Archive for the ‘VetStem Cell Therapy’ Category

Aug 28, 2020

Brody the Bear Receives VetStem Cell Therapy

Posted by Bob under VetStem Cell Therapy

Brody is a Florida black bear that had a pretty rough start in life. He was found abandoned at approximately 3 weeks of age in Ocala National Forest. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission were unsuccessful in finding his mother and determined he had severe respiratory issues and a weak suckling response. Because he was abandoned at such a young age, he was not a candidate for release. Thus, he was transferred to the Brevard Zoo for long-term care. Fortunately for Brody, Zoo team members nursed him back to health and continue to give him hours of exercise and socialization.

Not Out of the Woods Yet

In May, when Brody was approximately 4 months old, caregivers noticed that Brody’s abdomen was sensitive and that he was repeatedly licking the area. He was anesthetized for an examination and it was determined that Brody has a condition similar to hip dysplasia in dogs. His hip joints are malformed and, if left untreated, will lead to severe pain and osteoarthritis. In an effort to avoid this fate, it was determined that Brody would undergo a corrective surgery known as juvenile pubic symphysiodesis (JPS).

Dr. Christiansen injecting Brody’s own stem cells into his hip

A Skilled Surgeon Steps Up to the Plate

As luck would have it, Dr. Jeff Christiansen, board-certified surgeon and avid stem cell user, was contacted to perform Brody’s surgery. Dr. Christiansen has performed JPS on puppies with great success and felt that Brody would be a good candidate for the procedure. While he had Brody on the operating table, he collected some fat for stem cell processing.

Brody’s fat was received at the VetStem laboratory where his stem cells were extracted and put into culture to grow stem cell doses. Once complete, three stem cell doses were shipped back to Dr. Christiansen. Brody received one injection in each hip as well as one intravenous injection.

A Happy Ending

According to the Brevard Zoo, Brody is recovering well. It will be quite some time before they can evaluate the long-term effectiveness of the surgery but the good news is, Brody has 15 stem cell doses banked for potential future use. When VetStem Cell Therapy is used in conjunction with surgery, the stem cells act to reduce pain and inflammation and to promote healing.

Brody is not the first bear that VetStem has helped. In 2018, Francis, a sun bear at the San Diego Zoo, received VetStem Cell Therapy for arthritis, using his own stem cells. You can read Francis’ stem cell story here.

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Aug 14, 2020

Golden Retriever Receives VetStem Cell Therapy for Hip Arthritis

Posted by Bob under Dog Arthritis, VetStem Cell Therapy

When Daisey was approximately six years old, she began showing symptoms of osteoarthritis in her hips. A typical fun-loving Golden, Daisey enjoys fetch, running at the dog park, and playing with her canine sibling. When she began to limp after her favorite activities, her owners knew there was a problem.  She started having trouble walking up stairs and would occasionally yelp in pain.

Daisey

A trip to the veterinarian revealed Daisey has osteoarthritis in her hips as a result of bilateral hip dysplasia. Her owners decided against surgery and instead looked into stem cell therapy. Her veterinarian, Dr. Rob Landry of Colorado Center for Animal Pain Management, has extensive experience with VetStem Cell Therapy and determined Daisey was a good candidate for the procedure.

Dr. Landry collected fat tissue from Daisey’s abdomen, which was shipped to the VetStem laboratory in California. VetStem lab technicians processed the tissue to extract and concentrate Daisey’s stem and regenerative cells. Three injectable stem cell doses were shipped back to Dr. Landry. Approximately 48 hours after the fat tissue collection, Daisey received injections of her own stem cells into each hip and intravenously.

After the procedure, Daisey’s owners noticed improvement. First, they noticed that Daisey was able to rise from lying down with less difficulty. Additionally, climbing stairs became less of a challenge for Daisey. Eventually, she began to play more and is now able to take long walks with her owners. Her owner stated, “There is a contented look on her face and a twinkle in her eyes. So far life is good.”

