Feb 3, 2023

Golden Retriever Receives VetStem Cell Therapy for Arthritis

In honor of National Golden Retriever Day, we are sharing a VetStem success story about a Golden Retriever named Makalia. At a young age, Makalia was diagnosed with bilateral elbow dysplasia. At approximately two-years-old, Makalia underwent elbow arthroscopy in her left leg, which was the worst of the two. Despite the procedure, Makalia would limp on and off. Her owners managed her pain with medication for several years.

When Makalia was eight years old, she began limping on her right front leg more. The limp got progressively worse and eventually she became completely lame on that leg. After laser therapy didn’t help, Makalia’s veterinarian, Dr. Adam Gassel, recommended arthroscopy on the right elbow in addition to treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy on both elbows.

Makalia

To begin the process, Dr. Gassel collected fat tissue from Makalia’s abdomen in a minimally invasive anesthetic procedure. At the same time, he performed arthroscopy on her right elbow. Her fat tissue was shipped to the VetStem processing lab where it was processed to extract and concentrate the stem and regenerative cells contained therein. Three injectable doses of Makalia’s stem cells were shipped back to Dr. Gassel. Approximately 48 hours after the initial fat collection procedure, Makalia received an injection of her own stem cells into each elbow as well as intravenously.

In a 90 day follow up evlauation, Makalia’s owners noted that she was no longer lame. Her stiffness, pain, and energy level had improved and she was no longer having problems walking or jumping. Her owner stated, “I didn’t realize how much pain she was in because now she is a new dog. Happier and playful again.”

Unfortunately, Golden Retrievers are among the breeds that have a higher likelihood of being diagnosed with joint dysplasia and osteoarthritis. The good news is, VetStem Cell Therapy can help to reduce pain and inflammation associated with OA and can even lead to the regeneration of healthy cartilage tissue.

If you think your pet may benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy, speak to your veterinarian or click here to receive a list of VetStem providers near you.

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Jan 27, 2023

Arthritic Dog Defies Odds with Help of VetStem Cell Therapy

Recently, we shared the success story of a sweet Husky mix named Kobi who was successfully treated with VetStem Cell Therapy for osteoarthritis in her elbows and wrists. Kobi’s story is special, in large part due to her traumatic start in life, followed by a harrowing prognosis after her parents learned she had severe osteoarthritis. Her owner’s submitted her story as a testimonial, and reading it gave us chills! So, while you may have already read VetStem’s version of the story, here is the full unedited version of Kobi’s story.

Kobi was a rescue through the Second Chance Pet Network in Dryden, Ontario. My husband Tom and I saw her on a Facebook post with her tiny curled husky tail and fell in love immediately, so we applied for adoption and set an appointment to meet her.

We learned that Kobi had a very rough beginning. She was found in November in a reservation in Northern Ontario, with no parents in sight. Her litter mates had passed away from the cold and only she and her brother were still alive, huddled in the middle together. The rescuers brought the two pups south to the shelter, and immediately realized the little boy was sick. Kobi and her brother were separated and he passed away soon after from parvovirus. Kobi was nursed back to health and eventually placed in a wonderful foster home.

Kobi

When we met Kobi at nearly 8 months old, we couldn’t believe she hadn’t been adopted yet. When we visited her foster home, Kobi bounced right up to us and dropped onto her back to show her belly. I gave her a little rub and couldn’t believe how sweet she was. We loaded her up into the car and brought her home.

We introduced her to March (our 6-month-old German shepherd cross, adopted through the Winnipeg Shelter) and it was unconditional love at first sight. Day in and day out they wrestled and played but about 3 weeks after Kobi came home, she called for help from the yard. She was holding up her front leg, so I ran out and carried her inside. Hoping it was just a strain from hard play, we let her rest through the night. It did seem to improve, but then two days later, she called for help again and it was the opposite leg she was holding up. Puzzled, we made a vet appointment for her.

During the x-rays, it was obvious that the damage done to her little body in the cold had taken its toll, and as she grew, she developed dysplasia and arthritis in both front knees. She was put on pain killers and it was so hard seeing her dopey and hurting. Within a few weeks we were able to bring her to a surgeon nearly 6 hours away in Winnipeg and she had surgery on both front legs to correct the dysplasia and try to clean up some of the arthritis. It was so expensive, but very worth it, because it worked well! After a difficult and lengthy healing period, she was back to her nutty, bouncy self. The vet did say, however, that the arthritis was not a mild case and we’d be able to expect about 6 years before it became too much for anti-inflammatory and pain medication to handle.

