Archive for the ‘Veterinary Medicine’ Category

Sep 2, 2022

The International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management

Posted by Bob under Pain in Pets, Veterinary Medicine

It’s officially Animal Pain Awareness Month. Each September, we devote the entire month of VetStem blogs to this very important topic. Animal Pain Awareness Month was created by the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM) and is dedicated to raising awareness to help veterinary professionals and pet owners recognize and manage pain in animals.

Who is IVAPM?

The International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM) was founded in 2001 by a group of veterinarians, including one of VetStem’s earliest users and collaborators, Dr. Jamie Gaynor. The organization evolved over the years and today, is led by an active board of directors to provide veterinary pain management education as well as a pain management certification program.

The IVAPM unites veterinary professionals across all disciplines from around the world to advocate for best practices in the treatment of pain in animals. The organization is committed to encouraging pain management for all animal species through education and advocacy. They also encourage various veterinary organizations to raise public awareness about pain and pain management as it pertains to veterinary patients. IVAPM is the leading forum and educational resource for veterinary professionals and pet owners interested in animal pain prevention, management, and treatment.

IVAPM Board of Directors

The IVAPM has an active board of directors that includes veterinarians and specialized veterinary technicians primarily from the United States. The current President of IVAPM is an experienced VetStem user, Dr. Douglas Stramel. Dr. Stramel has been utilizing VetStem Cell Therapy since early 2008. Stem cells have the ability to directly modulate pain, which we will discuss in a blog later this month.

IVAPM Pain Management Forum

One of the primary goals of IVAPM is to educate the veterinary community to recognize and treat pain in all species of animals. IVAPM provides continuing education on a variety of topics around the world. As mentioned above, they also provide the only interdisciplinary pain management certification program for veterinary professionals.

In addition to these efforts, IVAPM launched the very first Pain Management Forum earlier this year. VetStem sponsored a dry lab with Dr. Douglas Stramel in which he discussed VetStem Cell Therapy as one of several pain management modalities he employs in his practice.

Resources for Pet Owners

The IVAPM does not solely focus on educating veterinary professionals. Pet owners play a key role in both recognizing and managing their pet’s pain. Thus, the IVAPM has several resources for pet owners as well. Through their website, pet owners can search for Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioners and also find various resources to help determine if a pet is in pain.

Stay tuned for more Pain Awareness themed blogs all month long!

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Aug 5, 2022

Veterinary Care for Retired Police Dogs

Recently, an article was published that described a new bill that was signed into law in Florida. Bill 226 established the Care for Retired Police Dogs program to create a $300,000 recurring funds program under the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to provide subsidized veterinary care for retired law enforcement dogs.

Police dogs are often worked hard and can occasionally become injured on the job. According to the article, “The Care for Retired Police Dogs Program will provide a reimbursement of up to $1,500 of the annual veterinary costs associated with caring for a retired police dog. This includes annual wellness checks, vaccinations, parasite prevention treatments, medications, and emergency care for the animals.”

At VetStem, we have a tender spot for police dogs. We have actually provided cell therapy services for a number of police dogs throughout the years. One common injury among working dogs occurs in the semitendinosus muscle, which is part of the hamstring muscle group. Injury to this muscle can result in a buildup of fibrosis, or scar tissue, which causes the muscle to contract and shorten. This contracture leads to lameness and an abnormal gait in the affected dog.

This condition, known as semitendinosus myopathy, can be career-ending for working dogs. Traditional treatments include rest, medication, rehabilitation, and surgery. Unfortunately, none of these methods have been fully successful, and many dogs do not return to their full activity.

That’s where VetStem comes in! We contributed to a study to evaluate the use of stem cells to treat semitendinosus myopathy and the results were incredibly promising. The study included eight working police K-9s that were diagnosed with semitendinosus myopathy. Each dog was treated with VetStem Cell Therapy and all eight dogs returned to active police work. In addition, each dog’s gait returned to normal.

We recognize the importance of the work that these dogs do, and the fact that many of them risk injury and even put their lives on the line. The new bill in Florida is just a small step to show our gratitude for the sacrifices these hard-working dogs make. At VetStem, we are pleased to contribute what we can to help keep police and other working dogs happy and healthy long into their retirement years.

