Archive for the ‘Stem Cell Therapy’ Category

Mar 22, 2019

Veterinarian Highlight: Dr. Holly Mullen DVM, DACVS

This week we present another veterinarian highlight telling about her experiences with Regenerative Veterinary Medicine!  Dr. Holly Mullen is a Regenerative Veterinary Medicine proponent and also happens to be right in our backyard in San Diego, California.  Dr. Mullen is a board-certified surgeon who works at VCA Emergency Animal Hospital and Referral Center.  Dr. Mullen received her DVM from Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in 1985.  She then went on to complete an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the Animal Medical Center in New York City (AMC) followed by a residency in small animal surgery also at AMC.  She received her board certification in veterinary surgery in 1990 and was staff surgeon at AMC until joining her current hospital in 1995.

Dr. Mullen has been offering VetStem Cell Therapy since 2007 and has provided stem cell services for over 60 stem cell patients.  She has also been utilizing Veterinary Platelet Enhancement Therapy (V-PET™) since 2015.

  1. Explain why you’re a big proponent of VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy.

Regenerative medicine (stem cells and PRP [platelet rich plasma]) is an important part of my surgery practice.  VetStem’s excellent customer relations, high quality control and careful processing and storage of the cells are a few of the many reasons I feel very comfortable using this company for my patient’s stem cell needs. Regenerative medicine offers a new frontier for minimally invasive, effective and safe treatments for many diseases and conditions. I offer stem cell therapy to the majority of my orthopedic surgical patients and arthritic patients, but it can also be used to help patients with medical conditions such as kidney, liver, bowel and skin diseases. I have offered stem cell therapy as a treatment modality since 2007, after taking the VetStem Credentialing Course for veterinarians. Since then, I have been very pleased with the high rate of successful response to treatment in my dog and cat patients; over 95% of my patients have had excellent responses to treatment. I have also participated in stem cell therapy in both a sea lion and a sun bear, with similarly good results. I am a big proponent of VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy because I see the huge positive difference it makes in the lives of my patients and their families.

  1. Please describe your ideal stem cell patient- what criteria must they meet in order to recommend stem cell therapy?

The ideal stem cell patient is a dog or cat who is suffering from a condition that we know stem cells can help with. They should be healthy enough to undergo the brief anesthetic procedure to harvest the fat from which the stem cells will be extracted. They also should not have conditions such as severe muscle atrophy that might prevent them from having a good response to treatment. Some patients with advanced cancers, in very debilitated body condition, and/or multiple serious medical concerns may not be good candidates for stem cell therapy. While often results seem miraculous, stem cell therapy cannot “cure everything”. However, dogs and cats with significant arthritis can walk comfortably, chronic wounds and fractures can heal, and post-op joint surgery patients can walk sooner and be more comfortable after having regenerative therapy.

  1. What advice can you offer pet owners considering stem cell therapy for their pet?

My advice is to educate yourself now about stem cell therapy and ask your veterinarian if it would help your pet. Also, give stem cell therapy a try if your veterinarian recommends it! It is safe and effective, almost all patients have very good results and it may reduce or prevent the need for other standard medications or even surgical procedures in some cases. Be sure to visit the VetStem web site for a thorough explanation of stem cell and PRP therapies; don’t miss the testimonials to read how other pet parent’s experiences have been. Ask your friends and relatives if they have had regenerative medicine treatments themselves; a portion of my patients were brought to me by owners who knew someone, or themselves had had stem cell or PRP therapy with positive results and wanted the same for their pet. Regenerative Cell Therapy is amazing!

 

We appreciate Dr. Mullen taking her time to participate in this week’s veterinarian highlight!  If you are in the San Diego area and are looking for an experienced stem cell provider, Dr. Mullen is an excellent choice!  As she stated, she has had many successful stem cell and platelet therapy cases including Knuckles and Pearl.  (And did you catch that part about working with a sun bear?!  Stay tuned for some exciting news…)

Dr. Holly Mullen

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Mar 8, 2019

Questions from a Recent Veterinary Conference

We recently exhibited at the Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.  This veterinary trade show is well attended due to its size, location, and plethora of educational opportunities.  I spent several days in the booth along with the team, meeting and speaking with veterinary professionals from across the globe.  These trade shows are always a good opportunity to connect with our current clients and educate future clients about Regenerative Veterinary Medicine.  Every year, we get a lot of good questions, some of which we think animal owners would like to know about as well.  Below we have answered some of the questions we received while at the conference.