That was hard to hear, but we’re stubborn people and we were determined Kobi was going to live her longest and best life. Over the next two years, Tom and I fostered 40 puppies and dogs, largely with the help and patience of March and Kobi. There were ups and downs with her comfort level but for the most part, Kobi was a happy, hilarious, quirky puppy.

In 2019, the 4 of us moved to Calgary, Alberta. A BIG city compared to where my country girls grew up, but they love a good adventure! After about a year and a half, when Kobi was creeping up to 5 years old, she started showing signs of pain and slowing down. Is a husky who can’t be the fastest dog at the Bark Park even a husky anymore? We visited a few vets looking for solutions and it was a really emotional time. I refused to believe the only option was pain medication and laser treatment until it was time to let her go. That was for old dogs and she was still just a puppy.

After a lot of tears and many hours of research, Tom found something called Stem Cell Therapy. We found Bow Bottom Veterinary Hospital in Calgary and they were incredible with Kobi. Dr. Schell identified that Kobi would be a great candidate for the treatment! It wasn’t an easy journey – another big surgery for our little husky to harvest the cells, but from there, the injections were easy peasy. After 3 weeks, it was clear that Kobi had never felt better. Literally! She’d NEVER been that comfortable before in her whole life. She played more and cuddled harder than ever before. It was incredible! Two weeks ago we all celebrated Kobi’s 6th birthday together. There was a point when we thought our time together would be up by now, but today she’s got a lot of years left and we’re going to make the best out of every single one of them. <3

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Jan 20, 2023

VetStem Cell Therapy for Penguins

Posted by Bob under Exotic Animals, VetStem Cell Therapy

As our avid readers know, we like to acknowledge and celebrate various pet and veterinary “holidays” in our blog. Today happens to be an unusual but fun one: it’s Penguin Awareness Day! But what does this mean and why is it relevant to VetStem?

Well, first a little bit of history. Penguin Awareness Day gained popularity amongst scientists and other related institutions in 2010. Their main goal was to highlight their penguin research and to get the public interested in conservation. Today, Penguin Awareness Day aims to educate the public about penguins and their natural habitat and to learn about the effects of climate change on the various populations of penguins. Unfortunately, penguin numbers around the world are dwindling.

It is a terrible thing when animals become endangered or extinct. At VetStem we are proud to say that we have helped several penguins live a better quality of life! Several penguins have actually received VetStem Cell Therapy for conditions such as degenerative joint disease. And like in dogs and horses, they have experienced a better quality of life as a result!

Click here to see a video about VetStem Cell Therapy for penguins. Though an older video, at approximately 36:00 minutes, Dr. Todd Schmitt at SeaWorld San Diego begins talking about their penguin conservation efforts. He talks a bit about using VetStem Cell Therapy to treat arthritis in penguins and there is even a video of the first-ever penguin to be treated with stem cells.

While it may not seem like much, we are extremely proud that VetStem has a small part in penguin conservation. To date, VetStem Cell Therapy has improved the quality of life in numerous penguins, thereby helping them to live longer and more comfortably. We do not take our role in exotic animal conservation lightly and continue to further our efforts in this field.

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Nov 18, 2022

VetStem Cell Therapy for Horses: Orthopedics and More

It’s been a while since we’ve done a good overview blog on the various uses of VetStem Cell Therapy in horses. The VetStem Sales and Marketing team is currently heading to San Antonio, TX to exhibit at the annual American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) conference so we figured no better time than the present!

Some of you may not know this but VetStem’s very first patient was a horse that was treated way back in early 2004 for a tendon injury that would have normally been career-ending. As in dogs, veterinarians most frequently use VetStem Cell Therapy to treat orthopedic conditions in horses. Though their anatomy and injuries are different than our canine friends, the treatment methods are very similar.

VetStem Cell Therapy for Equine Tendon and Ligament Injuries

In performance horses, tendon and ligament injuries are a leading cause of decreased performance. These injuries often require prolonged healing times and can be the source of reinjury. While soft tissue injuries can take many months to heal, VetStem Cell Therapy may speed up the healing process. Stem cells can reduce pain and inflammation and regenerate tendon and ligament tissues, thereby reducing the formation of scar tissue. When paired with a good rehabilitation routine, stem cell therapy may help horses get back to work faster.

