Sep 30, 2022

The Use of VetStem Cell Therapy in Veterinary Pain Practice

Welcome to the final week of Animal Pain Awareness Month and our pain themed blogs. This week, we’d like to introduce you to a veterinary pain specialist and VetStem user, Dr. Douglas Stramel. But first, meet his patient, Koda.

Koda, a Labrador retriever, was approximately nine years old when he began to show signs of slowing down. His owners reported that he was limping and seemed unhappy. His left elbow became swollen and x-rays revealed that he had elbow osteoarthritis. His veterinarian at the time drained his elbow and administered a steroid injection. This same procedure was performed twice in three months with minimal improvement.

Fortunately for Koda, his owners sought out Dr. Douglas Stramel, a Certified Veterinary Pain Practitioner. This certification is offered through the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM) for both veterinarians and veterinary technicians. According to Dr. Stramel, “This certification indicates that someone successfully completed advanced training in pain management. Certification holders demonstrate an advanced knowledge in assessing, diagnosing, and treating painful conditions in animals.”

Koda, getting his PT in an underwater treadmill.

Often, the most effective pain management requires a multimodal approach. For instance, Dr. Stramel’s practice, Advanced Care Veterinary Services, offers numerous services aimed at controlling and correcting pain in pets including surgery, acupuncture, laser therapy, rehabilitation, and regenerative medicine. In Koda’s case, Dr. Stramel utilized medication, shockwave therapy, hyaluronic acid injections, and also recommended treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy.

Dr. Stramel has been providing VetStem Cell Therapy for his patients since 2008 and has even treated his own dog. 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. In a peer-reviewed study of dogs with chronic osteoarthritis of the elbow it was found that stem cells reduced lameness and pain.

To being the process, Dr. Stramel collected fat tissue from Koda’s 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 Dr. Stramel for treatment. Approximately 48 hours after the initial fat collection procedure, Koda received one dose of his own stem cells into his elbow and one dose intravenously.

Koda’s owners were very pleased with the results of his stem cell therapy. His mom stated, “Koda can now go up and down the stairs when he wants to and not struggle. He had been hesitant to go on walks for a period of time prior to the stem cell therapy but now there is no hesitation. Koda’s spirit is uplifted and he seems very cheerful and comfortable.” After Koda’s great response, his owner stated that she would recommend stem cell therapy to other dog owners.


That concludes VetStem’s pain-themed blogs for Animal Pain Awareness Month. We hope you enjoyed this blog series and learned a bit about pain in pets. If you think your pet may be in pain or 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.

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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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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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Apr 23, 2021

April 24th is World Veterinary Day

Posted by Bob under COVID-19, Veterinary Medicine

World Veterinary Day is an annual holiday created by the World Veterinary Association (WVA) to “…promote the veterinary profession and work on improving animal and human welfare, the environment, food safety, animal transport, and quarantine.” It is celebrated on the last Saturday of every April and this year is the 20th anniversary of its first celebration. Each year there is a theme and this year’s theme is, “Veterinarian Response to the COVID-19 Crisis.”

The year 2020 brought some serious challenges, and many people stepped up in exceptional ways to meet those challenges. Veterinary professionals were among those people. Animals did not stop needing care, and in fact, so many dogs and cats were adopted from shelters in 2020 that some shelters were completely emptied out at times! In addition, pet owners brought their existing pets to the vet more often in 2020 than they had in the past. Pet owners reported that quarantine and social distancing from other humans changed their relationship with their pets by fostering the human-animal bond and thus, they were more attune to their pet’s health needs. This meant that veterinary visits increased during a time when staff were being furloughed and social distancing was mandated. Veterinarians responded as they always do, with grace and fortitude. They navigated these uncharted waters by developing curbside service, telemedicine platforms, and fought for the right to be considered essential workers so they could keep the doors open for animals in need. Veterinary professionals forged ahead with the difficult task of maintaining a high level of pet care while trying to keep themselves, their staff and pet owners safe and healthy during a time of ever-changing rules and regulations.

Veterinarians also demonstrated the breadth of their caregiving spirit during this past year. They donated supplies to the human medical community, including PPE and respiratory ventilators early in the pandemic when resources were scarce, critical illness rates were high, and the disease was spreading rapidly. Then in April 2020, Great Britain called for assistance from their veterinarians to act as respiratory assistants. New York City asked veterinarians to care for the bodies of those who passed, ensuring they were treated with dignity and respect. And more recently, veterinarians in the United States have been authorized to administer COVID vaccines to their fellow humans in need, prompting the USDA to swiftly deploy their vets to aid in this monumentally important endeavor.

Equally as important as all the brave souls in the typical clinical practice setting, were the veterinarians that the public might not think of when they think of a “vet.” Agricultural veterinarians continued to make sure our food sources were safe and remained in steady supply. Veterinary pathologists, virologists, and epidemiologists diagnosed, studied, and reported on COVID-19 infections in animals, helping to assure the public that pets were considered a low risk for spreading the disease to humans. Veterinary medical school professors, like other teachers, found new ways to train their students when they could not be together in the classroom or the hospital. Government and private sector-employed laboratory veterinarians were among those in the medical and pharmaceutical fields working tirelessly to create COVID-19 treatments and vaccines. Veterinarians in the biotechnology field, such as veterinarian led VetStem, promoted the “One Health” sometimes termed, “One Medicine” concept by collaborating with the human medical community and sharing their wealth of knowledge about coronaviruses across different animal species. You can learn more about One Health here. To that end, VetStem Biopharma and sister company, Personalized Stem Cells, jumped into action in 2020, gaining FDA approval to begin a clinical trial treating human COVID-19 patients with stem cells. By March 2021 we celebrated the successful treatment of nine people who had been significantly afflicted with the disease. These patients had all been in a hospital ICU, and after receiving intravenous (IV) treatments with stem cells, they all made it back home to their families. This is a relatively small number of patients, but the results are certainly promising.

Despite the chaos, uncertainty, and heartbreak that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to this world, veterinarians have been steadfast in their dedication to promote the health and safety of all beings on this Earth, and I can honestly say that I have never been more proud to be a member of this special group of people.

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