Jul 14, 2023

VetStem CEO Featured on Fuzzybutts and Friends Podcast

Posted by Bob under Stem Cells, VetStem Cell Therapy

VetStem founder and CEO, Dr. Bob Harman, recently joined Fuzzybutts and Friends on a podcast to discuss VetStem Cell Therapy and the science of stem cells. Joining him is Dr. Angie Zinkus, veterinarian and VetStem enthusiast at Germantown Parkway Animal Hospital. This podcast really gets down to the nitty gritty about stem cells and the various diseases that have been treated with VetStem Cell Therapy. Some of the big questions that are addressed are:

What are stem cells? Where do they come from? What are the mechanisms of action/how do they work? What CAN’T be treated with stem cells? And more!! You don’t want to miss this one!

Click the image below to check out the podcast:

Jul 7, 2023

What Are Stem Cells and Where Do They Come From?

Posted by Bob under Stem Cells

All of us have heard the term “stem cells” and most of us have some basic understanding of what that means. Stem cells are often referred to as the building blocks of life. Thus, when it comes to stem cells, many people think of embryonic stem cells. But when we talk about VetStem Cell Therapy, we’re actually talking about adult stem cells.

Adult Stem Cells vs. Embryonic Stem Cells

There are several differences between embryonic and adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells serve one purpose: to form whole organs and organisms. They are truly the “building blocks of life.” Embryonic stem cells exist only at the earliest stages of development, and they are pluripotent, meaning they can differentiate into any cell type.

Adult stem cells on the other hand include multiple types of stem cells that are present in almost all tissues of the adult body. They can be multipotent or unipotent, meaning they can only differentiate into one type of cell. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent adult stem cells that have demonstrated the ability to differentiate into multiple cell types including tendon, ligament, bone, cartilage, cardiac, nerve, muscle, blood vessels, fat, and liver tissue.

Adult Stem Cells Mechanisms of Action

Adult stem cells are utilized by the body to replenish dying cells and to repair damaged tissues. This discovery led to multiple studies to help determine the full therapeutic benefits of adult stem cells. VetStem uses adult MSCs in an effort to repair damaged tissues in animals with various injuries and diseases. But this is not the only mechanism of action that stem cells utilize in the healing process. Stem cells have also been shown to down-regulate inflammation, reduce pain, and modulate the immune system. All of these mechanisms, and more that we’re still learning about, make stem cell therapy a multimodal approach to healing.

Ideal Source of Adult Stem Cells

When used for VetStem Cell Therapy, adult MSCs are extracted from fat tissue, one of the richest sources of MSCs in the body. Fat tissue is also relatively easy to collect during a simple anesthetic procedure similar to a spay. Most animals recover quickly and uneventfully from the procedure, compared to more painful and invasive stem cell collection techniques. Additionally, fat is generally abundant in the body, even in skinny animals, making it an ideal source of stem cells.

If you think your pet may benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy, contact us to receive a list of providers in your area.  

Jun 23, 2023

Take Your Dog to Work Day at VetStem

Posted by Bob under Pets, VetStem

Today is Take Your Dog to Work Day and VetStem is no stranger to having our furry, four-legged companions in the office! On any given day, there may be a handful of dogs lounging around the office, offering tail wags, and eagerly requesting ear scratches from passers-by. And we wouldn’t have it any other way!

We of course love the extra puppy snuggles, but there are additional benefits to bringing your dog to work. According to one study, there is a potential correlation between bringing your dog to work and a reduction in stress levels. Scientists found that people who took their dogs to work reported lower stress throughout the day than employees without pets or those who had pets but didn’t take them to work.

Another study found that 90 percent of employees in pet friendly workplaces feel highly connected to their company’s mission, fully engaged with their work, and willing to recommend their employer to others. Additionally, more than three times as many employees at pet friendly workplaces report a positive working relationship with their boss and co-workers and are more likely to stay with a company long term. And the benefits don’t end there! Check out more details of the study here.

We feel super fortunate to work in a pet friendly office, especially since we are in the veterinary field and are all passionate animal lovers! Here are just a few pictures of our dogs hanging around the VetStem office.

