Archive for the ‘Pain in Pets’ Category

Sep 17, 2021

Stem Cell Therapy and Pain Reduction

Posted by Bob under Pain in Pets, Stem Cell Therapy

It’s still Animal Pain Awareness Month so we have another pain-themed blog for you. This week, we are talking about how stem cell therapy may reduce pain in pets. We frequently share stories about pets who have gained a better quality of life after treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy. And while we know stem cells have multiple mechanisms of action, one lesser-known mechanism is the ability to modulate pain.

You may remember last week’s blog in which we discussed the various classifications of pain. To briefly review, those were:

  • Nociceptive – caused by noxious stimulation (injury/physical damage, exposure to chemicals or exposure to extreme temperatures)
  • Inflammatory – caused by acute or chronic inflammation
  • Neuropathic – from damage to an element of the nervous system
VetStem recipient Deuce had decreased pain after receiving VetStem Cell Therapy for osteoarthritis and tendonitis.

Below, we will discuss how stem cells have the ability to address each one of these pain classifications.

Stem Cells are Anti-Inflammatory

For many years, differentiation was believed to be the primary function of regenerative stem cells. More recent literature, however, supports the notion that stem cell therapy may be an effective treatment option for pain management. The ability of stem cells to regulate inflammation is important when it comes to pain management. By reducing inflammation, stem cells promote healing and increased comfort.

Stem Cells Act Directly on Acute and Chronic Pain

While a reduction in inflammation can lead to increased comfort, current literature supports that stem cells have the ability to address both acute and chronic pain directly. Stem cells have been shown to secrete pain blocking cytokines (small proteins), which can have opioid-like effects. Stem cells have also shown the ability to reduce neuroinflammation (inflammation of the nervous tissue).

If you think your pet may benefit from stem cell therapy, contact us for a list of VetStem providers in your area.

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Sep 9, 2021

How to Recognize Pain in Pets

Posted by Bob under Pain in Pets

We are officially in the second week of Animal Pain Awareness Month. For those who missed last week’s blog, September was declared Animal Pain Awareness Month by the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM) to help owners recognize the signs of pain in pets so they can seek help from a veterinarian when needed.

When it comes to pain in pets, it’s not always easy to tell that our animals are hurting. Some pets are masters at hiding their pain. But there are some tips and tricks to help determine if your pet might be in pain. It is also helpful to understand the various types and causes of pain.

Types of Pain in Pets

There are multiple types of pain in pets. But first, we must understand the difference between acute and chronic pain. Acute pain is characterized by pain that has come on suddenly or has only been present for a short period of time. Examples of acute pain include pain after surgery or from a new injury, such as a fall. Alternatively, chronic pain can be more subtle and may be considered just “slowing down” or “getting old.” An example of chronic pain is osteoarthritis pain.

Digging a little deeper, we can look at the three primary classifications of pain. The first is nociceptive pain. This type of pain is caused by noxious stimulation such as an injury/physical damage, exposure to chemicals, or exposure to extreme temperatures. The next classification of pain, and one that we talk about frequently on this blog, is inflammatory pain. As its name implies, this type of pain stems from acute or chronic inflammation. And lastly, we have neuropathic pain which is caused by damage to an element of the nervous system.

Signs that your Pet may be in Pain
But how do you know if your pet is in pain? As we mentioned, pets can be good at hiding their pain. Fortunately, there are some potential signs of pain in pets that you can keep an eye out for. The IVAPM has provided a list of the most common signs of pain in pets:

  • Decreased activity – Take notice if your animal is not playing as much as usual
  • Not going up or down stairs – This could be an early sign of osteoarthritis
  • Reluctance to jump onto surfaces – This especially applies to cats
  • Difficulty standing after laying down – This is a sign of osteoarthritis
  • Decreased appetite – This can signal mouth pain
  • Over grooming or licking a particular area – This can be a sign of referred pain

For a more extensive list of symptoms of pain in both dogs and cats, visit the IVAPM website.

While September is Animal Pain Awareness Month, it’s a good idea to always keep an eye out for these potential signs of pain. If you notice that your pet is exhibiting any of these signs, call your veterinarian. And stay tuned for next week’s blog about how stem cells can treat pain!

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Sep 3, 2021

September is Animal Pain Awareness Month

Posted by Bob under Pain in Pets

September is a very special month in the veterinary world. It is Animal Pain Awareness month, which was created by the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM) in an effort to raise awareness and to help pet owners recognize and manage their pet’s pain.

Some pets, especially cats, are masters at hiding their pain. So, it is important for animal owners, with the help of their veterinarians, to be able to recognize pain in their pets. There are multiple educational resources available to help owners recognize pain in their pets. For instance, owners can learn about the different types of pain as well as the typical signs of pain. These tools can help owners determine if their pet may be in pain and if a visit to the veterinarian is in order.

