Jul 23, 2021

Dog Receives VetStem Cell Therapy for Disc Disease

In this week’s blog, we are sharing Bella’s story. Bella, a pit bull, was approximately twelve years old when she received VetStem Cell Therapy. She was previously diagnosed with Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) and pain medication, unfortunately, brought her little relief.

Intervertebral Disc Disease

IVDD is a condition in which one or several intervertebral discs in the spine bulge, resulting in pressure on the spinal cord. This pressure may result in extreme pain and possibly loss of limb function. IVDD can be a result of chronic disc degeneration or from an acute injury. Conservative treatment with pain medications and anti-inflammatories may help patients who have a gradual onset of symptoms or whose symptoms are mild. In severe cases or when there are repeated episodes, surgery may be recommended.

A veterinarian in blue scrubs gives an IV injection of stem cells to Bella, a black and white pit bull, while her mom, a veterinary technician holds her.
Bella, receiving an intravenous injection of her own stem cells via VetStem Cell Therapy

Bella’s mom, a veterinary technician at Fort Lee Animal Clinic, noticed that Bella stopped jumping on and off furniture and was restless and unable to sleep comfortably at night. After researching her options, she decided to have Bella treated with her own stem cells. Dr. Nazar Pereymybida at Fort Lee Animal Clinic agreed that Bella may benefit from stem cell therapy and Bella became his first stem cell case.

Treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy

To begin the process, Dr. Pereymybida collected fat tissue from Bella’s abdomen in a minimally invasive anesthetic procedure. The fat was aseptically packaged and shipped to the VetStem laboratory in Poway, California. Once received, VetStem lab technicians processed the fat to extract and concentrate Bella’s stem and regenerative cells. Stem cell injections were prepared and shipped back to Dr. Pereymybida. Approximately 48 hours after the initial fat collection procedure, Bella received multiple injections of her own stem cells along her paraspinal muscles as well as intravenously.

Stem cell treatment of IVDD falls under VetStem’s clinical research program for canine back pain. This program is designed to evaluate the safety and potential effectiveness of stem cells for numerous canine back conditions.

Results

Approximately two months after receiving VetStem Cell Therapy, Bella’s owner reported that her symptoms had improved! Though Bella was still on pain medications, her owner stated, “She’s now jumping on and off the bed and seems less painful and more energetic.” In addition, Bella was able to sleep comfortably through the entire night.

Unfortunately, Bella was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. Her condition progressed rapidly and she crossed over the rainbow bridge.

While there is still more to learn about using VetStem Cell Therapy to treat canine IVDD, Bella’s case is not the only positive outcome reported. You may remember Bailee’s story from a while ago. He also received VetStem Cell Therapy for IVDD after an injury to his neck. And like Bella, Bailee also experienced a reduction in pain after treatment.

If your dog has IVDD or another painful back condition, speak to your veterinarian about the possibility of treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy. Since these conditions develop for different reasons, the stem cell protocol and outcome can vary for each dog. Any inquiries regarding treatment of similar conditions or other non-standard indications should be directed to VetStem personnel.

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Jul 9, 2021

Horse Receives VetStem Cell Therapy for Chronic Hoof Infection

Hello VetStemmers! It’s Dr. Amber Vibert here and I’ve taken over the blog again. In honor of it being National Farriers Week, I’d like to share with you a horse hoof case that is near and dear to my heart. The patient was my own 25-year-old, Thoroughbred horse named Valor. Valor came to me as a senior 5 years ago. He had some mild arthritis in his hocks (rear limb “ankles”), and he had back and neck stiffness that likely came from being trained as a racehorse and then a show horse in his early years. However, the condition for which I treated him with VetStem Cell Therapy remains somewhat of an enigma.

Profile shot of the head of Valor, a brown, thoroughbred horse with reins
Valor

Valor’s Hoof Infections

About 3 years into owning him, he developed a deep, severe, focal infection on the underside of both of his rear hooves. Each area measured about the size of a dime in diameter and were deep enough to expose the underlying soft tissue that bled really easily when touched. The infection and inflammation extended into his heels and was super painful for him. Around this time, he also displayed reduced healing capacity for scrapes and cuts on his limbs. Now, older horses are prone to delayed healing and weaker immune system responses as a result of certain metabolic conditions, but sometimes it is the natural progression of the aging process, not unlike elderly humans. So, the first thing I did was I had him examined by his equine veterinarian. Yes, I’m a veterinarian, but my 16 years of clinical practice prior to joining VetStem was working with small animals. Horses are very different from dogs and cats!