  1. Why do you use fat-derived stem cells rather than bone marrow?

Fat tissue has been shown to have 100 to 500 times the amount of stem cells as bone marrow per amount of tissue collected.  On top of that, fat is generally plentiful and easily collected.  Because of this, culturing, or growing, more doses is usually not necessary and therefore cells can be returned for treatment within 48 hours after collection – a critical time for healing of acute injuries before scar tissue has formed – rather than several weeks.

  1. If stem cells are processed with an in-clinic system, is that more sterile than if the fat is sent to the VetStem laboratory for processing?

Simple answer: No. VetStem uses sterile Bio-Safety cabinets which are inside of hepa-filtered clean rooms.  As clean as your veterinary office may appear, you can’t get any cleaner than a “clean room” that is designed specifically to process stem cells.  We take sterility very seriously at VetStem, to the point that we may recommend delaying treatment if we feel a sample’s sterility has been compromised.

  1. Which is better, Platelet Rich Plasma or Stem Cell Therapy?

When speaking in terms of healing, we believe the “gold standard” is a combination of both stem cell and platelet therapy.  When the two are used together, they have a synergistic effect, meaning they work together to speed healing and reduce pain and inflammation.  Stem cells have a number of jobs including the down-regulation of inflammation and pain as well as tissue regeneration.  Stem cells also have the ability to home to areas of injury/inflammation.  While platelets contain many types of growth factors that help attract additional healing cells, they cannot respond to cellular signals, specific tissue needs, or the severity of the injury.  That being said, platelet therapy has its advantages.  For one, platelets are concentrated in a closed system (unlike the stem cell kits that aren’t a closed system) right in your veterinarian’s office so there is very little wait time between collection and treatment.  Also, platelet therapy is sometimes used when stem cell therapy is not financially possible.

  1. Does adipose-derived stem cell therapy work? How long do the effects last?

VetStem has been providing stem cell treatments for animals since 2004.  With over 17,000 treatments, including for multiple animals from the same veterinarians over the years, many have found benefit in using stem cell therapy.  But we’re going to be honest and say that it doesn’t work for ALL conditions and it doesn’t have the same effects for all patients.  Some patients do better than others and the results depend on a variety of factors including severity of the disease being treated, lifestyle of the animal, and the management of the patient after stem cell injection.  Just like with people, physical therapy is usually part of an orthopedic treatment plan. These same factors can contribute to the longevity of the effects of stem cell therapy.  We see dogs who receive one treatment and experience good results that don’t require another treatment for many years, if at all.  We also see dogs with severe joint disease that benefit from repeat treatments every six month to a year.  So again, it’s very case dependent.  Your veterinarian can help you to determine if your pet may benefit from stem cell therapy.

  1. Why should I choose VetStem instead of other stem cell companies?

There are many reasons why thousands of veterinarians and their pet owners have chosen to use VetStem services over other regenerative medicine companies.  We highlighted some of the important reasons in a previous blog that you can find here.

We hope these questions/answers have provided some insight into why VetStem is a leader in the field of Regenerative Veterinary Medicine.  We enjoy educating our peers, be they veterinarians, technicians or pet owners!  If you have further questions about Regenerative Veterinary Medicine or VetStem, feel free to contact us or speak to your veterinarian.  Or, to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area, submit a Locate a Vet request here.

