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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Apr 8, 2022

The Many Benefits of Walking your Dog

April 6th was National Walking Day. Regular walks can have several health benefits for both people and our dogs! In this blog, we will look at the potential benefits that come with taking your dog on regular walks.

Walking to Improve Joint Health

Walking is a relatively easy and low-impact exercise that has been shown to reduce symptoms related to osteoarthritis. Regular walks can help you lose or maintain weight, thereby causing less stress on the joints. It can also lead to increased muscle mass, which shifts the pressure and weight from your joints to your muscles. In addition, it increases joint fluid circulation which is beneficial to maintaining healthy joint cartilage.

Since 1 in 5 dogs is diagnosed with osteoarthritis, it is important to take care of their joint health from an early age. Like in people, walking can help to reduce the symptoms or delay the onset of osteoarthritis in dogs. And as a low-impact activity, walking puts minimal stress on the body, thereby reducing the risk of injury.

Additional Benefits of Walking

We mentioned above that regular walks can help your dog lose or maintain an ideal weight. While this is of course good for their joints, it is also beneficial to their overall health. Unfortunately, obesity has become a major health issue in pets. Obesity in dogs can lead to several diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and several types of cancer. By helping your dog achieve and maintain an ideal weight, you are potentially helping them live longer.

Additionally, regular walks can help to regulate your dog’s digestive and urinary systems. Routine walks outside can help keep your dog “regular” and prevent constipation while regular emptying of the bladder can help reduce the risk of bladder infections.

Lastly, regular walks outside with your dog can be beneficial for your dog’s mental and emotional health. Walking exercises the mind as well as the body. Allowing your dog to explore and smell different scents provides mental stimulation. And by giving them something constructive to do, such as walking, you may prevent them from doing something destructive, like chewing on your favorite pair of shoes.

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Apr 1, 2022

VetStem Reaches New Stem Cell Processing Milestone

As leaders in the field of regenerative veterinary medicine, we are proud to announce that we have reached a new stem cell processing milestone. VetStem has processed over 15,000 patient samples resulting in over 35,000 stem cell treatments for animals across the United States and Canada. Over 2,200 veterinarians have utilized VetStem Cell Therapy processing services for their patients.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz treats her patient, Nikita, with an IV dose of her own stem cells.

The majority of these treatments have been for orthopedic conditions such as osteoarthritis as well as injured tendons and ligaments in dogs, cats, and horses. We have also provided cell therapy services for patients with alternate conditions such as renal disease, inflammatory bowel disease, gingivostomatitis, spinal conditions, and more as part of our clinical research programs.

While most know that we primarily work with domestic animals, we also work with multiple exotic animal organizations and their programs to provide stem cell therapy for several exotic species. To date, nearly 200 exotic animals have been treated. Those animals include elephants, cheetahs, rhinos, several species of bears, giraffes, penguins, dolphins and more.

We are very proud to be leaders in this field of cutting-edge medicine. And we look forward to what the future holds! That being said, we wouldn’t be where we are without all of YOU, our pet owners and veterinary clients, who have trusted VetStem to handle your pets’ and patients’ stem cells over the past nearly two decades. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

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Mar 25, 2022

The VetStem Canine StemInsure

Posted by Bob under Dog Stem Cells, StemInsure, VetStem

March 23rd was National Puppy Day. To help you celebrate, we thought we would share how puppies can benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy. That’s right, stem cell therapy is not just for older or injured dogs, it can help puppies too!

VetStem StemInsure: The Stem Cell Insurance

VetStem offers a service called StemInsure. 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. Hence why we like to think of it as stem cell “insurance.” While many owners take advantage of this service for their young, healthy dogs, older dogs have benefitted from StemInsure as well.

What is the StemInsure Process?

The StemInsure process is similar to our standard stem cell process where we extract stem cells out of a small amount of fat from your furry friend. This small sample of cells can be stored for the lifetime of your dog and can be used to culture, or grow, therapeutic stem cell doses should your dog become sick or injured later in life. While many dogs can benefit from StemInsure, this process is ideal for large breed puppies and other breeds that are considered high risk for developing orthopedic diseases as they age.

Benefits of StemInsure

StemInsure comes with several advantages. First, the fat tissue can be collected in conjunction with an already scheduled, routine procedure such as a spay or neuter. While performing the routine procedure, your veterinarian will simply collect a small amount of fat from your dog and send it to our laboratory to be processed. If your dog requires stem cell therapy in the future, he/she won’t need to go through an additional fat collection procedure.