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Jul 8, 2022

VetStem Cell Therapy for Aquatic Animals

We recently shared information about our work with elephants in this blog. But elephants are not the only exotic animals that VetStem has worked with. We have provided cell therapy services for a number of exotic species including, but not limited to, large cats, bears, rhinos, giraffes, and several aquatic animals as well. Recently, VetStem CEO, Dr. Bob Harman, presented regenerative medicine innovations at an aquatic animal medicine conference.

Aquatic Animal Medicine

The International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine (IAAAM) conference took place virtually over two weeks. Experts in the field gave lectures on various aquatic animal medicine topics including VetStem CEO, Dr. Bob Harman. Dr. Harman presented information about the use of regenerative medicine, particularly VetStem Cell Therapy, in aquatic animals.

VetStem Cell Therapy for Aquatic Animals

VetStem has worked with various exotic animal organizations across the United States to provide stem cell therapy for several species of aquatic animals. We have provided cell therapy services for dolphins, penguins, sea lions, sea turtles, and more. Aquatic animals have received stem cells for various conditions including arthritis, corneal conditions, and acute injuries such as a sea turtle who was injured by a propeller.

Stem Cell Use in Exotic Animal Medicine

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are regenerative cells with numerous mechanisms of action and can be applied in a wide variety of traumatic and developmental diseases. MSCs can differentiate into many tissue types, reduce pain and inflammation, induce repair and regeneration, and stimulate the formation of new blood vessels. MSCs also secrete anti-microbial molecules and have been used to treat several viral diseases including COVID-19 in people.

As leaders in the field of regenerative veterinary medicine, we take our job very seriously when it comes to the research and development of innovative regenerative medicine treatments for animals and diseases that have minimal treatment options. Maintaining the health and well-being of endangered exotic animals is particularly crucial and has become a community effort, bringing together veterinarians, scientists, and those in the animal health field across the globe. We are happy to contribute to the mission and will continue our own research to develop potentially life-saving stem cell treatments for these animals.

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Jun 17, 2022

COVID-19 Vaccines for Zoo Animals

Posted by Bob under COVID-19, Veterinary Medicine

You may remember that some of the first reported incidents of COVID-19 infection in animals were in zoo animals. These animals are at a higher risk of contracting COVID as a result of contact with handlers, veterinary staff, and the visiting public. Fortunately, a COVID vaccine was developed specifically for zoo animals.

COVID-19 Vaccine for Zoo Animals

The vaccine, which was developed by the global animal health company Zoetis, was formulated for animals and donated for emergency use among the great ape population at the San Diego Zoo in January of 2021. This sparked a good deal of media coverage which led to numerous requests for the vaccine from zoos and other animal facilities around the U.S. According to Zoetis, they have now donated a “total of 26,000 doses, to approximately 100 zoos and 20 conservatories, sanctuaries, and other animal organizations located across 41 states and about a dozen countries.”

A COVID vaccine for zoo animals is necessary for many reasons. For one, many zoo animals are endangered in the wild and keeping them healthy is of the utmost importance. Additionally, symptoms of COVID-19 can be difficult to treat in zoo animals and thus, it makes better sense to prevent the disease rather than treat it. The vaccine does not use live or inactivated virus, nor is it an mRNA vaccine. Instead, it is a subunit recombinant vaccine and is administered in two doses several weeks apart.

VetStem’s Work with Zoo Animals

At VetStem, we have worked with several exotic animal organizations, providing stem cell therapy for an array of diseases. We recently shared about our work with elephants suffering from a viral disease known as Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV). EEHV is a lethal viral infection that affects Asian elephants and now, increasingly, African elephants and can cause a highly fatal hemorrhagic disease.

Interestingly, it was actually our human company’s work with a COVID-19 stem cell clinical trial that led to exploring stem cells as a treatment option for EEHV. We have provided stem cell doses to several zoos in the United States who had elephants with EEHV and have gathered some promising data. Stem cells have numerous mechanisms of action, including the secretion of molecules that are anti-viral.