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Mar 1, 2019

Veterinarian Highlight: Dr. Jeff Christiansen, DVM, DACVS

In this week’s blog, we’d like to introduce you to one of our many VetStem Credentialed Veterinarians, Dr. Jeff Christiansen.  Dr. Christiansen is a traveling surgeon that works out of Aloha Pet and Bird Hospital, Island Animal Hospital, Animal Specialty and Emergency Hospital, Maybeck Animal Hospital and a number of other veterinary hospitals. While he primarily works in Central Florida, Dr. Christiansen gets referrals from all over Florida and occasionally some other states including Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, and even Wisconsin!  His company, Superior Veterinary Surgical Solutions, was founded in July 2014, though he’s been practicing veterinary medicine since 1996.  Dr. Christiansen has been a board-certified veterinary surgeon since 2002 and is experienced in all manners of soft tissue, orthopedic, and spinal surgery.

Though VetStem credentialed since 2008, Dr. Christiansen treated his first stem cell patient in 2012.  Since then, Dr. Christiansen has treated over 100 patients utilizing VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy and, as such, is a member of the VetStem Centennial Club. In addition to VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy, Dr. Christiansen provides platelet therapy utilizing the Pall Veterinary Platelet Enhancement Therapy (V-PET™) kit.  Dr. Christiansen has been using V-PET™ since 2015.

We were able to tear Dr. Christiansen away from his busy schedule to get a little insight on how he uses VetStem Cell Therapy.  See his interview below:

  1. What do you like about stem cell therapy and why did you choose VetStem as your service provider?
    I like the idea of improving the ability of a pet to heal and to control inflammation.
    When we perform orthopedic surgery, the implants we use have a finite/limited ability to tolerate stress before breaking. The sooner a pet’s body heals, the sooner the pet is out of the risk for such problems.
    When I do joint surgery, I know I am improving the pet’s comfort and function, but they still get arthritis over time (just a lot more slowly than without surgery); but stem cell therapy can help the pet reduce the arthritis, and protect (and potentially repair) the cartilage, and it improves the pet’s short and long-term comfort and function.
    I chose VetStem for two simple reasons: Unparalleled quality control and client support.
    I see videos and hear reports of other stem cell companies that don’t practice sterile technique, and they are harvesting/processing the tissue in the same room in which hospitalized patients are contained, complete with the airborne hair and patient waste. VetStem has tissue harvested sterilely, processes it sterilely, examines it under the microscope to inspect the quality/sterility, and performs additional bacterial or other testing as indicated.
    Any time I have questions or concerns, I get rapid and complete responses from the appropriate staff members, and even the CEO of the company as indicated.
    Service is without fail. If I place an order, I get what I want, when I ordered it, always properly shipped, climate-controlled, protected, labeled, etc.

 

  1. How do you select your stem cell cases?  What criteria must they meet before you recommend stem cell therapy?
    I recommend stem cell therapy with any orthopedic surgery or as a treatment option for arthritis. I also recommend stem cell therapy for cases with spinal problems as well as for issues with kidneys, lungs, intestines.
    The pet must be healthy enough to tolerate a brief, minor surgical harvest, as well as an expectation to live long to enjoy the benefit of the therapy. I don’t recommend for patients with cancer or systemic infection.
    I also make sure the owner is realistic. Stem Cells can do great things, and sometimes a nearly crippled pet can play like a puppy again, but I make sure the owner appreciates the limitations of any therapy.

 

  1. Any advice for pet owners considering stem cell therapy for their pet?
    Most people appreciate holistic, natural options for their pets. If you could do something that would improve (and potentially extend) your pet’s daily and long-term comfort and quality of life without drugs and further surgery, wouldn’t you do it?
    I would also strongly encourage pet owners to get pet insurance. Because the benefits with stem cell therapy are so clear-cut, at least with arthritis, many stem cell companies pay most or all of the cost of stem cell therapy.

Thanks, Dr. Christiansen, for taking the time to speak with us!  If you live in or around Florida and are considering stem cell therapy for your pet, you are in excellent hands with Dr. Jeff Christiansen!

Dr. Jeff Christiansen with patient Ammo

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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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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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Nov 9, 2018

Stem Cell Therapy for Cats Part 3: Gingivostomatitis

Posted by Bob under Cat Stem Cells, Stem Cell Therapy

In our last two blog posts, we discussed stem cells for cats.  In addition to arthritis, stem cells may be beneficial for felines with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).  In this week’s blog, we will discuss feline Gingivostomatitis.