Your veterinarian will also help with pain management. Whether your pet may benefit from rehabilitative exercises, joint supplements, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, or other pain medications, your veterinarian can help to get your pet on the right track to living a pain free life. There are multiple treatment modalities when it comes to pain management, with both naturopathic and drug-based therapies, or a combination of the two. One more natural option is VetStem Cell Therapy. Stem cells have shown the ability to modulate both acute and chronic pain. But we will talk more about that in a later blog.

This month’s blogs will all be dedicated to recognizing and managing pain in pets. In the coming weeks, we will share information about the different types of pain and also how to tell if your dog or cat is in pain so stay tuned! And as always, if you think your pet may benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy, speak to your veterinarian or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area. 

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Sep 18, 2020

Stem Cell Therapy May Reduce Pain in Pets

Posted by Bob under Pain in Pets, Stem Cell Therapy

As Animal Pain Awareness Month continues, we wanted to share some information about how stem cells may relieve pain in pets. We frequently share stories about dogs with osteoarthritis who regain mobility and a better quality of life after receiving VetStem Cell Therapy. While stem cells utilize multiple mechanisms of action, one primary benefit of stem cells is their ability to reduce inflammation and pain.

Pain in Pets

As we mentioned in last week’s blog, pets can suffer from acute and chronic pain. Pain in pets can result from a variety of causes and there are three primary classifications of pain:

  • Nociceptive – caused by noxious stimulation (injury/physical damage, exposure to chemicals or exposure to extreme temperatures)
  • Inflammatory – caused by acute or chronic inflammation
  • Neuropathic – from damage to an element of the nervous system

Stem Cells are Anti-Inflammatory

One major mechanism of action is the ability of stem cells to down regulate inflammation. By reducing inflammation, stem cells promote healing and increase comfort. When used to treat osteoarthritis, stem cells may promote cartilage regrowth and therefore healthier and less painful joints.

Stem Cells Act Directly on Pain

While a reduction in inflammation can lead to increased comfort, current literature supports that stem cells have the ability to address both acute and chronic pain directly. Recently, there have been studies to evaluate stem cells’ direct effects on modulating pain. Stem cells have been shown to secrete pain blocking cytokines (small proteins), which can have opioid-like effects. Stem cells have also shown the ability to reduce neuroinflammation (inflammation of the nervous tissue).

If you think your pet may benefit from stem cell therapy, contact us for a list of VetStem providers in your area.

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Sep 11, 2020

September is Animal Pain Awareness Month

Posted by Bob under Pain in Pets

The International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM) has declared September as Animal Pain Awareness Month. Pets tend to be good at hiding their pain, so it is important for veterinarians to educate their clients to spot the potential signs of pain in their pets. This month is dedicated to raising awareness to help pet owners recognize and manage their pet’s pain.

According to the North American Veterinary Community, more than 45 million household pets suffer from acute or chronic pain. Acute pain is characterized by pain that has come on suddenly or has only been present for a short period of time. Examples of acute pain include pain after surgery or from a new injury, such as a fall. Alternatively, chronic pain can be more subtle and may be considered just “slowing down” or “getting old.” An example of chronic pain is osteoarthritis pain.

But how do you know if your pet is in pain? As we mentioned, pets can be good at hiding pain. But there are some potential signs of pain in pets that you can keep an eye out for. The IVAPM has provided a list of the most common signs of pain in pets:

  • Decreased activity – Take notice if your animal is not playing as much as usual
  • Not going up or down stairs – This could be an early sign of osteoarthritis
  • Reluctance to jump onto surfaces – This especially applies to cats
  • Difficulty standing after laying down – This is a sign of osteoarthritis
  • Decreased appetite – This can signal mouth pain
  • Over grooming or licking a particular area – This can be a sign of referred pain

While September is Animal Pain Awareness Month, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for these potential signs of pain at all times. If you notice that your pet is exhibiting any of these signs, call your veterinarian.

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Sep 27, 2019

Signs That Your Pet May Be in Pain

Posted by Bob under Pain in Pets

As we close out Animal Pain Awareness Month, we wanted to leave you with some information to help you determine if your pet may be experiencing pain.  Unfortunately, pets cannot talk to us to let us know if there is a problem.  Thus, we must rely on other methods to decipher whether they are experiencing any pain.  One of the best methods to determine if your pet is in pain is to observe their behavior.

As we discussed in a recent blog, there are several causes of pain, both acute and chronic.  Acute pain may be more obvious while chronic pain may be more subtle.  Often, chronic pain is misconstrued as “getting old” but the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM) is quick to point out that age is not a disease.  Pain however is a disease and pain management is important to maintain your pet’s quality of life.

