he stayed as sound as ever.  You can catch up on Atlas’ story here.

We recently checked in on Atlas and his owner reported that he continues to do great!  He participated in a barrel race in June and his owner stated, “The race went really well (it was our first multiple day outing) and we won some money!  Now we’re getting ready for finals, plus lots of trail riding since the summer weather has been so great!”  See a picture of Atlas from the race below.

As many horse owners know, working horses tend to be at a higher risk for injuries.  Some injuries may affect the long-term career of the horse.  VetStem Cell Therapy has helped several horses return to work (and even win championships!) after potentially career-ending injuries including CP Merritt, Anthony, and AR River Playboy.  If your horse has suffered an injury, speak to your veterinarian about the possibility of treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy.   

Atlas at his recent race
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Jan 18, 2019

Horse Treated with Stem Cells 10 Years Ago and Still Winning!

CP Merritt is a great stem cell success story.  Some of you may remember a blog from many years ago about Merritt’s stem cell treatment and recovery.  If not, you can read the original blog from 2012 here.

As a quick refresher, Merritt originally had his right rear fetlock treated by Dr. John McCarroll of Equine Medical Associates in 2007.  After the treatment, Merritt bounced back to win two Top Tens in Show Hack and Saddle Seat Equitation at Youth Nationals.  His owners considered him a “Medical Miracle.”

Recently, Merritt’s owner reached out to us to give us an update on their beloved horse.  Though it’s been over 10 years since Merritt was treated with stem cells, he continues to compete at a champion level!  He was the 2018 Arabian Horse Association Region XI Champion in amateur English trail and the Reserve Champion in open English trail.  You can read Merritt’s full story here.

If your horse has suffered an injury that is affecting his/her performance, speak to your veterinarian about the possibility of VetStem Cell Therapy.  Or you can contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area.

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Dec 21, 2018

Horse Wins Division Championship After Stem Cell Therapy

Posted by Bob under Horse Stem Cell Therapy

Anthony, a competitive hunter-jumper, faced a real challenge when he tore his right meniscus in 2014.  Luckily, Anthony’s mom Lisa contacted experienced stem cell provider, Dr. Ruth-Anne Richter of Brandon Equine Medical Center.  Anthony received VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy in January 2014 and again in June 2014.

After taking some time off to recuperate, Anthony began competing again.  Between 2016 and 2017, Anthony took a few reserve championships.  But earlier this year, in March 2018, Anthony won grand champion in the Adult Maiden Division at HITS VIII Ocala Winter Finals.  This was a dream come true for Lisa.

You can read more details about Anthony’s stem cell treatment here.

If your horse has suffered an injury, stem cell therapy may help to get him/her back under the saddle.  VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy has been used in horses since 2004 and has been shown to help relieve potentially career ending injuries such as in Woody’s case and Zan’s case.  Speak to your veterinarian today or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area.

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May 4, 2018

Cutting Horse Wins Championships After Stem Cell Treatment

AR River Playboy, aka Woody, was in bad shape when Jena purchased him.  Her veterinarian, Dr. Ian Campbell of Santa Lucia Farm, diagnosed Woody with injuries in both front suspensory ligaments.  Jena had known and loved Woody for years so despite his potentially career ending injuries, she purchased him anyway.

Dr. Campbell recommended and treated Woody with VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy.  After the treatment with stem cells, Woody underwent an extensive rehabilitation program before returning to work.  His injuries healed so well that he eventually went on to win the Central Coast Cutting Horse Association’s $15k Amateur Champion as well as the Kern County Cutting Horse Association’s $15k Amateur Champion.  A year later he won the Central Coast Cutting Horse Association’s $15k Amateur Reserve Championship.

Woody’s story is not entirely unique.  VetStem has helped many horses return to work, including Zan, whose story we shared a while ago.  If your horse has been diagnosed with a potentially career ending injury, contact Vetstem to receive a list of veterinary stem cell providers in your area.

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Feb 23, 2018

Barrel Horse Returns to Racing After Stem Cell Therapy

Long before VetStem began providing stem cell therapy for dogs and cats, we were providing stem cell therapy for performance horses.  Stem cell therapy can be very effective for treating potentially career ending orthopedic injuries in performance horses (and in dogs!).  This week, we will look at the story of a barrel racing Quarter Horse who suffered injuries to both front fetlock joints, both front suspensory ligaments, his deep digital flexor tendons and his superficial digital flexor tendons.

Blue DiamondZan Gold, aka Zan, battled lameness in his front limbs for years and he began ducking the second barrel.  His joint injection treatments stopped being as effective so his owner, Ashley, took him to her veterinarian, Dr. Robert Thoni at Kilgore Veterinary Associates, for examination.

Dr. Thoni recommended VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy and his owner reported that she was back to running him in no time!  She even stated that he was stronger and clocking better than he ever did.

To read the rest of Zan’s story, click here.

Has your horse suffered from an injury that is affecting his/her performance?  If so, contact VetStem today to find stem cell providers in your area.

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