Jun 16, 2023

VetStem Cell Therapy for Fragmented Coronoid Process

As you probably know, much of the VetStem blog is spent discussing the treatment of arthritis with stem cells. We talk about things like joint dysplasia and cruciate ligament tears as catalysts for the development of arthritis. In today’s blog, we are discussing Fragmented Coronoid Process, or FCP, a developmental defect that causes arthritis in the elbows.

Nikolai Augustus, a Labrador retriever, was 2 years old when he began limping. X-rays revealed he had broken bone fragments in both of his elbows as a result of fragmented coronoid process, or FCP. FCP is one of the main diseases associated with elbow dysplasia. It is a developmental defect of the two small bony protrusions on the end of the ulna, known as the coronoid processes, within the elbow joint. In this condition, one of the bony protrusions develops a fissure or crack and separates from the ulna. FCP may result in instability and pain as well as decreased mobility and swelling.

The treatment of choice for FCP is surgical removal of the bone fragments and any abnormal cartilage. This procedure can be performed arthroscopically by an orthopedic surgeon, which results in a smaller incision and less damage to the supporting elbow structures. In all cases however, regardless of surgical repair, the patient will develop some degree of arthritis. That’s where VetStem comes in!


Niko’s veterinarian recommended arthroscopy in addition to treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy. Stem cells are regenerative cells that can differentiate into many tissue types and have demonstrated the ability to reduce pain and inflammation, help to restore range of motion, and stimulate regeneration of tendon, ligament, and joint tissues. By using VetStem Cell Therapy in conjunction with surgery, Niko’s vet hoped to delay the progression and reduce the severity of degenerative joint disease in his elbows.

To begin the process, Niko’s vet collected fat tissue from his abdomen in a minimally invasive anesthetic procedure. The fat was aseptically packaged and shipped to the VetStem processing laboratory in Poway, California. Lab technicians processed the fat to extract and concentrate the stem and regenerative cells contained therein. The cells were divided into doses, and two injectable doses were shipped to Niko’s vet for treatment. Approximately 48 hours after the initial fat collection procedure, Niko received one dose of his own stem cells into each elbow.

According to Niko’s owner, he had a great response to the treatment. His owner stated, “One year after surgery and stem cell therapy and Niko is running and playing with the energy of a 3-year-old. We are thankful our vet recommended stem cell therapy for Niko and that he has the bank of stem cells to help treat Niko in the future.”

In addition to the two stem cell doses that were shipped for immediate treatment, several doses of Niko’s stem cells were put into cryopreservation. This is particularly valuable for a patient like Niko who will never have perfect, arthritis-free elbows. In fact, approximately 15 months after his initial treatment, Niko received a follow up treatment identical to his first using some of his banked stem cell doses. Niko’s additional cells will remain in cryopreservation and can be accessed for treatment as needed for the remainder of his life.

If you think your pet may benefit from treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy, contact us to receive a list of providers in your area.

Jun 9, 2023

VetStem Pet Appreciation Week!

Posted by Bob under Pets, VetStem

As Pet Appreciation Week wraps up, we just wanted to share appreciation for some of the VetStem pack! These critters bring us so much joy and so many laughs!

Thank you Mick for being a great hiking/camping buddy!

Thank you Scarf for the constant laughs.

Thank you Willow for being so loyal.

Thank you Streaker for the best cuddles.

Thank you Darby for providing constant entertainment!

Thank you Ali’i for the best snuggles.

Thank you Wesley for constantly making us laugh.

Thank you Udon for being a yes noodle instead of a nope rope!

Jun 2, 2023

VetStem Cell Therapy for Dog with Arthritis and Torn Ligament

Yesterday, June 1st, was International Sheltie Day. To celebrate, we have a blog for you all about Lady, a Sheltie who received VetStem Cell Therapy for arthritis and a cruciate ligament tear.