So how do you know if your pet is experiencing pain?  Aside from the more obvious signs such as limping, one of the best ways to determine whether your pet may be in pain is a change in their behavior.  This can include an increase in anxiety, depression, or aggression as well as decreased social interaction or play.  Your pet may become less active or have difficulty doing things that were not a problem before.  For instance, they may have trouble getting up from lying down or they may have difficulty jumping or going up and down stairs.

Other changes may include decreased grooming, particularly for cats.  Some pets however over-groom areas of pain and may lick or bite excessively at an area that hurts.  They may also experience decreased appetite as well as changes in their bathroom habits.  Changes in posture as well as increased respiration or excessive panting can also be a sign of pain.  You can view an extensive list of symptoms for both dogs and cats on the IVAPM website.

It is important to keep an eye out for signs that your pet may be in pain.  Pain management is an invaluable tool in maintaining happy and healthy pets.  Last week, we introduced you to Veterinary Pain Specialist, Dr. Douglas Stramel.  While his practice focuses primarily on pain management, all veterinarians are equipped to handle painful pets in some capacity.  Your veterinarian may also be able to recommend a local pain specialist if you’re seeking a more in-depth approach to pain management.

As always, if you think your pet may benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy, speak to your veterinarian or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area. 

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Sep 20, 2019

Veterinarian Highlight: Pain Specialist Dr. Douglas Stramel

Posted by Bob under Pain in Pets

As we shared last week, September is proclaimed as Animal Pain Awareness Month by the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM).  Keeping with our theme of pain awareness, we would like to introduce you to veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner, Dr. Douglas Stramel of Advanced Care Veterinary Services in Carrollton, Texas.  Dr Stramel is the first and only Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and is also the President-Elect of IVAPM.

As the President of IVAPM, Dr. Stramel takes pain management very seriously and has made it a primary focus of his veterinary practice.  He employs advanced multi-modal pain management protocols including physical therapy, acupuncture, shock wave, laser therapy, and, you guessed it, regenerative medicine.

Dr. Stramel has been credentialed to perform VetStem Cell Therapy since 2007.  He is also an experienced user of Veterinary Platelet Enhancement Therapy (V-PET™).  One of his patients, a Great Dane named Pinky, received V-PET™ for a ruptured cruciate ligament last Summer.  After treatment, she was able to resume her daily walks and normal activities.  You can read Pinky’s story here.

We recently caught up with Dr. Stramel to ask him a few questions about his practice and pain awareness.  See his answers below.

What does it mean to be a Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner?

This certification indicates that someone successfully completed advanced training in pain management.  Certification holders demonstrate an advanced knowledge in assessing, diagnosing and treating painful conditions in animals. The certificate is made possible through the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM) to both doctors and technicians.


How do you incorporate the use of regenerative medicine (stem cells and/or platelet therapy) into your pain practice?

In my practice, we have used regenerative medicine in many different cases, such as cruciate ligament injuries, arthritic joints, inflamed tendons and spinal injuries.  The most common use at this point in time is part of a treatment plan for cruciate ligament injuries.  We have even used Stem Cell Therapy to help reduce skin allergies.


Why is pet pain awareness so important?

Today’s pet owner is looking for alternatives to “just giving a pill” or to “surgery”.  Veterinary medicine has made some great advancements in the last 10 years and we now have the ability to help many different painful conditions that we struggled with in the past.  Client’s pets are living longer and are part of the family, they want their pets to live pain-free lives as they are living longer.  Our clients are realizing that “acting old” is not a real diagnosis and that a pet that “acts old” is really painful and they want more than just a pill to help their furry family member out.  This goes beyond the “typical” pet and includes horses, exotics, pocket pets and farm animals as well.  Through IVAPM we are advocating for best practices in the treatment of animals in pain and have selected September as Animal Pain Awareness month to correspond with Human Pain Awareness Month.

If you’re looking for a veterinary pain specialist and are in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, check out Dr. Stramel.  And thank you, Dr. Stramel, for taking the time to answer our questions!

Tune in next week as we continue our pain awareness theme to learn some of the signs and symptoms that may indicate your pet is in pain.

Dr. Douglas Stramel
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Sep 13, 2019

September is Animal Pain Awareness Month

Posted by Bob under Pain in Pets

Now that it’s September, we thought it appropriate to mention that September is proclaimed as Animal Pain Awareness Month by the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM).  One goal of the IVAPM is to “educate and inform pet owners about their pet’s health and well-being when it comes to pain management.”

Pain in pets can be acute or chronic and can stem from many causes including acute surgical pain or pain from a chronic disease such as osteoarthritis.  There are three primary classifications of pain: 1. Nociceptive – caused by noxious stimulation (injury/physical damage, exposure to chemicals or exposure to extreme temperatures), 2. Inflammatory – caused by acute or chronic inflammation, and 3. Neuropathic – from damage to an element of the nervous system.  Pain management is an important component of veterinary medicine to ensure pets maintain a good quality of life.  There are many forms of pain management including medication, rehabilitation, and of course stem cell therapy.