Another benefit of StemInsure is the price. The StemInsure process costs considerably less than our standard process. Because there are no therapeutic doses being sent for immediate treatment, the stem cell processing is much less intensive. Additionally, StemInsure cell banking is a bit cheaper than standard stem cell banking.

To find a VetStem credentialed veterinarian near you, 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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Mar 11, 2022

VetStem Cell Therapy in Dog with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

It happens occasionally that a pet is treated with VetStem Cell Therapy for one condition, such as osteoarthritis, but the owners notice that a separate condition improves as a result of the therapy. That was the case with Finn, a German Shepherd who is owned by Dr. Lesley Gonzales of Gruda Veterinary Hospital.

Finn was adopted as an adult after he was found in the desert of Yuma, AZ. Thus, nothing was known about his previous medical history. From the get-go, he experienced gastrointestinal issues including chronic diarrhea, intermittent vomiting, and difficulty gaining and maintaining weight. After multiple tests ruled out infectious diseases, his veterinarian mom put him on a strict limited-ingredient diet, which helped to somewhat improve his symptoms but not entirely.

Finn

Then, in 2020, Finn partially tore his cruciate ligament. Due to his gastrointestinal issues, Finn was extremely limited on what medication he could take to help control his inflammation and pain. Thus, Dr. Gonzales decided to treat his knee with VetStem Cell Therapy. When she collected a sample of his abdominal fat for stem cell processing, she also took biopsies of his intestines, which allowed her to officially diagnose him with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

For his initial stem cell treatment, Finn received one dose of his own stem cells into his injured knee. He also received an intravenous dose. Stem cells have demonstrated the ability to home, or migrate, to areas of inflammation. Thus, we can assume that, when given intravenously, the stem cells would migrate to his knee and/or other areas that may have been inflamed. Within two weeks, Finn was noticeably more comfortable. His pain and lameness were much improved.

Approximately six weeks after his initial treatment, Dr. Gonzales noticed that Finn’s intestinal symptoms had also improved. According to Dr. Gonzales, his diarrhea resolved completely, and he was finally able to reach his ideal body weight. She also noticed improvements in his blood parameters.

Dr. Gonzales treated Finn with another dose of IV stem cells, this time specifically for IBD, approximately six months after his first treatment. She gave him a third IV dose approximately five months after his second. Finn has since experienced sustained control of his symptoms, he has maintained an ideal body weight, and he is now able to tolerate a greater variety of food ingredients without them upsetting his stomach.

IBD can be a frustrating disease. A definitive diagnosis can be time-consuming and costly, traditional treatments are life-long and can be complex, and the animal often continues to experience symptoms of the disease. Several dogs and cats have received VetStem Cell Therapy for IBD and have experienced an improvement in symptoms. Stem cells have shown to down-regulate inflammation, modulate the immune system, and repair damaged tissue, all of which can contribute to healing inflamed and diseased intestines. If your pet has IBD, speak to your veterinarian about the possibility of treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy. Or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers near you.

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Mar 4, 2022

VetStem Cell Therapy for Elephant Viral Disease

Posted by Bob under VetStem Cell Therapy

Recently, VetStem CEO and founder, Dr. Bob Harman, was invited to present data at a global symposium for a deadly elephant virus 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.

The symposium was a three-day virtual event put on by the North American EEHV Advisory Group. It is a meeting where top researchers, veterinarians, and elephant husbandry colleagues from across the globe get together to present case reports, research findings, vaccine research, and treatment options. The EEHV Advisory Group aims to decrease elephant sickness and death due to EEHV and to provide “peer-reviewed, accurate information that reflects current thinking on the research and management of EEHV in both wild and captive elephants globally.”

Dr. Harman was invited to speak about the use of VetStem Cell Therapy in elephants afflicted with EEHV. VetStem has provided stem cell doses to several zoos in the United States who had elephants with EEHV and has gathered some promising data. While it is still very early, we are optimistic that stem cell therapy may be a viable treatment option for elephants with EEHV. Stem cells have numerous mechanisms of action, including the secretion of molecules that are anti-viral. In this limited set of elephants with severe EEHV, the stem cells seemed to be very effective though much research is still needed to verify the proper dose and timing of this novel therapy.

Interestingly enough, the idea to treat EEHV with stem cells came from our human clinical trial for COVID-19. As you may know, our human company, Personalized Stem Cells, developed and secured FDA approval for a stem cell clinical trial to treat COVID-19. The initial Phase 1 clinical trial, which was licensed to and conducted by Sorrento Therapeutics, had an extremely positive safety and efficacy profile and resulted in multiple ongoing Phase 2 clinical trials.

VetStem invites inquiries from public and private zoos across the United States who have questions or interest in participating in this novel stem cell EEHV therapy development with VetStem’s veterinary research team. Contact VetStem directly here.

