Archive for the ‘Inflammatory Bowel Disease’ Category

Aug 6, 2021

VetStem Cell Therapy for Diseases in Cats

This coming Sunday, August 8th, is International Cat Day! We thought this would be the perfect opportunity to discuss the use of stem cells for various diseases in cats. Like dogs and horses, VetStem Cell Therapy can be used in cats to treat orthopedic conditions such as osteoarthritis and injured tendons and ligaments. But there are several other diseases for which VetStem Cell Therapy may be helpful.

Chronic Kidney Disease

A common disease in cats is kidney disease. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a common cause of sickness and death in cats. In fact, some reviews suggest that CKD may be the number one cause of sickness and death in older cats. Unfortunately, treatment options are limited and can be costly.

One potential treatment option is VetStem Cell Therapy. Nearly 200 cats have received VetStem Cell Therapy for CKD and veterinarians have seen some promising results. Based upon data from a small number of feline patients treated with VetStem Cell Therapy, blood kidney values were slightly to moderately improved after treatment. While more evaluation is necessary, these results suggest VetStem Cell Therapy may be a viable treatment option for cats with CKD.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a gastrointestinal disease that can affect both cats and dogs. It is characterized by inflammation of the intestines and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, reduced appetite, and weight loss. It is important to note however, that these symptoms can be indicative of several conditions including feline lymphoma. Since VetStem Cell Therapy is contraindicated in pets with cancer, it is essential to rule this out before pursuing treatment with stem cells.

Several cats have received VetStem Cell Therapy for IBD. In fact, one of our veterinary clients, Dr. Joel Stone, wrote a guest blog about one of his feline patients who experienced relief from IBD after treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy. In one of our own case studies, a 4-year-old Himalayan cat developed IBD and treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy quickly resolved the cat’s diarrhea and vomiting and led to an increased appetite with no recurrence. To add to that, in a recently published paper, 5 out of 7 IBD cats that were treated with stem cells were significantly improved or had complete resolution of symptoms, whereas the 4 control cats had no improvement.

Gingivostomatitis

Another unfortunate disease that affects cats is gingivostomatitis. Gingivostomatitis affects the mouths of felines and causes oral pain which leads to other symptoms such as decreased appetite, reduced grooming, and weight loss. The most common treatment is extracting all the cat’s chewing teeth, however only about 70% of cats will respond to this treatment. The remaining 30% of cats that do not respond will require lifelong treatment with medications.

Fewer cats have received VetStem Cell Therapy for gingivostomatitis than CKD, however veterinarians have seen favorable results none the less. In addition to our own data, two small studies conducted at the University of California Davis showed that when fat-derived stem cell therapy was utilized in addition to teeth extractions, there was improvement or remission in the majority of cats treated. VetStem believes that fat-derived stem cell therapy without full extractions may be beneficial.

As you can see, VetStem Cell Therapy may be useful for a number of disease processes. Though the above conditions are still in the investigative stages, the preliminary results look very promising! If you think your cat may benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy, speak to your veterinarian or contact us for a list of VetStem providers near you.

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Dec 13, 2019

December is National Cat Lovers Month!

It’s December and while most are excited about the holiday season, we at VetStem are excited about cats!  We have more than a few cat lovers at VetStem, Sue and Kristi, to name a few.  We figured, what better month than this to share new and exciting information about regenerative medicine for felines?!

You may remember some of our previous blogs about stem cell therapy for felines.  If you need a refresher, check out this recent post: Stem Cells for Cats: An Overview.  To summarize, veterinarians are using VetStem Cell Therapy to treat a number of conditions in cats.  In addition to osteoarthritis, the most commonly treated diseases include chronic kidney disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and gingivostomatitis.

VetStem Patients Wilma and Flint

Veterinarians have also used our small animal platelet therapy kit for orthopedic conditions in cats.  Veterinary Platelet Enhancement Therapy (V-PET™) is used by veterinarians to collect and concentrate a patient’s platelets.  The platelet concentrate can be injected into joints, injured tendons and ligaments, as well as chronic wounds. 

One of our frequent users, Dr. Jeff Christiansen, recently treated a cat who had an FHO (surgery to remove the ”ball” of the hip ball-and-socket joint) utilizing V-PET™.  The cat suffered a fracture in his hip and platelet concentrate was injected into the joint after surgery.  Typically, cats will show signs of complete recovery from an FHO procedure at approximately six weeks post-surgery. In this cat’s case, he was comfortable and walking around with good range of motion at four weeks post-op. While the injury required surgical intervention, the addition of V-PET™ into the surgical site may have led to expedited healing.

Keke, Dr. Christiansen’s patient who received V-PET

Some more exciting news about cats is actually about cheetahs!  Dr. Matt Kinney of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park recently presented information at the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians conference regarding working with VetStem to treat a couple of cheetahs.  We hope to share more about this soon!  This is not the first time that VetStem has provided cell services and on-site consultation for the treatment of exotic animals.  A Sun Bear named Francis was another recipient of such services.

Follow our blog to keep up with new research and developments.

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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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