Maintaining the health of zoo animals, particularly those who are endangered, is crucial. Veterinarians and those in the animal health field have taken a collaborative approach, making this important endeavor a community effort. We are happy to contribute to the mission and will continue our own research to develop potentially life-saving stem cell treatments for these animals.

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May 27, 2022

Therapeutic Massage for Arthritis in Pets

As most of you know by now, arthritis is one of the most common diseases that afflicts pets. In fact, according to most estimates, 1 in 5 dogs is affected by osteoarthritis. Additionally, it is estimated that 40-92% of cats are affected by arthritis. There are numerous potential treatment modalities for arthritis including medications, rehabilitation, and even VetStem Cell Therapy. Another emerging treatment option is therapeutic massage.

Complementary Arthritis Treatments

When it comes to treating arthritis, a multimodal approach may be best. For instance, some pets may benefit from treatments such as rehabilitation or acupuncture, in addition to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other pain medications. The goal is for these treatments to complement one another to help make the animal more comfortable. One such treatment that is arguably underutilized is therapeutic massage.

Massage Therapy for Arthritis in Pets

Though it has been used for some time in human medical conditions, massage therapy is still an emerging field in the veterinary world. Unfortunately, studies of effectiveness are severely lacking. That being said, some human data, in addition to anecdotal evidence, suggests that massage therapy may be useful to improve the quality of life in pets suffering from arthritis pain.

Benefits of Massage Therapy for Arthritis in Pets

Massage therapy has multiple benefits that may lead to a reduction in arthritis symptoms. Most notably, massage promotes healthy blood flow to muscles throughout the body. This is particularly helpful to animals that have reduced activity and movement due to arthritis pain. By keeping muscles healthy and reducing atrophy, massage helps to facilitate healthy use of the body by maintaining muscle and joint function for as long as possible.

That being said, this field of therapy is still emerging so you likely won’t find it at every veterinary hospital. Additionally, the laws vary by state regarding who can legally practice massage therapy. As with any new treatment option, it is wise to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian to help make the most informed decisions for your pets.

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Apr 29, 2022

Supporting Veterinary Resilience for World Veterinary Day

Posted by Bob under Veterinary Medicine

April 30th is World Veterinary Day. Taking place each year on the last Saturday of April, World Veterinary Day was created in 2000 by the World Veterinary Association as an annual celebration of the veterinary profession. Each year, there is a new theme. You can read about last year’s theme here. This year, the theme is Strengthening Veterinary Resilience.

Why is Veterinary Resilience Important?

There’s no doubt that veterinary work is very rewarding. From veterinarians to technicians to researchers to administrative staff, those who work in the veterinary field are helping to advocate for the welfare of creatures who do not have a voice yet offer unconditional love. That being said, the work can also be mentally, physically, and emotionally taxing. Burnout and other health issues have risen in recent years and serving as frontline workers during the pandemic presented entirely new challenges.

Veterinary care. Vet doctor and dog Jack Russell Terrier

According to the World Veterinary Association, “Veterinarians, much like their patients, need proper tools and support to maintain their personal health and wellness. Healthy animals require healthy advocates. Resilient veterinarians are better equipped to handle the daily challenges and crises that may occur in their practices.” While many would argue that those in the veterinary field are a very resilient bunch, the WVA claims that veterinary resilience “requires appropriate support by associations, institutions, and governments to ensure adequate education, training, mentorship, and collegiality. It also requires ongoing research to better understand the mental and physical burdens veterinarians face and the opportunities to provide greater support.”

VetStem Fosters Veterinary Resilience

The majority of VetStem employees came to VetStem with prior experience in a veterinary clinic. Collectively, our team has been in this field for a very, very long time. And while we consider ourselves extremely lucky to be in this life-saving field, we also recognize the need for increased resilience support.

In an effort to support our veterinary clients, VetStem offers numerous free services to help them provide the best experience for their patients and clients when it comes to stem cell therapy. Some of these services include patient-specific veterinarian consultations, interactive and non-interactive trainings for veterinarians and their staff, as well as continued research in the field of regenerative veterinary medicine.