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Feb 25, 2022

VetStem Helps Dog with Partial Cruciate Ligament Tear

Unfortunately, it’s not an uncommon story. A dog is running and playing and suddenly starts limping or holding one of their back legs up as if hurt. Usually, a trip to the veterinarian is in order. That’s exactly what happened to Belle, a mixed-breed dog, who was approximately 9 years old when she injured her knee. A trip to her veterinarian revealed that she had partially torn her cruciate ligament and also had osteoarthritis in her left knee.

Cruciate Ligament Injuries in Dogs

Cruciate ligament rupture is one of the most common reasons for hind limb lameness, pain, and subsequent knee arthritis in dogs. Additionally, according to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, 40-60% of dogs who injure one cruciate ligament will go on to injure the other cruciate ligament in the future. While there are multiple treatment options available, both surgical and non-surgical, treatment with stem cells may accelerate and improve healing within the joint.

VetStem Cell Therapy for Partial Cruciate Ligament Tears

Though full cruciate ligament tears often require surgical repair, partial tears can sometimes be treated successfully without surgery. Stem cells are regenerative cells that can differentiate into many tissue types, reduce pain and inflammation, help to restore range of motion, and stimulate regeneration of tendon, ligament, and joint tissues. Many dogs have received VetStem Cell Therapy for partial cruciate ligament tears and have experienced a better quality of life. Thus, Belle’s veterinarian, Dr. Jennifer Tate of Timberstone Vet, recommended treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy.

Belle Receives Treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy

Belle

To begin the process, Dr. Tate collected fat tissue from Belle’s abdomen during a minimally invasive anesthetic procedure. The fat tissue was shipped to the VetStem laboratory where lab technicians extracted and concentrated Belle’s stem and regenerative cells. Two stem cell injections were shipped to Dr. Tate for treatment while the rest were put into cryostorage. Approximately 48 hours after the initial fat collection procedure, Belle received one stem cell injection into her affected knee as well as one intravenous injection.

According to her owner, Belle had a great response to treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy. Her owner stated, “Choosing to do stem cell therapy for Belle was the best choice we could’ve made. Within a few months of treatment and recovery, she was back to her old self running and playing and patrolling her kingdom.” Approximately one year later, Belle received a similar stem cell treatment for her opposite knee. Using some of her stored stem cell doses from the initial procedure, Belle received one dose into her right knee and one intravenous dose. She recovered well from that procedure and, according to her owner, is a happy girl with great mobility.

If your dog has an injured cruciate ligament, speak with your veterinarian about the possibility of treating with VetStem Cell Therapy. Or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area.

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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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Feb 11, 2022

National Cat Health Month: Knowing the Signs of Sickness in Cats

Posted by Bob under Cat Ownership, Cats

February is National Cat Health Month. This month encourages cat owners to place extra focus on their cat’s physical and emotional well-being. It can be beneficial for cat owners to educate themselves on the signs of unhealthy behavior and illness in cats, since most cats are masters at hiding their pain or sickness.

Veterinary Care for Cats

Several studies in the last decade have demonstrated that as many as 50% or more of cat owners do not take their cat to the vet regularly. According to one study, some of the reasons owners cited for not taking their cat to the vet include worrying their cat will have an unpleasant experience at the vet, seeing cats as self-sufficient and requiring minimal attention, believing their cat was in excellent health and was never sick or injured, and believing an indoor-only cat is not susceptible to diseases. But as we know, cats can be masters at hiding their pain. So, while you may think they are perfectly healthy, there can be subtle signs of sickness or pain that are easy to miss if you’re not looking closely.

Signs of Sickness and Pain in Cats

As a cat owner, it’s important to educate yourself about the signs of potential sickness or pain in cats. Some of the more obvious signs include vomiting, diarrhea, limping, discharge from eyes or nose, and changes in appetite. But there are other subtle signs you can look for to help you determine if your cat is not feeling well. One sign is a change in activity level or social interaction. A sick cat may play less or may not jump as high, or they may start hiding more. Sick cats may also groom themselves less or, alternatively, excessively groom themselves. Another potential sign of illness in cats is a change in litterbox habits. Cats that are not feeling well may start to have accidents outside of their litterbox or you may notice decreased or increased urine output. A more detailed description of potential signs of sickness in cats can be found here.

What to Do if You Notice a Problem

If you notice any of the above signs and are concerned that your cat may not be feeling well, a veterinary visit may be in order. An examination and routine tests can help determine if your cat may be suffering from an illness or disease. And since February is National Cat Health Month, there’s no better time to pay extra attention to your cat!

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