Lady suffered with arthritis since she was two years old for which she received various medications at different times. When she was eight years old, she tore the cruciate ligament in her left knee. Though her injury required surgical repair, her veterinarian, Dr. Jeff Christiansen of Superior Veterinary Surgical Solutions, recommended treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy in addition to surgery.


During her knee surgery, Dr. Christiansen collected a sample of fat tissue from her abdomen. The tissue was sent to the VetStem laboratory where it was processed to extract and concentrate the stem and regenerative cells contained therein. Five stem cells doses were prepared and shipped to Dr. Christiansen while the rest of Lady’s stem cells were put into cryopreservation for future use.

In addition to her injured knee, Dr. Christiansen planned to treat Lady’s arthritic joints. Approximately 48 hours after her surgery, Lady received a dose of her own stem cells into her left knee, left hip, and both carpi (wrists), as well as an intravenous dose.

Lady’s owner was very happy with the results of her treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy. She stated, “Prior to the stem cell treatments, Lady had a hard time going from a sit-to-stand position and would go outside for no more than 10 minutes at a time. Now she goes on 30-50 minute walks. She is far more playful than she was before the stem cell treatment. The stem cell treatment has been life changing for my fur baby. I would highly recommend stem cell therapy!”

Lady’s initial treatment was back in 2015. In the following years, she received additional treatments utilizing her stored stem cells to help her maintain a good quality of life. She initially received one intravenous dose roughly every 9-13 months. Approximately two years after her last intravenous dose, she received a round of joint injections in addition to an intravenous dose.

This treatment schedule is not uncommon for a dog with arthritis. Because arthritis is a degenerative disease, stem cells can slow the progression of the disease but ultimately will not cure the condition. This is important to note because many pets will require repeat or routine treatments as they continue to age. Fortunately, VetStem has the ability to both store stem cells and produce more stem cells, should your pet require them in the future. This means that just one fat collection can provide a lifetime supply of stem cells for your pet. Stem cells have been shown to reduce inflammation and pain and to contribute to the regeneration of damaged tissues such as cartilage and tendon/ligament. Interested in VetStem Cell Therapy for your pet? Speak to your veterinarian or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers near you.

May 26, 2023

VetStem Cell Therapy Helps Dog with Hip Arthritis

All month long we’ve been discussing arthritis in honor of Arthritis Awareness Month. We’ve covered arthritis in cats and dogs as well as using exercise to manage your pet’s arthritis. Another tool to help reduce symptoms of arthritis and actually help to repair damaged cartilage tissue is VetStem Cell Therapy. This week, to wrap up our month of Arthritis Awareness blogs, we are sharing Gracie’s stem cell success story.

Gracie at the dog park

Gracie, a spirited Golden Retriever, was two years old when she suddenly could not stand up. Prior to this, her personality had changed as well. She went from being a rambunctious, active pup to very calm. It turns out, she was struggling with pain. Her owners immediately took her to the veterinarian where it was determined she has a bad case of bilateral hip dysplasia resulting in osteoarthritis. Hip dysplasia is a deformity of the ball and socket hip joint that occurs during growth. The deformity results in joint laxity (looseness) and eventually leads to osteoarthritis (OA). OA is a painful condition that can greatly reduce a dog’s quality of life.

Fortunately for Gracie, her veterinarian works with VetStem proponent Dr. Angie Zinkus at Germantown Parkway Animal Hospital. Dr. Zinkus has treated multiple arthritic patients with VetStem Cell Therapy and agreed Gracie was a good candidate for the procedure. In this particular case, Dr. Zinkus mentored Dr. Susannah Mays to familiarize her with the VetStem process.

First, Dr. Mays collected fat tissue from Gracie’s abdomen during a minimally invasive anesthetic procedure. The fat was aseptically packaged and shipped to the VetStem processing laboratory in Poway, California. Lab technicians processed the fat to extract and concentrate the stem and regenerative cells contained therein.

Gracie’s cells were divided into doses and a total of nine stem cell injections were shipped to her veterinarian for treatment while the rest were put into cryostorage. Approximately 48 hours after the initial fat collection procedure, Gracie received injections of her own stem cells in her hips, knees, elbows, shoulders, as well as an intravenous injection. According to Dr. Zinkus, though Gracie’s knees, elbows, and shoulders did not show signs of arthritis, she prefers to treat each joint as a preventative measure to help protect against the development of future osteoarthritis.

