Jun 22, 2018

Stem Cell Therapy and Pain Relief

Posted by Bob under pain in pets, stem cell therapy

In our recent blog about Ben receiving stem cell therapy after having bladder stones removed, we briefly mentioned the effect of stem cells on inflammation.  We know that stem cells have anti-inflammatory properties.  By reducing the inflammation, the stem cells are also reducing pain associated with the inflammation.  Just like when you take ibuprofen for your headache or aching joints.

Several recent studies have pointed to the effects of stem cell therapy on pain.  Not only are stem cells anti-inflammatory, they have also been shown to have pain blocking cytokines (small, secreted proteins), which can have opioid-like effects.

Experts point out that the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that we give our dogs do not provide complete relief from the pain associated with osteoarthritis.  We also know that NSAID use can lead to gastrointestinal upset and organ damage, which is why most veterinarians advise against long-term use of NSAIDs.

So where does stem cell therapy come in?  While current literature supports that stem cells have multiple modes of action that can address both acute and chronic pain, it’s generally not the first “tool” that a veterinarian reaches for.  Autologous stem cell therapy, where a patient receives his own stem cells, has the advantage of being a readily available and natural source of anti-inflammatory and pain controlling factors.  When administered aseptically, autologous stem cell therapy has almost no risk of reaction.  Our goal is to inform both pet owners and veterinary professionals about the capabilities of stem cells so that they become a first line of defense, rather than a last-ditch effort.

If you’re wondering whether your pet may benefit from stem cell therapy, contact VetStem for a list of veterinary stem cell providers in your area.

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Jun 15, 2018

In Loving Memory of Knuckles, The Bubble Chasing Bulldog

It’s always a sad day when we learn of one of our patients passing away.  We recently learned that Knuckles, an English bulldog, passed away suddenly in early April.  This particular passing pulled on our heartstrings a little extra, as some of us were lucky enough to meet Knuckles and witness his success with stem cell therapy and platelet therapy in person.

Knuckles’ case was a bit different than our standard osteoarthritis case in that Knuckles was also dealing with a chronic infection in the affected joint.  This is known as septic arthritis.  His right stifle, or knee, had become badly infected after a failed surgery to repair a torn cruciate ligament and luxating patella.  Knuckles spent 2 years in pain, taking various medications, and going to rehabilitation appointments.  While his rehab helped him regain some muscle mass in his bad leg, he continued to be lame and in pain so his loving owner, Sarah, took him for a consult with Dr. Holly Mullen at VCA Emergency Animal Hospital and Referral.

Dr. Mullen recommended VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy along with the Pall V-PETTM, a platelet enhancement therapy system that is distributed by VetStem.  After a month of antibiotics to clear the infection in his knee, Knuckles received stem cells and platelet therapy.  In his follow up appointments, it was apparent that he had a terrific response to the therapy.  He became more active and was in less pain, so much so that he was able to discontinue his pain medications.  You can read about Knuckles’ experience with stem cells and platelet therapy here.

At first this blog was meant to be our usual “success story” blog.  When I began writing it, I pulled up Knuckles’ record in our database and saw that he was deceased.  It immediately made me sad, as he is well known around the office and has been a VetStem “poster child” so to speak.  That’s when I thought that perhaps a memorial to Knuckles would be nice.  He was certainly a special pup, loved very much by his family and all those who were lucky enough to know him.

One of his favorite activities was chasing bubbles.  Before his stem cell and platelet therapy, his leg kept him from being able to do this.  After the treatment, he was not only back to chasing bubbles, he began chasing lizards and squirrels in his new backyard!  He loved running around the yard and chasing the critters, all the while digging up mom’s plants.  She didn’t mind though.  In fact, when I reached out to Sarah to get her permission to write this blog, she informed me that he passed doing just that.  While sad, I couldn’t help but smile envisioning Knuckles’ big bulldog face covered in dirt with that silly bulldog smile.