Unfortunately, Daisey’s story is not uncommon. Approximately 1 in 5 adult dogs are affected by arthritis. OA can be caused by a number of factors including abnormal joint conformation or development, injury, and obesity. In addition, some dog breeds, like Golden Retrievers, are predisposed to the disease. Fortunately, stem cells have shown the ability to down-regulate inflammation and pain, which can lead to an increase in an arthritic dog’s quality of life. If you think your dog 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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Jul 17, 2020

Horse Receives VetStem Cell Therapy for Ligament Injuries

Posted by Bob under Horse Injuries, VetStem Cell Therapy

Heartbeat is a 22-year-old Oldenberg gelding. When he was 16, he started to show signs of lameness in his left front leg. Extensive examinations and diagnostics revealed his lameness was due to injuries to his lateral collateral and impar ligaments in his left front hoof.

Heartbeat in the Jumper Ring

His veterinarian, Dr. Patricia Doyle of Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center, recommended treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy and began the process by collecting fat from Heartbeat’s tailhead. The fat was processed at the VetStem laboratory and 3 syringes of Heartbeat’s own stem cells were shipped back to Dr. Doyle for injection into his injured leg.

In addition to VetStem Cell Therapy, Dr. Doyle recommended a slow, regimented rehabilitation program for approximately 8-12 months following Heartbeat’s stem cell treatment. Veterinarian’s may or may not recommend rehabilitation in conjunction with VetStem Cell Therapy depending on several factors such as the condition being treated and the severity of the condition. Some other horses that benefited from rehab after receiving VetStem Cell Therapy are Jesse, Atlas, and Woody.

Following stem cell therapy and one full year of rehab, Heartbeat returned to the jumper ring and has competed successfully at the lower levels for the past 6 years. Now, at age 22, his owner reports, “He remains sound working six days a week on average and still winning in the show ring.” If your horse has suffered an injury or is suddenly lame, speak to your veterinarian about whether or not VetStem Cell Therapy may help. Or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area.

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Jul 10, 2020

Vet has Own Dog Treated with VetStem Cell Therapy for Arthritis

Posted by Bob under Dog Arthritis, VetStem Cell Therapy

Emma is a 12-year-old Australian cattle dog. She has arthritis in her elbows and carpus (wrist) and also has spondylosis, a spinal condition in which bony spurs form along the vertebrae. Fortunately for Emma, her mom is a veterinarian and elected to have Emma treated with VetStem Cell Therapy.

In 2018, Emma had her fat collected to begin the process for stem cell therapy. Her initial treatment consisted of three joint injections for her elbows and right carpus, one intravenous injection, and one injection that was given along the muscles of her spine. She responded well to treatment.

After approximately one year, Emma began to slow down again. Her veterinarian requested that Emma’s stem cells be put into culture to grow more stem cell doses for treatment. Once the culture process was complete, Emma received a second round of stem cell injections just over one year after her first treatment.

Again, Emma responded well to the stem cell treatment but, according to her mom, began to show signs of discomfort approximately one year after her second stem cell treatment. Her mom stated, “What we notice is weakness to her back legs and mild limping on her front legs. She will also lick at her carpi and elbows when her pain is acting up. When her rear legs are weak, we notice she has trouble jumping onto the couch. She also needs to stop and rest frequently when we take her on walks.” Emma received a third stem cell treatment in June of this year. Her mom stated, “I know she would not be alive today if it wasn’t for the stem cell treatment.”

Emma’s story is not uncommon. Many VetStem patients have undergone repeat injections when their symptoms start to flare up again. One such patient is Bodie, the champion Bird Dog with hip dysplasia. Fortunately, VetStem offers stem cell storage for patients who receive VetStem Cell Therapy. If available, the stored stem cells can be used for future treatments as needed. For more information about cell storage, read our recent blog on the subject.

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May 29, 2020

VetStem Biopharma Centennial Club

As the first company in the United States to provide adipose-derived stem cell processing services to veterinarians and their patients, VetStem pioneered the use of regenerative stem cells in veterinary medicine. Since 2003, VetStem has trained nearly 5,000 veterinarians across the United States and Canada to perform VetStem Cell Therapy. We have processed fat samples for over 14,000 patients and 30 different species of animals.

