Archive for the ‘Veterinary Medicine’ Category

Feb 12, 2021

Platelet Therapy in Veterinary Medicine

This week, we have a special guest blog about platelet therapy use in veterinary medicine from Dr. Amber Vibert. Dr. Vibert is VetStem’s Safety and Technical Services Veterinarian and has extensive experience in both general and emergency veterinary medicine.

Platelet Therapy in Veterinary Medicine

I’m very excited to have the opportunity to contribute to our blog today! As VetStem’s new clinical veterinarian, I’m here to give you an added layer of information from a medical perspective. Today I’d like to share with you the capabilities of wonderous cells called platelets. You may have heard the term “Platelet Rich Plasma” (PRP) or “Platelet Enhancement Therapy” (PET) and wondered, “What are platelets and how does this treatment work, exactly?” We have showcased several success stories of pets who have received platelet therapy and now it’s time to look at the science behind the medicine and applications for which they can be used.

Activated platelets releasing their healing molecules

Good Things Come in Small Packages

Platelets are very small cells found in the blood stream of mammals and are best known for their ability to clot the blood. However, there is SO MUCH MORE these tiny but powerful cells can do! A complex signaling system sent out from damaged cells attracts platelets to an injury and tells them to release several healing molecules that they have stored inside of them. In turn, these healing molecules attract a multitude of additional healing cells (including stem cells) to the site of injury or inflammation. Together, these cells have been shown to reduce pain, remove the damaged cells, build new blood vessels, prevent further tissue damage, and generate new healthy cells in place of the injured ones. Amazing!

What Can These Heroes of Healing Be Used For?

In veterinary medicine, platelet therapy is most often used for treatment of joint-related problems such as cruciate ligament tears, osteoarthritis and tendon injuries in dogs, cats, and horses. However, recent research has shown that PRP/PET can also aid in the healing of skin wounds, corneal (eye) ulcers, surgical incision sites, tooth sockets following extraction, and even muscle tears. And the use of platelet therapy is not just limited to our animal companions. You may have heard of NFL players who have received PRP/PET for tendon/ligament injuries and muscle tears. Platelet therapy can also be used in conjunction with stem cell therapy to maximize the effect of both treatments.

A dog receives an injection of platelet therapy into her injured knee
A canine patient receives an injection of platelet therapy into her injured knee

Harnessing the Power of Platelets

The functions of platelets may be complex, but their collection and administration is quite simple. A calculated amount of blood is drawn based on the patient’s size/weight. The blood sample is then either spun in a machine called a centrifuge or injected through a special filter such as VetStem’s V-PET™ gravitational filter system in order to separate the platelets from other blood cells. The final product is a highly concentrated number of platelets suspended in the protein-rich fluid component of the blood called plasma. This solution is then injected (or topically applied as with skin wounds or surgical incisions) to the injury site. And voila! There you have platelet therapy- another way to enhance the body’s own power to heal.

Jun 18, 2020

June 18th is Veterinary Appreciation Day™

Posted by Bob under Veterinary Medicine

June 18th is a special day for those of us in the veterinary field. In 2015, Trupanion created Veterinary Appreciation Day™ to recognize and honor veterinary professionals. From the veterinary receptionists and front desk teams to the animal care team, technicians and doctors, veterinary professionals are a dedicated and hardworking bunch of individuals.

While human doctors and nurses often specialize in one field of medicine, veterinary doctors and technicians practice several areas of medicine. Veterinarians, with support from their team, examine and diagnose patients with many different conditions, perform radiography, provide hematologic (blood) analysis, prescribe medication, and perform an array of surgeries and dental prophylaxis. Also, veterinarians are trained to treat more than just one species and none of their patients can tell them what is wrong! Your veterinary hospital is likely a one-stop-shop for all of your pet’s basic needs.

However, some veterinarians pursue advanced training to specialize in fields such as surgery, neurology, ophthalmology, or internal medicine. Veterinary specialists tend to have a wider breadth of knowledge and experience in their specific field of expertise and can often provide diagnoses and services that general practitioners may not be able to. For instance, your regular veterinarian may not have an MRI machine, or they may not be experienced in some of the more advanced orthopedic surgeries.

One thing remains consistent however: veterinarians and their teams are compassionate and dedicated to the health and wellbeing of their patients. For this reason, compassion fatigue is a real and serious concern that may affect veterinary professionals. Working in a veterinary hospital is not all puppy kisses and kitten cuddles. Often, veterinary staff are faced with tough situations which can be emotionally exhausting. Long hours and strenuous physical work can add to the stress that veterinary professionals face.

With the current COVID-19 pandemic, veterinary professionals are under more stress than ever. As essential workers, many veterinary teams have continued to care for our pets amid various shelter-in-place orders. Many veterinary hospitals modified their services, providing only medically necessary procedures. Veterinary team members have donned masks, protective gowns, and/or gloves, and likely visited with their clients and their furry family members in the parking lot, as opposed to the clinic lobby.

Though veterinary work comes with challenges, most veterinarians and their staff continue to love what they do. Helping animals and their owners is very gratifying and can give one the sense of making a difference, something many of us strive to do. Thus, if you have a moment today, take the time to thank your veterinarian and their team. A simple note of thanks can make a huge difference in one’s day!