VetStem Cell Therapy for Equine Joint Conditions

As with tendon and ligament injuries, VetStem Cell Therapy can be beneficial for joint conditions in horses. Horses have been treated for a wide array of conditions including osteoarthritis (OA), osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), subchondral bone cysts, and meniscal tears. In one study utilizing VetStem Cell Therapy for the above conditions, there were several important findings:

  1. 80% (8/10) of cyst-only cases returned to their prior level of activity
  2. 95.2% (20/21) of OA cases in the study returned to prior level or lower level of work
  3. The average time for horses in the study from treatment to return-to-full work at prior level of performance was 6.2 months or 5.8 months for those horses returning to a lower level of work
  4. 83.3% (50/60) with joint injuries returned to prior level of performance or at least to a reduced performance level, with only 16.7% (10/60) being non-responsive to treatment.

VetStem Cell Therapy for Alternative Conditions in Horses

There’s plenty of data out there that stem cells can benefit soft tissue injuries and joint disease, but there are a few other conditions that VetStem may help as well. One of these conditions is Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH). EIPH is characterized by the presence of blood in the lungs of performance horses following strenuous exercise. Traditional therapy includes medications that can reduce the amount of hemorrhaging but don’t actually treat or cure the disease. In a clinical research program conducted by VetStem, it was determined that the majority of horses treated with VetStem Cell Therapy experienced significant improvement with little to no bleeding post racing.

Another condition that VetStem may help is uveitis. Uveitis is characterized by inflammation of the uveal tract of the eye and can be a one-time episode or recurrent. Recurrent uveitis can lead to permanent damage and even blindness. Though the cause of recurrent uveitis is unclear, there is evidence to suggest it may be immune-mediated. Stem cells have demonstrated the ability to reduce inflammation and to modulate the immune system. Preliminary in-vitro and clinical case series results demonstrate safety and that stem cells may be effective in controlling recurrent uveitis.

Veterinarians have treated horses for numerous conditions that we have not mentioned here, some with favorable results, others not. If you think your horse may benefit from treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy, whether it’s for an orthopedic condition or something else, speak to your veterinarian or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area.

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Nov 11, 2022

The Power of Stem Cell Therapy Part 2: Holly’s Story

In last week’s VetStem blog, we introduced you to veterinarian and stem cell therapy proponent, Dr. John Hutchens. Dr. Hutchens shared his thoughts and experiences regarding the use of VetStem Cell Therapy in his patients. Check it out if you haven’t already, it’s a good one with lots of great information.

This week, we are sharing the experience of one of Dr. Hutchens’ VetStem patients, Holly. Holly is a chocolate Lab that received VetStem Cell Therapy for osteoarthritis in her hips and knees. Her owners kept a near daily journal of her treatment and initial progress. It’s rare that we get such a glimpse into the stem cell recovery process, so we wanted to share this with you! Check it out below.

Tuesday, July 25, 2022

Holly, our 11-year-old Labrador Retriever, had surgery today to remove a small amount of adipose tissue (fat) from her abdomen. It was sent to VetStem in California and should arrive there tomorrow. VetStem will isolate the stem cells and prepare 5 shots for Holly, one for each hip and one for each knee, and one IV. The rest will be stored by cryopreservation for future use. Stem cells are used for regenerative purposes in dogs, cats, and horses. VetStem will send the shots and IV back to my vet on Thursday for injection Friday morning if all goes well.

Friday, July 28

When we arrived at the vet at 8:00 am, we were told the shipment had been delayed in Indiana and was not there yet. My vet, Dr. Hutchens, had already talked to VetStem and they assured him it would be here first thing this morning. Since the cells are viable for 48 hours after shipping, if we had to, we could wait and do the procedure Saturday morning. He was willing to come in on a Saturday if they didn’t show up this morning. He is awesome. This was a minor blessing because Holly had developed diarrhea Wednesday evening and it gave the vet time to give her some meds to settle her stomach and start an IV to hydrate her. We left Holly at the vet and prayed the shipment would arrive soon.