Twelve of our VetStem trained veterinarians have provided VetStem services for over 100 of their patients. The “Centennial Club,” as we like to call them, are among the most experienced adipose-derived stem cell providers in the country. Seven of the Centennial Club members are small animal veterinarians while the other five are equine veterinarians. The Centennial Club members are:

Small Animal
Dr. Kim Carlson of North Peninsula Veterinary Surgical Group
Dr. Jamie Gaynor of Peak Performance Veterinary Group
Dr. Jeff Christiansen of Superior Veterinary Surgical Solutions
Dr. Allyson Berent of Animal Medical Center of New York
Dr. Adam Gassel of Blue Pearl Pet Hospital of Irvine
Dr. Keith Clement of Burnt Hills Veterinary Hospital
Dr. Tim McCarthy formerly of Cascade Veterinary Referral Center

Equine
Dr. Ross Rich of Regenerative Therapy Consulting
Dr. Martin Gardner of Western Performance Equine
Dr. John McCarroll of Equine Medical Associates
Dr. Bill Hay of Tryon Equine Hospital
Dr. Scott Reiners of Mountain View Equine Hospital

Each of the above veterinarians has made VetStem Cell Therapy an integral part of their veterinary practice. They are all experienced in case selection and have seen many positive outcomes. We think it’s worth mentioning that two of the above veterinarians have reached even bigger milestones. Dr. Martin Gardner has surpassed 500 stem cell cases and Dr. John McCarroll has over 250 stem cell cases. Additionally, there are four more veterinarians who are approaching 100 stem cell cases.

Stem cells are regenerative cells that can differentiate into many tissue types. In both small animals and horses, stem cell therapy is most often used to treat orthopedic conditions such as osteoarthritis and injured tendons and ligaments. VetStem Cell Therapy has shown to reduce pain and lameness and improve quality of life and return to work for horses. If you would like to locate a VetStem provider near you, please contact us.

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Nov 22, 2019

Documentary Featuring VetStem Receives Another Award

Posted by Bob under VetStem Cell Therapy

In our blog about translational medicine, we announced that VetStem was featured in an award-winning documentary, Animal Pharm: Where Beasts Meet BiotechThe film was included in the Brentwood and Pacific Palisades International Film Festival in Los Angeles, California where it received the award for Best Nature and Animals Film.

The documentary focuses on regenerative veterinary medicine as a means of improving the quality of life for domestic and wild animals and heavily features VetStem, including an interview with VetStem Founder and CEO Dr. Bob Harman.  Dr. Harman explains that when he first conceived of and formed VetStem, he was called “crazy.” Over time however the thinking has evolved so that regenerative medicine is now regarded as a legitimate and valuable tool for veterinarians.

We recently received the exciting news that the film will be featured in the Palm Beach International Mini Movie and Film Festival on December 9th in Palm Beach, Florida.  Not only will the film be featured, the producers will also be presented with the award for Best Documentary!  Congratulations to everyone involved in the making of the film.

We are proud to be a part of this film and believe that it provides a great service to the public by providing legitimate education about cell therapy in the veterinary field and how this can assist the field of human stem cell therapy.    

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Jul 19, 2019

Veterinarian Highlight: Cindy Echevarria, DVM

This week we would like to introduce you to VetStem proponent, Dr. Cindy Echevarria of VCA University Animal Hospital in Dallas.  Dr. Echevarria has been utilizing VetStem Cell Therapy since early 2015 and has treated nearly 40 patients, including her own dog, Bella.  Dr. Echevarria also treated Stuart, the Lab with a soft tissue injury and Seve, a Golden Retriever with osteoarthritis in his hips.

We recently caught up with Dr. Echevarria to ask her some questions about how she utilizes VetStem Cell Therapy.  See her answers below.

At what point in the process do you recommend stem cell therapy for your patients (ie, when the injury/ailment is first diagnosed, after meds have proven unsuccessful/detrimental, etc.)

I usually recommend stem cell for all orthopedic injury cases, particularly ACL tears, and arthritic cases.  For cruciate injuries I find combining the TPLO or repair surgery with the collection part of the stem cell process to be easy on the pet and the owner since the recovery process goes unchanged.  Anything that does not inconvenience the owner further but helps the pet makes it easier to relay the benefits to the owner.  Since aftercare alone is a lot to take on for each procedure alone, being able to manage both at the same time saves the owner time and stress (versus doing the procedures independently).  Also, as discussed at the time of injury, once one ACL tears it is very common for the other to tear in the future.  Having the stem cells available in the future allows for re-infusion into originally affected limb and new limb if needed without having to collect additional cells.  Some owners do not have the funds to do all at once, but at least discussing the options with them helps them narrow down where their funds would be best utilized.