In addition to stem cell therapy, Gracie received platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections into her joints. PRP and stem cell therapy work synergistically. Concentrated platelets accelerate internal healing processes by attracting stem cells, supporting an anti-inflammatory environment, and stimulating local tissue repair processes.

According to Gracie’s owner, the stem cell and PRP treatment was a huge success! Her owner noted that it only took a few months before they noticed a vast improvement stating, “Gracie is back to her silly self, running as fast as she can to chase our backyard squirrels!! Thank you, VetStem and Dr. Zinkus for this wonderful solution to Gracie’s painful hips.”

Gracie’s story is just one of many that we have received from pet parents. As we discussed in a recent blog, Osteoarthritis is one of the most common diseases in dogs and pain associated with osteoarthritis can greatly reduce a dog’s quality of life. But VetStem Cell Therapy can help! According to surveys answered by owners and veterinarians, greater than 80% of dogs showed an improved quality of life after receiving VetStem Cell Therapy for osteoarthritis.

Curious if your dog may benefit from treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy? Speak to your veterinarian or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers near you.

May 19, 2023

Obesity and Exercise: Managing Arthritis in Pets

As you probably know, May is Arthritis Awareness Month, and we are discussing all things arthritis in pets in the VetStem blog. In last week’s blog, we covered arthritis in cats. This week we are discussing obesity and exercise and how these two things can help you manage your pet’s arthritis.

A few weeks ago, we mentioned that obesity or excess weight can cause or exacerbate arthritis in pets. Excess weight puts more stress on the joints and thereby causes them to break down faster. Unfortunately, several reports in recent years have indicated that obesity in pets is on the rise. Thus, osteoarthritis rates are also on the rise. It is estimated that approximately 25-30% of the general canine population in North America are obese, making it the most common preventable disease in dogs. Unsurprisingly, approximately 20% of all dogs are affected by OA, making it the most common chronic disease in dogs. Are you picking up on a pattern?

Fortunately, there is something that can help control weight AND arthritis symptoms: Exercise! That’s right, exercise, especially low- to moderate-impact exercise can not only help keep your pet in shape, it can also help to reduce the symptoms or delay the onset of arthritis.

Exercise such as walking and light hiking can help to maintain or reduce your dog’s weight, thus putting less stress on their joints. Additionally, routine exercise can help to strengthen the muscles and supporting soft tissue structures around the joints, promoting increased joint stability. It can also increase joint fluid circulation, which is beneficial to maintaining healthy joint cartilage.

While exercising your pet has many benefits, it’s important to speak to your veterinarian first, if you have concerns about your pet’s abilities. Generally speaking, regular, moderate exercise is favored over intermittent, intense exercise. According to Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine, “Regular physical activity is paramount in the treatment of osteoarthritis both in humans and animals. A lifestyle of regular activity that is moderated away from intermittent extremes of exercise (such as long hikes on the weekends) and activities to which the pet is not conditioned is essential. Ideally, multiple shorter walks are better than one long one. The same activity every day (or slightly increasing if tolerated) is ideal.”

May 12, 2023

Arthritis Awareness Month: Arthritis in Cats

Posted by Bob under Cat Arthritis, Cats

As we shared in last week’s blog, May is Arthritis Awareness Month. We spend a lot of time talking about arthritis in dogs but it’s important to remember that cats get arthritis too! And because cats are masters at hiding their pain, and their symptoms present differently, sometimes it’s hard to know when our cats have arthritis.

Arthritis in Cats

It may surprise you to learn that a high percentage of cats will get or already have osteoarthritis (OA). According to one study, 91% of cats between 6 months and 20 years old have OA in at least one joint, as proven by X-rays. That being said, sometimes cats with OA have no visible changes on the X-rays. This is one of several reasons why osteoarthritis in cats can be difficult to detect and diagnose.