We frequently discuss how stem cells can reduce inflammation and help to heal joint tissues, thereby leading to less pain and increased comfort.  But as we know, stem cells have multiple modes of action and the current literature supports that stem cells have the ability to address both acute and chronic pain.  More recently, have there been studies to evaluate stem cells’ direct effects on modulating pain.  Stem cells have shown to have pain blocking cytokines (small, secreted proteins), which can have opioid-like effects.  Stem cells have also shown the ability to reduce neuroinflammation (inflammation of the nervous tissue).  Thus, stem cells have the ability to address the three primary types of pain described above.

In the coming weeks, we will share information about how to tell if your dog or cat is in pain.  We will also introduce you to a VetStem user and Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner.  And as always, if you think your pet may benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy, speak to your veterinarian or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area. 

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Jun 22, 2018

Stem Cell Therapy and Pain Relief

Posted by Bob under Pain in Pets, Stem Cell Therapy

In our recent blog about Ben receiving stem cell therapy after having bladder stones removed, we briefly mentioned the effect of stem cells on inflammation.  We know that stem cells have anti-inflammatory properties.  By reducing the inflammation, the stem cells are also reducing pain associated with the inflammation.  Just like when you take ibuprofen for your headache or aching joints.

Several recent studies have pointed to the effects of stem cell therapy on pain.  Not only are stem cells anti-inflammatory, they have also been shown to have pain blocking cytokines (small, secreted proteins), which can have opioid-like effects.

Experts point out that the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that we give our dogs do not provide complete relief from the pain associated with osteoarthritis.  We also know that NSAID use can lead to gastrointestinal upset and organ damage, which is why most veterinarians advise against long-term use of NSAIDs.

So where does stem cell therapy come in?  While current literature supports that stem cells have multiple modes of action that can address both acute and chronic pain, it’s generally not the first “tool” that a veterinarian reaches for.  Autologous stem cell therapy, where a patient receives his own stem cells, has the advantage of being a readily available and natural source of anti-inflammatory and pain controlling factors.  When administered aseptically, autologous stem cell therapy has almost no risk of reaction.  Our goal is to inform both pet owners and veterinary professionals about the capabilities of stem cells so that they become a first line of defense, rather than a last-ditch effort.

If you’re wondering whether your pet may benefit from stem cell therapy, contact VetStem for a list of veterinary stem cell providers in your area.

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Feb 2, 2018

Pit Bull with a Chronic Wound Treated with Platelet Therapy

Pearl is a pit bull who is missing about one quarter of her right front leg.  She was found as a stray and veterinarians were unable to determine why part of her leg was missing.  Pearl’s owner Julia had a prosthetic leg made for Pearl when she was young.  It helped her to run, swim, fetch balls, jump and play with other dogs.

After a while however, Pearl began to develop a wound at the end of her stump that made wearing her prosthetic uncomfortable.  Julia sought treatment for the wound, however nothing seemed to help and she was faced with the possibility of amputating the remainder of Pearl’s right front leg.

Julia had a surgical consult with Dr. Holly Mullen of VCA Emergency Animal Hospital and Referral Center in San Diego, California to discuss amputation and also address a partially torn cruciate ligament in Pearl’s right rear knee.  While surgery could fix both issues, Dr. Mullen suggested trying platelet therapy first.

Utilizing the Pall Veterinary Platelet Enhancement Therapy system (V-PET™), Dr. Mullen treated Pearl’s chronic, non-healing wound and also her partially torn cruciate ligament.  Julia stated, “Within two weeks of the platelet therapy treatment you could see a tremendous increase with the weight she was putting on her right rear leg and by four weeks her stump had completely healed.”  Julia was very grateful for Dr. Mullen’s recommendation to try platelet therapy before jumping into a big surgery.  It was this treatment that saved Pearl’s right front limb from being completely amputated.

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

Platelet therapy can be a less expensive and less invasive alternative to surgery.  It promotes healing when the body requires help to kick start its natural internal repair processes. Platelets contain a variety of growth factors that, once released, attract progenitor cells, enhance wound healing and stimulate tissue repair.  The most common uses of platelet therapy are for indications such as hard to heal wounds, tendon and ligament injuries, as well as joint disease (osteoarthritis).  VetStem Biopharma has the distribution right to the Pall V-PET™ for the United States and Canada.

If you have an animal who is suffering from a chronic, non-healing wound, or an animal that you think may benefit from platelet therapy, make sure to discuss all of your options with your veterinarian.  VetStem can help you locate a veterinarian who is currently offering the Pall V-PET™.  Simply contact us to locate a veterinary platelet therapy provider in your area.

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