Diagnostics and Treatments

We took x-rays of his hooves and found no evidence of a foreign body (i.e., no nails or other penetrating objects) and no draining tracts. We tested Valor for metabolic diseases, immune system diseases and infectious diseases, all of which were negative. I always made sure his living area was clean and dry. We examined and adjusted his nutrition to make sure it was balanced and providing him with appropriate ratios of proteins, carbs, vitamins, and minerals. We also took culture swabs of the focal lesions in his hooves and found a particular type of bacteria in those lesions that could be a factor. But honestly, my veterinarian was stumped as to the underlying cause. I got a second and third opinion with other veterinarians and each had their theories, but none could pinpoint a definitive cause either. So, I treated him for months with an intense regimen of oral and topical antibiotics as well as pain meds in addition to the prescription anti-inflammatory medication he was already taking for his arthritis.

Of course, I got his farrier involved as well. He too, was unsure of the nature of these wounds, as he had never seen anything like it. We tried different podiatric options such as therapeutic shoeing, hoof pads, hoof packing, regular shoeing, and no shoeing at all. I spent countless hours as directed, caring for his feet- picking, washing, soaking, medicating etc. I used Platelet Therapy locally a couple of times- I saturated medical cotton pads with his platelet concentrate (created through the Genesis CS-2 Platelet Rich Plasma Kit) and packed it into the deep lesions. It helped for a short period of time, but it was too labor intensive to do consistently. Despite all of his treatments and the heroic efforts of his wonderful farrier, the improvement was minimal.

Treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy

Then in December 2020 I collected fat tissue from an area on his rump for stem cell processing. He didn’t have a huge cell yield, so we only had one stem cell dose to start with and the rest we grew in cell culture to create more doses. He received his first injection immediately following processing via a regional perfusion (RP) injection in his lower right rear leg. Regional perfusion is an injection into a vein with a tourniquet around the limb above the injection site. The tourniquet stays on for about 30 min after the injection to allow the cells (or other drugs) to be delivered to, and stay concentrated in, all parts of the limb below it. Then approximately 4 and 8 weeks later he received doses in both rear legs, also by RP injection. 

The rationale for using stem cell therapy was to reduce inflammation, reduce pain, enhance his immune system’s ability to heal, and provide antibacterial/antifungal properties to his hooves. The only other treatments he received during the time of his stem cell therapy were pain medications and daily hoof cleaning.  It was so hard to be patient waiting for the cells to do their thing! But 3 months after his initial treatment, I began to see a dramatic change. The difference was amazing! As you can see from the pictures, between December 2020 and March 2021 his hoof soles became stronger, his heals were no longer swollen and painful, and the focal lesions became significantly smaller.

Three pictures of Valor's (horse) hooves. The first two are from July 2020 and December 2020 showing his hoof infection before treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy. The third is from March 2021 showing an improved infection after receiving VetStem Cell Therapy.

Sadly, we did not get a chance to see his hoof condition through to complete resolution as I had to put him down in April 2021 due to an unrelated, fast-progressing condition. However, VetStem Cell Therapy provided him with much healthier and more comfortable feet for the last few months of his life. And for this, I will be eternally grateful.

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Jun 4, 2021

Tripod Dog Receives VetStem Cell Therapy

Posted by Bob under VetStem Cell Therapy

Jackson is an approximately 5-year-old tripod, meaning he only has 3 legs. His right rear leg was amputated when he was only four months old, just before he was adopted from an animal shelter. Jackson got around just fine for a while, as many rear leg amputees tend to do. But when he was around 2.5 years old, he injured his left knee while playing. This was bad news for Jackson.

A picture of Jackson, three-legged dog and VetStem Cell Therapy recipient.

According to Jackson’s mom, he could barely walk after he injured his only rear leg. His owner had to help him get around by using a lift harness. His veterinarian, Dr. Nick Vitale of Heritage Animal Hospital, diagnosed him with a partially torn cruciate ligament in that left knee. Additionally, he was also diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis in his left hip and both of his elbows.

Fortunately, Dr. Vitale is an experienced VetStem user, and recommended treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy. Jackson had fat tissue collected from his abdomen and sent to the VetStem laboratory for processing. After his stem and regenerative cells were extracted and concentrated, 5 stem cell doses were shipped back to Dr. Vitale. Jackson received one injection of his own stem cells into each elbow, his left hip, his left knee, and an intravenous injection.