Knuckles will be sorely missed, that is for sure.  But perhaps his legacy can live on in his story and his experience with stem cells and platelet therapy.  If his story reaches just one person who is searching for treatment options for their dog with a similar condition, then we’ve succeeded at carrying on his legacy.

Run free big guy!

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Jun 8, 2018

Dr. Harman’s Dog, Ben, Treated with VetStem Cell Therapy

Posted by Bob under Dog Stem Cells

As you have all gathered from past blogs, Ben is my border collie hiking buddy and also my hearing assist dog for my high frequency hearing loss!  He is an expert at detecting rattlesnakes on the trail.  I was all set for a great 4 day hiking adventure in the Sierra Nevada mountains when he got his first bladder stone urethra block.  That means he had bladder stones and several plugged up his urethra and he could not urinate.  He just lifted his leg and looked at me asking, “What is wrong Dad?”

After the first check with a specialist it was determined that he had a rather rare type of stone that was likely caused or made worse by bladder inflammation.  They unblocked him.  Within a week he blocked again and this time needed surgery in which we flushed out 50 stones!  Wow.  Very rare in such a young dog (5 years old).  Since we had to do a surgery, I took the opportunity to have fat collected to isolate his stem cells.  And because the surgeon said his bladder was inflamed and possibly infected, we gave him an IV dose of his own stem cells 2 days after the surgery.  As you all know, stem cells migrate to areas of inflammation and help “turn it off” and are also great at producing natural antibiotics.

It has been nearly a year now and Ben is back hiking (and lifting his leg on everything).  No signs of infection or stones.  Chronic inflammation of any kind is hard to control and causes fibrosis, or in this case, stones to possibly form.  I believe in the coming years we will begin using stem cells for many more types of inflammation like in the lungs, kidneys and even liver.  Two recently published studies show that stem cells can be given for dry eye in dogs and mouth inflammation (gingival stomatitis) in cats!

Check with your vet and find out what kinds of conditions might respond to stem cell therapy and keep your walking or hiking buddy in top shape for new adventures!

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Jun 1, 2018

KC’s Quality of Life Improved After Stem Cell Therapy

Posted by Bob under dog arthritis, Dog Stem Cells

KC was a fortunate golden retriever.  Though his breed is prone to osteoarthritis, KC managed to make it to 10 years old before he began to show symptoms of the disease.  His owner, Krista, noticed he was limping and knuckling on one of his back paws.  Having seen a news segment on stem cell therapy for animals, Krista visited Dr. Lillian Rizzo who determined KC had hip dysplasia in addition to osteoarthritis in his right hock. 

In 2008, KC was treated with VetStem Cell Therapy and Krista reported it took less than 2 weeks before he started to show signs of improvement such as swimming, running, and chasing his ball.

Approximately 1 year after KC’s initial treatment, he received a second round of stem cell injections because he had begun to slow down a bit.  Stem cell therapy helped him to live comfortably for the last 5 years of his life.  Read more details about KC’s stem cell therapy here.

Contact VetStem for more information about stem cell therapy for the treatment of osteoarthritis or to receive a list of veterinary stem cell providers in your area.

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May 25, 2018

Meet the VetStem Customer Service Team!

Posted by Bob under VetStem Biopharma

Here at VetStem, we pride ourselves on providing the best possible customer service.  From veterinarians and veterinary professionals to animal owners, we want all of our customers and potential customers to feel like they are more than just “clients” of VetStem.  We understand you entrust us with your patient’s and your pet’s stem cells and we take that job very seriously.

Our wonderful customer service team acts as the first line of communication between VetStem and our customers.  They are available to answer questions and address any concerns you may have via phone or email.  If they can’t answer your questions, they will get you to someone who can.  They also schedule and manage data entry for all stem cell processes, take and send out product orders, process payments, and so much more!