I also commonly bring it up for owners who are tired of what they perceive as over-medicating or “nothing works” idea.  Many of the cases I have done that were on medications have been able to be reduced significantly to none in some cases.  Although it can be mentioned as last resort if nothing else works, I feel like the sooner stem cell is used on the pet, the higher chances of success.  Including offering StemInsure when they are young (at time of spay or neuter) for those breeds that are prone to arthritis or those dogs (hunting, agility, etc) that are at higher risk of needing stem cell in their future.

I had a Newfoundland puppy that I did StemInsure on for her potential bilateral elbow dysplasia that her predecessor had and the fact of her size/breed overall.  2.5 years later she tore her ACL.  Her cells were already stored at that time and only had to be processed at the time of her knee repair.  Worked really well and the owners were pleased that that had even been offered back when she was a puppy.  It has been about 1.5 years since her TPLO/stem cell infusion and she continues to not need pain management.  She only takes Dasuquin (which I advise for all my patients with injuries or arthritis), regardless of stem cell.

What parameters make a patient a good candidate for stem cell therapy?

*are we on pain management and only minimal improvement?

*has the pet been on long term meds and liver/kidney values now an issue?  medications are more limited now

*are their neurologic deficits?   If yes, I generally do not proceed with stem cell.  I always offer a free initial assessment to see if stem cell would even be an option for the pet.

*does the pet have or has had cancer?  I usually do not proceed with stem cell.

*what other conditions might the pet have that would compromise the effectiveness of the stem cells or are they higher risk for anesthesia for the collection process? 

Advice for pet owners considering stem cell therapy for their pet.

There is so much benefit from stem cell aside from joint related ailments, that just reading about it and asking for testimonials goes a long way.  I am always open to calls for those interested or just want to know more about it.  I am also very real about the fact that it is intense and probably inconvenient for most the following 8 weeks after infusion, but it does get results.    

If you’re located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and are interested in VetStem Cell Therapy for your dog or cat, we recommend a visit with Dr. Echevarria.

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Jun 21, 2019

Meet Sue, VetStem’s Director of Clinical Development

In this week’s “Meet VetStem” blog series, we introduce you to Sue, our Director of Clinical Development.  Sue has been with VetStem from the get-go and with her level of experience, she wears many hats.  In her role as Director of Clinical Development, Sue helps Dr. Bob Harman and Kristi oversee the compassionate use stem cell cases.  She also handles the exotic animal cases such as Francis, the sun bear from the San Diego Zoo.  In addition to this, Sue works closely with our Quality Assurance and R&D teams to conduct and manage clinical studies and collect and analyze post-study data.  Perhaps one of her most important roles at VetStem is that of Animal Safety Advocate.  In this role, Sue oversees the safety of all patients treated with VetStem Cell Therapy to identify and remedy any potential risks associated with treatment.

Sue has a BS from UC Davis and is a Certified Animal Health Technician.  Prior to joining VetStem, Sue worked in various animal and scientific fields.  Her animal experience ranges from grooming and training dogs to working with dairy cattle and pigs.  She has trained her own dogs in various activities including obedience, scent hurdle racing, herding, and agility but mostly just how to be a pleasant part of the family.  Animals have been a part of her family for as long as she can remember including dogs, cats, birds, and horses.

Sue and Dr. Harman share two adult children, Kristi and Kevin, both of which were homeschooled at various points in time before college.  They currently own 6 cats, 3 dogs, 2 horses, and several birds.  Two of their dogs, Ben and Sally (pictured below), can be seen hanging around the VetStem office on a regular basis.  In her free time, Sue enjoys trail walks, especially near bodies of water.  She also enjoys studying about various holistic therapies and tries to apply them to herself and her family, both 2 and 4 legged.

Sue’s commitment to patient safety and quality assurance is unparalleled.  With her level of knowledge and attention to detail, Sue is an essential member of the VetStem team.  Thank you, Sue for your hard work and dedication!