According to Jackson’s mom, he had a great response to the stem cell therapy. She stated, “After the therapy, he is completely back to full functioning!” It is just over three years since Jackson’s initial stem cell treatment and he has not required a retreatment. Fortunately, he still has multiple stem cell doses stored, should he need them in the future.

Jackson’s story is unfortunately not uncommon among tripods. Osteoarthritis is common in tripod dogs because their remaining limbs endure added weight and stress to make up for the missing leg. Jackson is also not the only tripod dog to benefit from VetStem Cell Therapy. Mandy is a front leg amputee who received stem cell therapy for arthritis in her hips and hocks (ankles). You can read Mandy’s story here.

Of course, we never want any dog to be in pain or lose mobility. But when it comes to tripods, keeping them “on all threes” is extra important. We are so happy VetStem Cell Therapy helped Jackson and Mandy return to their own version of normal mobility. If you think your dog 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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May 21, 2021

VetStem Cell Therapy in Pets with Cancer

Posted by Bob under VetStem Cell Therapy

May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month and though we cannot give you advice regarding treating your pet’s cancer, we do have some information about using VetStem Cell Therapy in pets with cancer.

VetStem Cell Therapy and Cancer – What You Need to Know

First and foremost, we want to make it known that VetStem cells cannot be used to treat or cure your pet’s cancer. Generally speaking, we do not recommend that pets who have active or recent cancer receive stem cell therapy. VetStem takes a conservative approach when it comes to patients with cancer because there is still a lot that we do not know about stem cells and how they interact with cancer cells. Thus, we err on the side of safety.

As a precaution, we monitored the occurrence of cancer in patients treated with VetStem Cell Therapy and have not seen a higher incidence than what is reported in patients of the same age group that were not treated with stem cells. The literature supports that adult stem cells do not directly turn into cancer cells. There is also literature regarding stem cell therapy in women who have had mastectomies which shows no higher incidence of recurrence of cancer.

Pets with an Orthopedic Condition in Addition to Cancer

There are some patients who have an orthopedic condition in addition to active or recent cancer, that may benefit from stem cell therapy for their orthopedic condition. For these cases, it is important for your veterinarian to consult with one of our veterinarians. Then you and your veterinarian can determine the best course of action for your pet. For some pets, VetStem Cell Therapy may improve their quality of life enough to outweigh the potential risks. If the decision is reached to pursue stem cell therapy, VetStem requires a special waiver to be signed by the pet owner. Some things you and your veterinarian should consider when making this decision are age of your pet, severity of the cancer, other medical conditions, and your pet’s current quality of life.

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May 14, 2021

Speaking to Your Vet About VetStem Cell Therapy

Posted by Bob under VetStem Cell Therapy

As most of you know by now, there are multiple conditions for which VetStem Cell Therapy may be a beneficial treatment option. We frequently recommend that pet owners considering stem cell therapy speak to their veterinarian to determine if their pet may be a candidate for VetStem Cell Therapy. But what if your veterinarian is not familiar with VetStem or stem cell therapy?

VetStem Recipient, Allie

Considering VetStem Cell Therapy for Your Pet?

You may have seen the many success stories about actual VetStem Cell Therapy recipients and wondered, “Would my pet benefit from stem cell therapy?” Or you may find that you have exhausted multiple treatment options, yet your pet’s condition hasn’t improved as much as you hoped. Whatever your situation may be, it is always important to research all of your options before you decide which therapy to proceed with. If you are considering VetStem Cell Therapy for your pet, we can help you speak to your veterinarian to get a better idea of whether or not this might be a good option to try.

Is VetStem Cell Therapy Right for Your Pet?

We firmly believe that your veterinarian is your best resource when it comes to the health of your pet. He/She is the most familiar with your pet’s health history and has likely examined your pet multiple times, whether for routine exams or sick exams. That being said, your veterinarian may not be familiar with VetStem Cell Therapy or any stem cell therapy for that matter. If you find that that is the case, below are some resources that you can share with your vet.