Please meet the lovely ladies of the VetStem Customer Service team, whose names (and voices) you may already know:

VeronikaFirst and foremost, I am the very proud Mom of two fabulous kids: Madelyn and James. My fur-children are Joey (a Friesian/Percheron mare), Cheddar (a retired Criollo polo pony) and Gryffyn (a Ragdoll cat). Animals have always been at the center of my life and I love being part of a company that helps so many animals and their owners. I joined VetStem in August of 2017 and have spent many years working in veterinary clinics and boarding kennels, as well as a dairy and an exotics/wildlife education company. I grew up in 4H and have raised and shown rabbits, sheep, cattle and horses and have a degree in Dairy Science. When not at work, I can be found with my kids, at the barn, or indulging in my photography hobby.

WhitneyPets have always been my passion, and I have been fortunate enough to spend my entire career in the field, from retail, to veterinary, to boarding, and now in biotech. I enjoy my job at VetStem immensely and am proud to have been a part of helping so many animals for the last decade.  I currently have six dogs (a Great Dane, a Border Collie, an Australian Shepherd, an Aussie mix, and two Mini Aussies), two cats, and a Pionus Parrot who has been with me for 30 years. I am a big movie/entertainment buff and I like to spend my time off at the beach or at Disneyland with my daughter.

Jennifer – “Thank you for calling VetStem, this is Jennifer. How can I help you?” That is the first thing you will hear when calling. I have been in customer service at VetStem for 3 years. I love helping the animals and seeing all the good we can do. I am a mom of 2 boys, a tabby cat named Lzzy, and a red dog named Maddie. In my free time I enjoy jewelry making, sewing, hiking, running 5k’s, recycling and picking up trash on my outings in my neighborhood.

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May 18, 2018

Baxter Experiences Long-Term Relief After Stem Cell Therapy

Posted by Bob under dog arthritis, Dog Stem Cells

Just another day, just another golden retriever with arthritis…

Today’s blog is about Baxter, a golden retriever that was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in both of his hocks, or ankles, at just 1 year of age.  He began displaying some of the common symptoms of arthritis early on such as trouble with stairs and jumping, difficulty getting up from a lying down position, and not wanting to go on walks.  Luckily his owner sought treatment and at 2 years of age,  Baxter received VetStem Cell Therapy under the care of Dr. Joey Yazer at Cobequid Animal Hospital.

After treatment, Baxter was able to resume his normal activities including walking on the beach and jumping on the couch to snuggle with his canine companions.  Baxter responded so well to stem cell therapy, that he hasn’t required a re-treatment since March of 2015!  According to his owner, he continues to live a normal and happy dog life.  Read the rest of Baxter’s story here.

Golden retrievers are not the only dogs that are prone to arthritis.  Statistics show that an estimated 1 out of 5 dogs will get arthritis.  If your dog is displaying some of the symptoms of arthritis or has already been diagnosed, contact VetStem today to get a list of veterinary stem cell providers in your area.

 

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May 11, 2018

Dr. Bob Harman Speaks at Stem Cell Conference in Costa Rica

Posted by Bob under Stem Cell Industry

Two weeks ago, there was an historic international stem cell meeting for veterinarians in Costa Rica.  I was an invited speaker to provide an overview of the last 20 years of veterinary stem cell research and clinical use.  Senior veterinarians from Argentina, Brazil, Guatemala, Costa Rica and the United States attended for two full days of lectures and discussions.  There was a large focus on dogs and cats and how stem cells are being used to successfully treated arthritis, eye diseases, kidney failure and many others.  It was exciting to see that the use of stem cells in our animals has expanded around the globe and that we have colleagues everywhere that are expanding the field.

Additionally, an international veterinary stem cell association was formed, IACERVET (International Association of Cellular and Regenerative Veterinary Therapies).  There are members from around the world including Europe.  I have been asked to serve as a founding member and to serve on the guiding board of directors.  This is an amazing step towards efficient sharing of knowledge and improving care of animals!