Symptoms of Arthritis in Cats

For years, osteoarthritis in cats has been underdiagnosed when compared to dogs. One reason for this is that cats with OA present with different symptoms than what we see in dogs. Because of their smaller size and natural agility, cats tend to tolerate bone and joint problems better than dogs. But there are specific symptoms to watch out for.

Unlike dogs, cats with pain from arthritis do not typically present with lameness and limping. Instead, they will be less willing to jump and/or have shorter jumps. You may also notice a loss of appetite and weight loss, depression or a change in general attitude, poor grooming habits, and urination or defecation outside the litter box.

Checklist to Screen for Early Signs of Arthritis in Cats

Fortunately, there are some newer tools available to help cat owners and veterinarians determine if a cat may have OA. One such tool is a checklist developed by researchers designed to help determine if a cat is suffering from pain associated with OA. The publication analyzed and compiled data from previously conducted studies to develop a short checklist that veterinarians can use to help detect pain associated with OA. The checklist may also be beneficial for owners who are concerned their cat may have OA.

The compiled data allowed researchers to pare down longer diagnostic questionnaires into six short questions:

  1. Does your cat jump up normally?
  2. Does your cat jump down normally?
  3. Does your cat climb up stairs or steps normally?
  4. Does your cat climb down stairs or steps normally?
  5. Does your cat run normally?
  6. Does your cat chase moving objects (toys, prey, etc.)

Treatment for Cats with Arthritis
Unfortunately, there are fewer treatment options for cats with osteoarthritis compared to dogs. Unlike dogs, cats do not tolerate nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other pain medications very well. While there are some NSAIDs approved for short-term post-operative use in cats, there are currently no veterinary NSAIDs approved for safe, long-term use to control osteoarthritis pain in cats according to the FDA.

VetStem Cell Therapy for Arthritis in Cats
VetStem Cell Therapy is a potential treatment option for osteoarthritis in cats, dogs, and horses. It can be particularly beneficial for cats, given that effective treatment options to control osteoarthritis pain are extremely limited. Stem cells have shown the ability to directly modulate pain and down-regulate inflammation. Additionally, stem cells can induce repair and stimulate regeneration of cartilage and other joint tissues.

If you think your cat may benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy, speak to your veterinarian or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area.

May 5, 2023

May is Arthritis Awareness Month

Posted by Bob under Cat Arthritis, Dog Arthritis

May is Arthritis Awareness Month for pets (and people, too!). It is estimated that one in five dogs is affected by osteoarthritis (OA). Additionally, four to nine out of ten cats experience pain from OA. According to research conducted by Banfield in 2019, OA has been on the rise over the past ten years with a 66% increase in dogs and a150% increase in cats.

What Causes Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease in which the cartilage within a joint breaks down, causing changes in the surrounding bone. Common symptoms of OA include pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. In dogs, the majority of OA cases stem from a developmental orthopedic disease such as joint dysplasia. It can also develop as a result of an injury such as a cruciate ligament tear.

Another factor that contributes to the formation or worsening of OA is weight. Excess weight puts more stress on a pet’s joints and thereby increases the risk of developing OA. Unfortunately, obesity in pets is on the rise and, according to Banfield’s research, one out of three cats and dogs in the U.S. are overweight. Thus, it makes sense that osteoarthritis in pets is also on the rise.

Osteoarthritis Treatments

While osteoarthritis can be a debilitating condition that severely affects a pet’s quality of life, there are several treatment options available. Like people, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and other pain medications are commonly used in animals to treat pain from OA. Rehabilitation and exercise can also be effective at mitigating some of the major symptoms of OA and can help to strengthen the muscles that support a pet’s joints.

VetStem Cell Therapy has been used on thousands of patients to treat osteoarthritis. In addition to reducing pain and inflammation, stem cells can actually help to regenerate damaged joint tissues, leading to increased comfort and mobility. After receiving stem cell therapy, many pets have been able to reduce or discontinue their use of NSAIDs, which can have negative effects on major organs after prolonged use.

If you think your pet may benefit from treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy, speak to your veterinarian or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers near you.