Holly received an injection of her own stem cells into her hips and knees

Around lunch time we got a call from the vet. The shipment had arrived right away. Holly had already gotten her injections and IV and we could pick her up at 4:30. She was bright, perky, and ready to go home. She had a lot of swelling from the injections, and she was very sore on her back legs. She looked like a checkerboard where her hair had been clipped for her surgery and from her shots. She woke up twice that night and had to be helped up so she could go out to relieve herself.

Saturday, July 30

Her legs are still very sore. She is having difficulty getting up off the floor. We don’t have carpet and she slips when trying to get up. I’ve had to lift her up several times when she needed to get up. She slept all night.

Sunday, July 31

Holly is getting up easier today. In the morning she was stiff and had a hard time getting up but this afternoon she is getting up on her own and walking more.

Monday, August 1

Holly is so much better today. She can get up on her own and trots down the hall, instead of walking! She goes up and down her outside ramp with ease. This afternoon I rolled her ball about 10 feet and she actually ran after it. She is as good as, and maybe slightly better than she was before all this.

Tuesday, August 2

Wow, Holly went for a walk around the back pasture with Don (husband). Normally, she would go halfway around the acre, and stop while he finished his walk. Today, she walked around it 5 times! She hasn’t done that in about a year. I’ve cut back on her pain meds. Before all this, she was on 1.5 Rimadyl tablets and 2 Gabapentin capsules every day. She is only on 1 Rimadyl tablet and 1 Gabapentin a day now.

Wednesday, August 3 and Thursday, August 4

Holly continues to improve. It’s been a while since she would sit up and now, she is sitting again instead of lying on the floor all day. Unfortunately, that means she is begging for food. LOL. She has more energy, less pain, and is much happier. Her quality of life is so much better now.

Friday, August 5

We took her back to the vet to have her stitches out. The vet was amazed at how much better she was. She went from not being able to get up on her own, to getting up by herself, trotting down the halls. She is going up and down her ramp with ease, sitting up and being happy again! I recommend stem cell therapy to anyone who has a dog, cat, or horse that has health problems that this could fix. It’s a regenerative medical therapy that will enable the body to repair, replace, restore, and regenerate damaged or diseased tissues using its own cells.

Monday, August 8

Today Holly ran from the living room to the side door and barked when Robin came over and rang the doorbell. She commented that Holly had not done that in quite some time. This is so awesome.

Friday, August 12

Holly ran about 3 feet today. We threw (rolled) a ball about 5 feet and she ran after it. It didn’t last long but she actually ran a little.

Holly

August 16 & 18. This is week 3.

This is amazing. Robin threw Holly’s ball about 50 feet. Holly took off running as fast as she could (not very fast), trying to catch it. It’s crazy how much she has improved! She tried going down the deck stairs but fell at the bottom. She is still not quite strong enough to use the stairs going down all the time. She still mostly uses the ramp. We changed her meds to 1.5 Rimadyl only. We think the Gabapentin was causing her diarrhea.

August 24 & 25

Holly woke up wanting to play! She playfully growled and barked and tried to grab Don’s hand while squirming around in her bed and wagging her tail. She loves playing with him and never bites. LOL. When we opened the gate to the front pasture, she ran about 50 feet to meet Abby, Robin’s dog. They bounced around for a minute, then each went their own way sniffing everything they could find. She is actually interested in being outside now instead of lying around in the house all day. The next morning, she was stalking squirrels. She ran half the yard’s length then slowed down to a walk when the squirrel climbed a tree. She found one of her beloved balls and carried it around with her for half an hour before going back in the house. I can’t believe how much energy she has now.

September – Week 1

Holly has started using our deck stairs to go down to the yard again! Before, she would use her ramp which has roofing shingles tacked on it so she wouldn’t slip. Now, she is strong enough that she doesn’t fall at the bottom step anymore. She still uses the ramp to get back up to the deck.

September – Week 2 (approx. 45 days after treatment with stem cells)

Holly ran all the way across our back yard this week. That’s about 100 feet! I also noticed that she has started jumping up and down a little when she gets really excited or someone comes to the house. These stem cells seem to still be working. I wonder what it could do for me. LOL. It’s like the Fountain of Youth!


As you can see, VetStem Cell Therapy helped Holly live a better quality of life. At 11 years old with osteoarthritis in multiple joints, the treatment didn’t make her like a puppy again. But it did help her get moving so she could get back to some of her favorite things in life like playing with her ball, walking with dad, stalking squirrels, and greeting visitors. If you think 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.