Gingivostomatitis is a disease affecting the mouth of felines.  It 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 teeth, however only about 70% of cats will respond to this treatment.  Those cats that do not respond will require lifelong treatment with medications.

Two small studies on cats that had full mouth extractions conducted at the University of California Davis have shown that fat-derived stem cell therapy led to improvement or remission in the majority of cats treated.  VetStem believes that fat-derived stem cells without full extractions may be beneficial.  While a few veterinarians have seen favorable results using VetStem cell therapy, more investigation is needed.

If your cat has Chronic Kidney Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, or Gingivostomatitis, stem cell therapy may provide relief.  Contact us today to locate a VetStem Credentialed veterinarian in your area.

This concludes our “Stem Cell Therapy for Cats” blog series.  Thanks for reading!  If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at info@vetstem.com.

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Nov 2, 2018

Stem Cell Therapy for Cats Part 2: Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Posted by Bob under Cat Stem Cells, Stem Cell Therapy

Last week, we shared part 1 of this blog series regarding stem cells for cats.  While stem cells may be an effective treatment for arthritic felines, there are a few other diseases for which stem cells may be beneficial including Chronic Kidney Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and Gingivostomatitis.  In last week’s blog, we discussed Chronic Kidney Disease.  In part 2 of this series, we will look at Inflammatory Bowel Disease and how stem cells may be of benefit.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder characterized by inflammation in the gut.  Some of the common symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, reduced appetite, and weight loss.  It is important to note however that these symptoms can be indicative of several various ailments such as food allergies, bacterial or viral infections, and intestinal parasites.  Typically, these problems can be resolved with dietary changes and/or antibiotics while IBD is generally responsive to immunosuppressive therapy such as steroids.

Also, when considering stem cell treatment for cats with IBD, it is necessary to rule out Lymphoma as the underlying cause of the symptoms.  VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy is contraindicated in patients with active cancer.

In a case study where a 4-year-old Himalayan cat developed IBD, treatment with VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy quickly resolved the cat’s diarrhea and vomiting and led to an increased appetite.  To add to that, in a recently published paper, 5 out of 7 cats that were treated with stem cells were significantly improved or had complete resolution of symptoms whereas the 4 control cats had no improvement.1

If your cat has Inflammatory Bowel Disease, stem cell therapy may provide relief.  Contact us today to locate a VetStem Credentialed veterinarian in your area.  And stay tuned for part 3 of this blog series in which we will discuss stem cells for Gingivostomatitis.

Note: Dogs with IBD may benefit from stem cell therapy as well.

 

1. Webb, TL and Webb, CB (2015) Stem cell therapy in cats with chronic enteropathy: a proof-of-concept study. J Fel Medand Surg(10). 17, 901-908.

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Oct 19, 2018

Stem Cells Helped Pearl Retrieve her Frisbee

Pearl is a 10-year-old black lab who loves retrieving her Frisbee. When Pearl developed a persistent limp, her concerned owners took her to be examined by her veterinarian. Pearl was referred to Dr. Amie Csiszer at Oregon Veterinary Referral Associates who determined that Pearl had elbow dysplasia, which caused osteoarthritis in her elbows. Dr. Csiszer recommended elbow arthroscopy along with VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy.

Pearl had her procedures done in September 2017. After her recovery, Pearl’s pain and lameness improved and by the third month after the procedure, Pearl was back to chasing her Frisbee.

Pearl’s owner, Norm, began an almost daily ritual of taking Pearl to play fetch in the local pond. This allowed her to exercise without hard impact on her joints. Pearl was placed on a diet to lose some weight, which also helped relieve the arthritis in her joints. You can catch up on Pearl’s story here.

We recently checked in with Norm and he reported that Pearl is still chasing her Frisbee in the pond. He even sent us some new action shots (see below). He stated, “she is doing wonderfully and shows no evidence of her past lameness.” Great news for Pearl and her family!

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