  1. This letter is a great place to start. VetStem’s free, online educational course helps veterinarians better understand the science behind stem cell therapy and educates them on how the VetStem process works.
  2. If your veterinarian would like additional information, you can refer them to the literature references on our website. We also have information about Inflammatory Bowel Disease, feline kidney disease, and immune mediated diseases (such as IMHA). For horses, we have multiple case studies on our website.
  3. To help determine if your pet is a good candidate for VetStem Cell Therapy, this checklist may be useful.
  4. And lastly, our staff veterinarians are available to consult with your vet to determine if VetStem Cell Therapy may help your pet, including a stem cell protocol tailored to your pet’s specific condition. Simply ask your vet to contact us at their convenience. There is no charge for this service!

We always like to remind pet owners that stem cell therapy is not a one-size-fits-all treatment, thus some pets may not be a good candidate for VetStem Cell Therapy. Our goal is to provide as much education and information as possible so you and your vet, with our help, can make the best decision for your pet. As always, if you ever have any questions for us, feel free to reach out! And if you are in need of a VetStem provider in your area, click here and we will send you a list of vets near you.

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May 7, 2021

VetStem Cell Therapy for Canine Kidney Disease

We have discussed VetStem Cell Therapy for feline kidney disease many times on this blog. For a refresher and success stories, click here. But cats are not the only creatures to suffer from this potentially devastating disease. According to the International Renal Interest Society, “The prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) has been estimated to be 0.5-1.0% in dogs.” While this may seem like a small number, that small percent of dogs may still suffer with a diagnosis like kidney disease.

Unfortunately, like with cats, treatment options for dogs with chronic kidney disease remain limited and can be costly or time consuming. Fortunately, VetStem Cell Therapy has shown some promise in the treatment of canine kidney disease. This is Abby’s story.

Abby

Abby is a basset hound mix who was diagnosed with renal disease when she was just one year old. According to her owner, she was very lethargic and would not eat or drink. With minimal treatment options, Abby’s owner elected to pursue treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy.

Abby had her fat collected and received her first stem cell treatment in August 2014. Due to the nature and severity of Abby’s condition, she went on to receive three more stem cell infusions in the four months following her initial treatment. Since then, Abby has continued to receive an intravenous injection of her own stem cells twice yearly and had her most recent treatment just three weeks ago.

According to Abby’s recent bloodwork, her kidney values are in the normal range. Her owner stated, “Six years later and she is doing great. She is a normal, happy healthy dog. I have her injected with her stem cells every six months and monitor her kidney levels through bloodwork twice a year.”

Of course, it is very heartwarming to hear a story like Abby’s. But each patient is different and stem cell therapy may not be an effective treatment option for all patients with kidney disease. If your pet has kidney disease, it is best to speak with your veterinarian to determine if stem cell therapy may be a good option for your pet. Or you can contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area.

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Apr 16, 2021

Agility Dog Successfully Treated with VetStem Cell Therapy

Posted by Bob under VetStem Cell Therapy

Kirby is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi who has been competing in agility since he was just one and a half years old. Several years ago, he began experiencing intermittent lameness in his hind end, most notably in his hips and left knee. He was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and cruciate ligament injuries.

A corgi dog jumping over a bar during an agility competition
Kirby

Because he is such an active dog, his owner pursued several treatment options to help him feel more comfortable. Initially, he was treated with cold laser therapy, underwater treadmill, and a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory. This combination would help Kirby for a little while and then he would go back to being lame. Next, his mom pursued treatment with platelet therapy. Kirby received concentrated platelet injections into both hips and both knees. His mom reported that he responded well, and the results lasted for a year after the platelet injections.

But after that year, Kirby was sore again. That is when his mom elected to have Kirby treated with VetStem Cell Therapy. His veterinarian collected fat tissue from his abdomen in a minimally invasive anesthetic procedure. His mom described the procedure as such, “The minor surgery to harvest the fat was easy and he recovered quickly.” VetStem laboratory technicians processed Kirby’s fat to concentrate and extract his stem and regenerative cells. Kirby’s stem cell injections were sent back to his veterinarian for treatment. He received one injection into each hip, each knee, and also intravenously.

Approximately two months after treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy, Kirby was doing much better. According to his mom, he was able to return to agility, competing about once a month with an 80% qualifying rate. In addition, he hikes 12-15 miles with his mom each week. She stated, “I’m so grateful to VetStem for their help and that they have his cells in storage so we can give him more injections in the future if needed!!”

Kirby’s treatment was nearly two years ago and according to his mom, he was still doing well and competing in agility trials as of late 2020. He has not required a repeat injection of stem cells to date!

If you think your dog may benefit from stem cell therapy, speak to your veterinarian or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area.