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Oct 28, 2022

The Future is Now: VetStem Cell Therapy for Cats

Tomorrow is National Cat Day and what perfect timing since our sales and marketing team is currently at the annual American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) conference! For the past few years, VetStem has been a bronze sponsor at this conference and has delivered a talk on the topic of VetStem Cell Therapy for cats to veterinarians and veterinary technicians.

This year, VetStem’s very own Dr. Anne Hale will be delivering a talk entitled Evidence Based Medicine Supporting Stem Cell Therapy in the Feline Patient. In her talk, Dr. Hale will discuss the potential uses of VetStem Cell Therapy in cats. As many of you know, veterinarians have used stem cells to treat renal disease, both acute and chronic, inflammatory bowel disease, gingivostomatitis, and more in cats. This year, Dr. Hale will also introduce a few feline clinical trials that VetStem will be enrolling for soon.

We find AAFP to be one of our favorite shows. From the attendees to the educational offerings, this show has a lot to offer. Feline medicine is unique in the field of veterinary medicine. For a long time, cats were often treated like small dogs. However, there are several physical and physiological differences between cats and dogs that are important to understand from a caregiving standpoint.

One major difference is that cats metabolize drugs very differently than dogs. This is why there are limited treatment options when it comes to pain in cats. While dogs tend to tolerate NSAIDs and other pain medications relatively well, cats do not. There are some NSAIDs approved for short-term post-operative use in cats, but there are currently no veterinary NSAIDs approved for safe, long-term use to control osteoarthritis pain in cats.

This is one of the reasons that technologies such as VetStem Cell Therapy are so important in feline medicine. Stem cells can help control pain and inflammation, can regulate the immune system, and can help regenerate damaged tissues. This makes stem cell therapy a potential treatment option for a wide array of diseases that are lacking effective treatment protocols in cats.

If you think your cat may benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy, speak to your veterinarian or contact us to find a VetStem provider near you.

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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 16, 2022

VetStem Cell Therapy for Pain Management in Pets

Posted by Bob under Pain in Pets, VetStem Cell Therapy

Animal Pain Awareness Month continues and this week we are discussing stem cell therapy for pain management in pets. As most of our readers know, thousands of animals have experienced an improved quality of life as a result of treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy. While stem cells have many mechanisms of action including the ability to differentiate into many tissue types and stimulate the regeneration of tendon, ligament, and joint tissues, they also have the ability to reduce pain and inflammation.

Stem Cells Can Reduce Inflammation

The ability of stem cells to regulate inflammation is important when it comes to pain management. Through cellular communication, stem cells are able to limit inflammatory responses and actually shift from a pro-inflammatory environment to an anti-inflammatory environment. By reducing inflammation, stem cells promote healing and increased comfort.

Stem Cells Directly Modulate Pain

While a reduction in inflammation can lead to increased comfort, current literature supports that stem cells also have the ability to address both acute and chronic pain directly. Initial impressions about the functions of stem cell therapy have focused on healing, regeneration, and reduced inflammation, while more recent studies have looked at the ability of stem cells to directly modulate pain. The recent literature demonstrates that stem cells secrete pain blocking cytokines (small proteins), which can have opioid-like effects. Interestingly enough, these effects can actually be reversed by Naloxone, an opioid antagonist.

VetStem Cell Therapy for Pain Management

Veterinarians see and treat pain in their patients every day. There are numerous treatment options available including medications, devices, and surgery. Stem cells are another tool veterinarians can employ to treat pain in pets. VetStem Cell Therapy has the advantage of being a readily available, natural source of anti-inflammatory and pain blocking cells. This can be especially beneficial for cats and some dogs who do not tolerate anti-inflammatories well.

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

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Aug 12, 2022

Leo’s Story: VetStem Cell Therapy for Cruciate Ligament Tear

Did you know that cruciate ligament rupture is one of the most common reasons for hind limb lameness, pain, and subsequent knee arthritis in dogs? While there are multiple treatment options available, both surgical and non-surgical, treatment with stem cells may accelerate and improve healing within the joint. Numerous dogs have received VetStem Cell Therapy for cruciate ligament injuries. Generally speaking, stem cells are more effective when the ligament is only partially torn. In many cases, a full tear will still require surgery.

Leo’s Stem Cell Story

Leo is a 92-pound German Shepherd. One day, after jumping out of his owner’s SUV, he yelped and held his right rear leg up. Two veterinarians confirmed that Leo had partially torn his cruciate ligament in his right knee. While dogs of any size can be affected by this injury, large breed dogs tend to be more at risk.