Much of our research has focused on utilizing stem cell therapy to treat difficult yet prevalent diseases with limited treatment options. Numerous animals have been treated under VetStem’s clinical research programs and have experienced a better quality of life after treatment. For instance, over 200 cats have received VetStem Cell Therapy for feline renal disease, one of the top causes of sickness and death in cats. Doing the research and collecting the continual data for this clinical research program has enabled us to help veterinarians treat sick cats who may have had no other treatment options.

Thus, while we don’t work directly with animals at VetStem, we do our best to support our veterinary clients in their efforts to provide stem cell therapy to their patients. And we pledge to continue our research so that we can develop additional regenerative medicine treatment options and products for the animals who need them.

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Apr 15, 2022

VetStem Sponsors Veterinary Pain Management Forum

Last week, The International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM) hosted the first Pain Management Forum in Denver, CO. VetStem team members Kristi Hauta, Dr. Amber Vibert, and Dr. Anne Hale attended the conference to provide education on all things regenerative medicine, and to learn more about the most current research in pain and pain management. VetStem also proudly sponsored a dry lab with a long-time VetStem user and current president of the IVAPM, Dr. Douglas Stramel.

VetStem’s Dr. Amber Vibert worked with Dr. Stramel to explain the Platelet Rich Plasma process to dry lab attendees.

The IVAPM seeks to “advocate for best practices in the treatment of animals in pain.” The IVAPM was originally known as the Companion Animal Pain Management Consortium and was co-founded in 2001 by long-time VetStem client and collaborator, Dr. Jamie Gaynor. The Academy provides educational resources including a program to become a Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner (CVPP) as well as online resources for veterinary professionals and animal owners. The IVAPM outreach in the veterinary community also consists of research funding and scholarships to help promote the welfare of animals around the world.

What we found at this intimate conference was a passionate group of people who work tirelessly to provide evidence-based education for veterinary professionals and pet owners so we can become more skilled in recognizing, understanding, and alleviating animal pain. We were privileged to have lectures provided by several experts in this field including multiple members of the IVAPM board of directors.

VetStem’s mission to improve the quality of life of animals and humans starts with understanding, treating, and preventing pain through regenerative medicine. Only through open communication of ideas, research, and collaboration with our colleagues throughout the world can we achieve this goal. Attending the Pain Management Forum and connecting with IVAPM members certainly brought these goals further into fruition.

If you think your pet may be in pain, you can use these online resources to help you learn more: Animal Owners – IVAPM, The Feline Grimace Scale, The Horse Grimace Scale, and Canine and Feline Pain Scales. But as always, your veterinarian is your best resource to assess your pet’s condition. To find out if regenerative medicine can help, click here.

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Mar 18, 2022

VetStem Exhibits at Western Veterinary Conference

Posted by Bob under Veterinary Medicine, VetStem

The VetStem sales and marketing team spent several days last week at a veterinary conference in Las Vegas. The annual Western Veterinary Conference is one of the biggest veterinary industry shows in the nation and VetStem has exhibited at this show for over 15 years.  

We always enjoy getting out in front of our community and meeting both current and potential future clients. These veterinary shows allow us to educate veterinarians and veterinary technicians about VetStem Cell Therapy and how they can implement this therapeutic modality in their practice. Many veterinarians show interest in our clinical research programs, as these conditions tend to have limited treatment options.  

We also love being around our industry colleagues. Veterinary exhibit halls are a great place to look for new ideas and ways in which we can expand VetStem’s product offerings. Plus, there are always several pets roaming the exhibit hall, including our very own Ben! Ben loves meeting new faces in the VetStem booth.  

This year, we did an overhaul of our booth design and offerings. Check out some fun pictures below. 

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Feb 18, 2022

Preventive Care for Your Pet on National Love Your Pet Day

Posted by Bob under Pets, Veterinary Medicine

National Love Your Pet Day is this weekend and what better way to show your pets that you love them than getting them a wellness exam with your family veterinarian? I’m sure that’s exactly how you and your pet want to celebrate, right? All kidding aside, I know that vet visits aren’t a walk in the park for some pets, but scheduling yearly or better yet, twice yearly, wellness exams for your furry (or scaly, or feathered, or shelled) family members is one of the most loving things you can do for them.