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Apr 9, 2021

Can VetStem Cell Therapy Help Canine Atopic Dermatitis?

There are a multitude of diseases outside of orthopedic conditions for which treatment with stem cells has been successful, while others do not respond as well. At VetStem, we work with veterinarians and their pet owners on a case-by-case basis to determine if stem cell therapy may be a viable treatment option. Oftentimes, these patients have diseases that are challenging to treat or current standard therapies are lacking in clinical data. One of these diseases is canine atopic dermatitis (also known as allergic dermatitis or atopy).

What is Canine Atopic Dermatitis?

Canine Atopic Dermatitis (CAD) is what most dog owners call “allergies.” The primary symptom is itchiness, usually in the feet, face, ears, armpits, front legs, and/or abdomen. Scratching and licking can lead to hair loss, hotspots or other irritations, skin thickening and more. Secondary skin infections and/or ear infections can develop and make symptoms worse.

CAD is a genetic disease that predisposes a dog to certain allergen sensitivities. The allergen(s) are environmental such as pollens, molds, dust mites, dander from other animals (yes, even human dander) or normal skin organisms. While there is still much to learn about CAD disease, we have learned that atopic dermatitis occurs due to a skin barrier defect, which allows allergens to absorb deeper into the skin where the immune system can access them. Thus, when an atopic dog comes into contact with the offending allergen(s), their body creates a skewed immune response leading to an allergic reaction. It is worth mentioning that the symptoms of CAD are very similar to those caused by food allergies or flea allergies and some patients may be affected by more than one condition. Your veterinarian is your best resource for determining if CAD is the cause of your dog’s itchiness.

Traditional Treatments for CAD

In an ideal world, allergic dogs would avoid the allergens they are sensitive to, but CAD allergens are often airborne and thus, even staying indoors does not eliminate exposure. Frequent bathing is helpful in removing the allergens from the skin and allergy desensitization injections can be tailored to each dog after extensive allergy testing is performed, however both of these treatments require much time and effort that some families may not be able to accommodate. While more innovative treatments have been developed in recent years such as oral medications or canine antibody injections, truly effective treatment options remain limited, may be expensive, and do not cure the condition but rather control the “itchiness” symptom. CAD is a lifelong disease that will require lifelong management.

Stem Cells for CAD – Mechanisms of Action

One tool that stem cells utilize is immunomodulation, or the ability to modify the immune response. Since there is an immune component to atopic dermatitis, it is theorized that stem cells can down-regulate a dog’s immune response and therefore, his/her body may not overreact to specific allergens and he/she will not become overly itchy.

Stem Cells for CAD – The Research is Limited

There are very few studies on the use of adipose derived stem cells to treat canine atopic dermatitis. And the two most relevant studies reached conflicting results. While one study showed no significant improvement of clinical signs or symptoms, the second study showed significant improvement. In addition, results from the second study lasted for at least six months. Because studies are limited, we can not say for certain that stem cells improve symptoms in dogs with atopic dermatitis.

What about anecdotal evidence?

Multiple veterinarians have utilized VetStem Cell Therapy for atopy in both dogs and cats. Some veterinarians have reported an improvement in symptoms after treatment with stem cells. In some cases, patients have required less allergy medication than before stem cell therapy. That being said, some patients have not experienced improvement in symptoms. So, while we can’t say that stem cells will help every dog with atopic dermatitis, we do believe that some benefit from treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy based on the responses reported from the veterinarians and owners who have implemented it.  

As always, it is important to note that each patient is different and therefore some may not respond at all to stem cell therapy. If you think your allergic dog may benefit from treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy, speak to your veterinarian or contact us to find a VetStem provider in your area.

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Mar 19, 2021

Trinity Receives VetStem Cell Therapy for Feline Kidney Disease

Based on 15+ years of data, veterinarians primarily use VetStem Cell Therapy to treat dogs and horses. But cats have also benefited from stem cell therapy. In previous blogs, we have discussed stem cell therapy for various diseases in cats. For a good overview, read this blog.

VetStem Cell Therapy for Feline Kidney Disease

VetStem has processed nearly 400 feline fat samples to provide stem cells. Of these samples, over 50% have been for cats with kidney disease. Unfortunately, kidney failure may be the number one cause of sickness and death in older cats. Yet treatment options are limited and do not cure the disease.