Leo

Initially, Leo’s owners took a conservative approach to manage his condition. Non-surgical treatment usually involves some combination of anti-inflammatory and pain medications, exercise modifications, joint supplements, rehabilitation, and possibly braces/supports. Unfortunately, conservative medical management is not always successful, and after months of leash walks only, Leo’s symptoms worsened.

VetStem Cell Therapy for Cruciate Ligament Tear

After months of research, Leo’s owners elected to try VetStem Cell Therapy as opposed to surgical repair of the injured ligament. Stem cells are regenerative cells that can reduce pain and inflammation, reduce the formation of scar tissue, help to restore range of motion, and stimulate regeneration of tendon, ligament, and joint tissues. Additionally, 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 orthopedic conditions.

To begin the process, Leo’s veterinarian, Dr. Chris Forstall of SouthShore Animal Hospital, collected fat tissue from his abdomen during a minimally-invasive anesthetic procedure. The cells were aseptically packaged and shipped to the VetStem processing laboratory. Lab technicians processed the fat to isolate and concentrate the stem and regenerative cells contained therein. These cells were packaged into separate stem cell doses, two of which were shipped to Leo’s veterinarian for treatment, while the rest were put into cryopreservation for potential future use.

Approximately 48 hours after the initial fat collection, Leo received one injection of his own stem cells into each knee. You may be wondering why Leo’s veterinarian injected both knees, as opposed to just his injured knee. 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. Because of this, many veterinarians choose to treat both knees with stem cells, even when there is only one injured knee. This prophylactic approach may reduce or delay the possibility of injuring the second knee.

Leo Improves after VetStem Cell Therapy

According to his owner, Leo showed improvement just one month after treatment. His owner stated, “Leo is improving every day. We are thrilled that VetStem banked Leo’s stem cells for future use. I’m looking forward to him improving even more. Thank you for offering this cutting-edge therapy!”

Leo’s initial stem cell process yielded several additional doses that are currently cryopreserved. Cryopreservation of stem cells allows them to maintain their functional properties so that they can be used in the future should Leo require them.

If your dog has suffered from a partial cruciate ligament tear, speak to your veterinarian about the possibility of treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy. Or contact us to find a VetStem provider near you.

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Jul 15, 2022

VetStem Cell Therapy for Immune-Mediated Disease

VetStem Cell Therapy is primarily used for the treatment of orthopedic conditions in dogs and horses. It is also used, with some frequency, for non-standard indications in cats such as chronic kidney disease and gingivostomatitis. Another non-standard indication that is treated in both dogs and cats, as you may remember from this previous blog, is inflammatory bowel disease.

These and other non-standard indications fall under VetStem’s clinical research department. This means that there are minimal published studies demonstrating effectiveness of stem cell therapy in the treatment of these diseases and VetStem is conducting their own research to help determine if stem cells are a viable treatment option. Clinical research cases are approved on a case-by-case basis, as stem cells are not appropriate for all disease processes.

Stem Cells Have Immunomodulatory Functions

The truth is, we don’t yet fully understand the entirety of what stem cells are capable of. That is one of the reasons why stem cell research for the treatment of various diseases is so important. While the research is ongoing, there is some evidence to suggest that stem cells have multiple immunomodulatory functions. That is, they have the ability to modulate the immune system. Thus, it makes sense that they may be helpful in controlling immune-mediated diseases.

VetStem Cell Therapy for Immune-Mediated Disease

Veterinarians have utilized VetStem Cell Therapy for a number of immune-mediated diseases. We mentioned a few of them earlier: gingivostomatitis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). That’s right, the literature suggests that both gingivostomatitis and IBD are immune-mediated diseases. Additional immune-mediated diseases that have been treated with VetStem Cell Therapy with some success include keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS, or dry eye), immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA), and immune-mediate polyarthritis (IMPA).

As we mentioned above, the research is ongoing so we can’t say with certainty that stem cell therapy will help in every case. Additionally, diseases present differently from patient to patient. Thus, treatment outcomes will also vary. Stem cell therapy is not a miracle cure-all treatment option. But it is a natural alternative to the potentially damaging immunosuppressive medications that are commonly used to treat immune-mediated diseases.

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

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