Like the adage says, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Yearly or twice-yearly veterinary examinations and routine diagnostic testing enables your pet’s doctor to detect problems early on so hopefully they don’t become chronic illnesses later. Like your family physician, your veterinarian underwent years of training to detect subtle changes in your pet that you may not recognize, and then make recommendations for treatment or further investigation. Additionally, the wellness appointment gives you the opportunity to have a meaningful conversation with your veterinarian about multiple topics or points of concern, while an illness or injury appointment is usually focused around one particular problem.

Preventive health care visits for your pet should include a complete medical history, physical exam, recommendations for appropriate flea/tick/internal parasite control and vaccinations that are tailored to your pets’ needs. Dental care, nutrition, weight control, exercise/mobility, pain assessment, reproductive health (i.e. spay/neuter or breeding status), pet identification (i.e. microchip), and pet health insurance should also be topics that are covered during the visit.

And although you may think that once or twice-yearly wellness exams are a bit too frequent, consider this: cats and dogs age at a rate that is MUCH faster than you do so a yearly exam for them is equal to an exam every several years for you. The exact rate of pet aging depends on several factors including their species, size/breed, their environment, and their access to preventive care. Click here for the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) article on how to approximate your dog’s age in human years. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) also has some great information found here on defining at what age cats and dogs are considered “senior” and how to keep them healthy and happy as they get older.

So, make that appointment and show them you love them with the gift of health. Ok, and maybe a special treat too!

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Dec 10, 2021

Dietary Supplements for Pets and How to Choose Them Wisely

Posted by Bob under Pets, Veterinary Medicine

We have a special guest blog this week from VetStem veterinarian, Dr. Amber Vibert. Dr. Vibert discusses dietary supplements for animals and how you can educate yourself to pick the best supplements for your pets. Check it out below.

In 2020, the global value of the human dietary supplement industry was estimated at $170.4 billion with the US market making up $46 billion of that value. Pet markets often follow closely behind the trends of human markets, so it’s no surprise that US pet owners spent $800 million on pet supplements in 2020 (a 21% increase in sales from 2019). It’s a booming industry but it can also be very confusing for pet parents when it comes to not only understanding what dietary supplements are (and what they are not) but also choosing ones that are safe and effective. We are bombarded every day with the marketing of pet products, and unfortunately, when it comes to supplements, good marketing tactics often win over good science.

First, dietary supplements are just that, supplemental. Meaning, that as long as your pet is eating a nutritionally balanced diet, and is overall healthy, there is no need to supplement their diet with vitamins, minerals, herbs, or system-supportive products (e.g., joint support, skin support). Not only is there not a need to supplement but doing so can actually be harmful. However, if your pet has a medical condition, supplements may be beneficial.

Being that dietary supplements, sometimes referred to as “nutraceuticals”, are not considered to be food, food additives, or drugs, they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Meaning there is no review of product safety, efficacy, or quality control (i.e., making sure each and every pill in every single bottle contains what the label says it contains). One might think that just requiring FDA approval for supplements would un-muddy the waters and make the world a safer place. However, the process for each new drug application can take years for approval and costs thousands to millions of dollars for the manufacturers which can increase the cost to the consumer. The FDA only gets involved if there is proof that a dietary supplement is unsafe. And I’m just talking about human supplements- pet-specific supplements receive even less governance. So, educating yourself is the best way to find safe and effective products.

The best way to educate yourself about pet supplements is to start with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian has the education and training to help you decide if your pet would benefit from a supplement and which supplements are backed by proven safety and efficacy studies. There is surprisingly little proven data out there for humans or animals regarding the effectiveness of most nutraceuticals. Your veterinarian can also tell you whether a supplement could negatively interact with other medications that your pet is taking. Just because a product is marketed as “natural” doesn’t mean it is safe for your pet.

After speaking with your veterinarian, it’s a good idea to do some of your own homework as well so you can continue to have a well-informed dialogue about keeping your pet safe, happy, and healthy. Click here to read a great article from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) on pet supplements and links below to the US Pharmacopeia (USP) and Consumerlab.com for information about product testing for verification of safety and quality control of specific products.

USP Verification Services | USP

Independent Tests and Reviews of Vitamin, Mineral, and Herbal Supplements | ConsumerLab.com

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