Veterinarians have been treating feline kidney disease with VetStem Cell Therapy for over a decade. And we have seen some promising results! But nothing is as good as hearing about a kitty who experienced those results firsthand. This is Trinity’s story.

Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment Plan

Trinity is a ragdoll cat who was diagnosed with renal failure when she was twelve years old. She had several symptoms including vomiting, not eating, lethargy, weakness, and weight loss. She was uninterested and spent a lot of time hiding. Her mom worked with several vets to find an effective treatment protocol for Trinity, but she continued to feel bad, and her blood kidney values kept going up.

Eventually, Trinity’s mom found Dr. Tamera Cole at The Animal Hospital at Steiner Ranch. Dr. Cole started Trinity on fluids and multiple medications to ease her symptoms and support her kidneys. Though Trinity’s mom noticed improvement, she continued to research additional treatment options.

Treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy

In her research, Trinity’s mom came across VetStem Cell Therapy and brought it up to Dr. Cole. Dr. Cole was already credentialed to perform the VetStem procedure and agreed that stem cell therapy may help Trinity.

She moved forward with the process and collected a sample of fat tissue from Trinity in a minimally invasive anesthetic procedure. The fat was processed at the VetStem laboratory and Trinity’s stem cells were extracted, concentrated, and divided into doses for treatment. Trinity received an intravenous dose of her own stem cells approximately 48 hours after the initial fat collection procedure. She went on to receive a second intravenous dose approximately two weeks later.

A brown and white ragdoll cat sitting in front of a computer looking at the camera
Trinity

Trinity Gets Her Quality of Life Back

After stem cell therapy, Trinity’s owner maintained the previous treatment protocol with fluids and medications. Several months later, Dr. Cole tested Trinity’s blood work which showed no signs of kidney disease!

Her owner continued the treatment protocol and Trinity remained healthy, started eating again, and gained back all the weight she lost and more. Trinity’s mom stated, “I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to spend so many more years with Trinity. She is a continuous blessing in my life and as you can see from the picture, still shows up to work every day at my home office.”

Trinity is among several cats who have benefitted from VetStem Cell Therapy for kidney disease. Based upon data from a small number of feline patients treated with VetStem Cell Therapy, blood kidney values were slightly to moderately improved after treatment. More evaluation is necessary, however these preliminary results suggest that stem cell therapy may be a viable treatment option for cats with kidney disease.

If your cat is suffering with kidney disease, speak to your veterinarian or contact us to receive a list of VetStem providers in your area to determine if VetStem Cell Therapy may help your cat.

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Mar 12, 2021

VetStem Cell Therapy for Canine Muscle Injuries

March 13th is National K9 Veterans Day. This unofficial holiday was created to commemorate the service and sacrifices of all United States military and working dogs. Last year we shared the story of stem cell recipient Lex, the bomb-sniffing German Shepherd who was injured while on tour in Iraq. You can read Lex’s story here.

Honoring Police Dogs for K9 Veterans Day

For this year’s blog, we decided to focus on working dogs, or, more specifically, police dogs. These hard-working dogs must undergo intense training to become specialized in things such as explosive and drug detection as well as search and rescue. Two of the most utilized breeds are German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois.

Police officer in bullet proof vest with rifle and a Belgian Malinois Police Dog
Officer Washington with K-9 Jago

Due to the nature of their work, police dogs, otherwise known as K-9s, experience increased wear and tear on their joints, muscles, and other soft tissue structures. This may lead to osteoarthritis or injuries. If an injury is bad enough, early retirement can become inevitable. And at a price of $8,000+ per dog plus another $12,000 to $15,000 in training costs, it is important to keep these K-9s healthy and agile.

Muscle Injuries in Police Dogs

Muscle injuries are not uncommon in working and agility dogs. One injury we see in the K-9 is an injury to 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.

VetStem Cell Therapy for Semitendinosus Myopathy

When a disease or condition lacks effective treatment options, we often wonder if stem cell therapy may help. So, as we are known to do, we investigated the use of stem cells for semitendinosus myopathy. And the results were incredibly promising! In a study of eight working police K-9s diagnosed with semitendinosus myopathy, treatment with VetStem Cell Therapy helped all eight dogs return to active police work. In addition, each dog’s gait returned to normal.

As with any condition, each patient is different. And VetStem Cell Therapy may not be the best option for all patients. If your dog has experienced a muscle injury, speak to your veterinarian to determine if VetStem Cell Therapy may help your dog. Or contact us to find a VetStem provider in your area.

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