Attached is a picture or Dr. Michelle Andrade, Dr. Natalia Luka, Dr. Luciana Benedetti, Dr. Bob Harman, and Dr. Priscilla Ortiz (association president) all founding members, signing the official association formation documents in San Jose Costa Rica.

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May 4, 2018

Cutting Horse Wins Championships After Stem Cell Treatment

AR River Playboy, aka Woody, was in bad shape when Jena purchased him.  Her veterinarian, Dr. Ian Campbell of Santa Lucia Farm, diagnosed Woody with injuries in both front suspensory ligaments.  Jena had known and loved Woody for years so despite his potentially career ending injuries, she purchased him anyway.

Dr. Campbell recommended and treated Woody with VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy.  After the treatment with stem cells, Woody underwent an extensive rehabilitation program before returning to work.  His injuries healed so well that he eventually went on to win the Central Coast Cutting Horse Association’s $15k Amateur Champion as well as the Kern County Cutting Horse Association’s $15k Amateur Champion.  A year later he won the Central Coast Cutting Horse Association’s $15k Amateur Reserve Championship.

Woody’s story is not entirely unique.  VetStem has helped many horses return to work, including Zan, whose story we shared a while ago.  If your horse has been diagnosed with a potentially career ending injury, contact Vetstem to receive a list of veterinary stem cell providers in your area.

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Apr 27, 2018

Does My Dog Have Arthritis?

Posted by Bob under dog arthritis

We know one out of five dogs suffer from arthritis.  Is your dog the one out of five?  This blog will focus on the risk factors and symptoms of arthritis to help you to determine if your dog should be evaluated by your veterinarian.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a condition in which low-grade inflammation results in pain in the joints and wearing of the cartilage that covers the bones of the joints.  When cartilage becomes worn down, the joints are no longer able to move smoothly and shock absorption is reduced making things like walking, running, and jumping more painful.  Increased pain can lead to decreased movement which may cause muscles to atrophy and ligaments to become more lax.

So, what are the risk factors for OA?  Unfortunately, a common cause of OA is dysplasia (when the joints are misshapen) which is a congenital condition that many large breed dogs are prone to.  Additional risk factors include being overweight, broken bones, infection, or just wear and tear from repetitive motion.  Your dog is also more likely to get OA as he/she ages.  Add to this the fact that pets are living longer due to the advances in veterinary medicine and we can understand why the 1 in 5 statistic is so high.

Common symptoms of OA include limping, decreased activity, and a reluctance or inability to jump.  There are several other signs of OA however it is best to consult with your veterinarian if your dog may be at risk of getting OA.  Annual exams can be a good way to catch the disease early and if any of these symptoms have a sudden onset, a visit with your vet may be in order.

If your dog has been diagnosed with OA, contact VetStem today to receive a list of veterinary stem cell providers in your area.

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Apr 20, 2018

Bernese Mountain Dog Successfully Treated for Arthritis

Our stem cell success story this week hails from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.  Meet Sheldon, a 4 year old Bernese mountain dog.  Sheldon suffered from pain and lameness in his front legs since he was a puppy.  His owners recognized his discomfort and took Sheldon to be examined by Dr. Robert Landry of Colorado Center for Animal Pain Management.  Dr. Landry determined that Sheldon had arthritis in both elbows as a result of Fragmented Coronoid Process (FCP).  As part of Sheldon’s treatment plan, Dr. Landry recommended VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy so in December of 2016, Sheldon received stem cell injections into each elbow and also intravenously.

Fast forward just over one year later and Sheldon’s owners remain pleased with his improvement since receiving VetStem cell therapy.  He is more active and is able to participate in some of his favorite activities once again.  His owners state they “are so happy with how the stem cells worked for him.”

You can read the rest of Sheldon’s story here.

Does your dog suffer from orthopedic pain, lameness, or discomfort?  Has your dog been diagnosed with arthritis?  If so, contact VetStem to find VetStem providers in your area.

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