 

Sue

Kristi and Kevin

Sally

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Jun 14, 2019

Can Stem Cells be Used in Patients with Cancer?

Cancer is a diagnosis no pet owner wants to hear.  Occasionally pet owners will contact us to ask if VetStem Cell Therapy can be used to treat or cure their pet’s cancer.  Unfortunately, VetStem cells cannot be used to treat cancer.  But what about pet’s who have an orthopedic condition that may benefit from stem cell therapy who also have cancer?

As a precaution, we monitor the occurrence of cancer in patients treated with VetStem Cell Therapy closely and have not seen a higher incidence than what is reported in patients of the same age group that were not treated with stem cells.  The literature supports that adult stem cells do not directly turn into cancer cells.  There is also literature regarding stem cell therapy in women who have had mastectomies which shows no higher incidence of recurrence of cancer.

VetStem takes a conservative approach when it comes to patients with cancer because there is still a lot that we don’t know about stem cells and how they work so we err on the side of safety.  We do not recommend stem cell therapy for patients with active or recent cancer.

However, as pet owners ourselves, we understand that in some cases, the potential benefits of stem cell therapy may outweigh the potential risk in patients with active or recent cancer and therefore a pet owner may elect to move forward with stem cell therapy.  This decision is usually reached after a consultation between your veterinarian and a VetStem veterinarian and requires pet owners to sign a special waiver. Some things to consider when making this decision are: age of your pet, severity of the cancer, other medical conditions, and your pet’s current quality of life. There is also an option for patients with cancer to only receive joint injections and not an intravenous injection.

If you have any questions about stem cell therapy, speak to your veterinarian or contact a VetStem representative.

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May 31, 2019

Stem Cell Banking

One of the services that VetStem provides is cell banking, or storage, of your pet’s extra stem cells.  Once the stem cells are extracted and concentrated from your dog’s, cat’s, or horse’s fat tissue, they are portioned into “doses” either for immediate use or for storage in cryopreservation tanks.

There are several reasons why we store any extra stem cells that aren’t needed for the initial treatment.  By storing your pet’s extra cells, your veterinarian will have the ability to request additional doses for future treatments if necessary.  Future treatments can be used if your pet’s condition causes discomfort again, if your pet gets re-injured, or even if your pet develops a new condition that was not previously treated.  Our friend Bodie, a longtime stem cell recipient, is a perfect example of why storing stem cells can be beneficial.

It is important to note that cell yields vary and not every patient has enough to store extra doses.  That being said, VetStem stores what we call a “Retention Sample” for nearly every patient.  The Retention Sample is a small number of your pet’s stem cells that is cryopreserved and saved for a potential future culture.  What this means is, if your pet uses up all of his/her stem cell doses, VetStem can use the Retention Sample to initiate a stem cell culture to grow more of your pet’s own stem cells.  This process takes a few weeks and does incur an additional charge however it allows us to potentially create a lifetime supply of stem cell doses for your pet. Both Bodie and Whisper have had their stem cells cultured so they may continue with treatment as needed.

Another benefit to storing your pet’s extra stem cells is that it eliminates the need for another fat collection procedure, should your pet require additional treatments.  This is especially important for older dogs and cats or patients who are otherwise not a good candidate for anesthesia.  By storing your pet’s extra cells and avoiding additional fat collection procedures, you are potentially saving money and reducing the amount of times your dog or cat has to undergo anesthesia.  Though horses do not require full anesthesia for the collection procedure, the fat collection is still a minor surgical procedure and thus incurs additional expense.

Clearly, there are many benefits to storing your pet’s extra stem cells.  VetStem stores each patient’s extra cells for one year at no extra charge.  After the first year there is a nominal fee, charged annually, to continue storage.  We also offer discounts if you pay for multiple years up front.  We occasionally get questions from owners regarding storage and whether or not they should continue.  Our advice is to consider the bigger picture.  For instance, does your dog or cat have an ongoing degenerative disease such as osteoarthritis that may worsen over time?  Is your dog or horse a performance or working animal that is at risk of getting injured?  If the answer is yes, then it is most likely in your (and your pet’s) best interest to continue your pet’s stem cell storage.

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