Archive for the ‘Stem Cell Therapy’ Category

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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Oct 12, 2018

What happens to my dog’s stem cells if I move?

For those of you who have had your dog treated with VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy, you may know that we store stem cells from nearly every patient who has had a sample processed at VetStem.  Banked doses are cryopreserved and can be carefully recovered from cryopreservation should your dog require future treatments.  But what happens if you move and no longer see the veterinarian who originally treated your dog?  This is a question we have received in the past and the good news is that VetStem has trained close to 5,000 veterinarians to perform stem cell therapy and if there is not one near you then most licensed veterinarians can be trained to use VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy.

Take Bowie for instance.  Bowie is a 13-year-old Japanese Chin who showed his enthusiasm for life by spinning in circles, or doing “chin spins,” as his owner called it.  He would use his left hind leg to pivot so it was no surprise that by the time he was 5 years old, he was showing signs of severe degenerative joint disease.  His veterinarian at the time, Dr. Patrick Leadbeater of Kahala Pet Hospital in Hawaii, performed surgery on Bowie’s knee and treated him with stem cells in 2010 and again in 2015.

In 2016, Bowie’s owners moved to California.  In 2018, Bowie began showing signs of arthritis once again.  Fortunately, Bowie had several stem cell doses banked.  His owners took him for a consult with their new veterinarian, Dr. Andreana Lim of McGrath Veterinary Center.  Though credentialed to perform VetStem Cell Therapy, Dr. Lim had not yet treated a stem cell patient.  In June 2018, Bowie became her first stem cell patient.  He received injections in both hips and both knees.

Our veterinarians span across the United States and Canada so if you move, we will help you find a credentialed veterinarian near you or will help a veterinarian of your choosing become VetStem credentialed.  Need to find a VetStem credentialed veterinarian near you?  Click here to receive a list of veterinarians near you.

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Sep 28, 2018

Feline Arthritis: It’s Not Just a Dog Problem

Posted by Bob under Cat Arthritis, Stem Cell Therapy

As you may know, the majority of our blogs focus on canine arthritis.  But let’s not forget about our feline friends.  Like dogs, cats are living longer, healthier lives and also suffer from common “old age” problems such as osteoarthritis. In fact, in a retrospective study conducted at a major veterinary school, radiographs from 100 cats that were presented to the teaching hospital for illnesses unrelated to arthritis were re-evaluated.  90% of the cats had radiographic evidence of degenerative joint disease.

How do you know if your cat has arthritis?  Well, first of all, they may not show the same
signs of arthritis that dogs do.  For instance, they may not noticeably limp the way dogs do.  Cats generally hide their pain very well.  Listed below are some questions you can ask yourself to see if your cat may have osteoarthritis.

  1. Is your cat less active than he/she used to be?  While cats are not known to be high performance athletes, a change in activity level may indicate pain associated with arthritis and not necessarily just normal ‘lazy’ cat behavior.
  2. Is your cat missing the litterbox? While this could be a behavioral issue or the sign of a kidney or bladder issue, also consider OA. Some cats may be too painful to want to step into and out of a litterbox.
  3. Does your cat take longer to get up from lying down or have difficulty moving around?  If your cat no longer jumps on that high ledge like he/she used to, your cat may have arthritis.

Did you answer yes to one or more of the above questions?  If so, you should consult with your veterinarian to determine if your cat has arthritis.  While there are not a lot of safe options for controlling pain in cats, VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy has been shown to be a low-risk and effective treatment for osteoarthritis.  If you are interested in consulting with a credentialed VetStem provider, contact us to receive a list of providers in your area.

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