FAQs

VetStem Regenerative Cell technology offers new hope for debilitating diseases, life-altering injuries, fractures, joint damage, or degenerative disease. VetStem, Inc. is comprised of veterinarians, scientists and specialists who are proud to enable the application of stem cell therapies for Veterinary use. VetStem is the current world leader in providing regenerative veterinary medicine services, having assisted in the treatment of over 6,500 animals since 2002. We are proud to be pioneers in offering adult stem cell therapy options for veterinary medicine today
VetStem Cells:
  • Are derived from the animal's own fat
  • Contain high yield of mesenchymal stem cells
  • Contain many other regenerative cells that produce cytokines and growth factors
  • Able to differentiate into multiple cell types
  • Able to produce extracellular (structural) matrix
  • Available for treatment within 48 hours
Equine:
Tendon and ligament injuries
Degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)
Osteochondrosis (OCD)
Sub-chondral bone cysts
Meniscal injuries
Fractures

Canine/Feline:
Osteoarthritis
Orthopedic soft tissue injuries
Polyarthritis
Fractures

The founders of VetStem have more than 20 years of experience conducting clinical studies and operating service laboratories under FDA and USDA guidelines. VetStem processes have been validated and approved in association with leaders in human Stem Cell technology.
Staying current with the dynamic field of regenerative cell medicine is challenging. It is now well established in the scientific community that there is a high concentration of mesenchymal stem cells in fat: 100 to 500 times more than in a bone marrow aspirate. The advantage of using adipose-derived regenerative stem cells is that culturing to increase cell numbers is not necessary. As a result, cells can be returned in 48 hours after collection rather than several weeks - a critical time for healing of acute injuries before scar tissue has formed. Also Adipose is plentiful and easy to harvest.
Fresh bone marrow:
  • Consists of mostly blood (only 1 out of 50,000 cells is a mesenchymal stem cell)
  • May contain bone fragments, which is not ideal for injecting into joints, tendons, or ligaments
  • Contains variable amounts of growth factors
  • Collection method requires drilling into the bone for harvest
Bone marrow cultured stem cells:
  • Derived from a bone marrow aspirate
  • Contains only mesenchymal stem cells, not the other regenerative supporting cells
  • Requires cell culture to increase yield of mesenchymal stem cells
  • Treatment delayed due to culturing requirements
Yes. Since the cells come from and are returned back to the same animal (autologous), there is almost no risk of rejection or reaction. Although the chance of post-treatment inflammation is minimal, the process of injecting a tendon or joint with any substance carries a risk that you should discuss with your veterinarian. VetStem processes the cells in an aseptic environment and adds an antibiotic to the cell suspension before returning the cells for injection.
Clinical improvement is typically seen very quickly, often within a few days to a few weeks after initiation of regenerative cell therapy. Owners report that patients continue to improve as healing progresses.

A rehabilitation program is an important component to facilitate adequate healing.
Because of the ongoing nature of changes due to arthritis, regenerative stem cells may not permanently stop the degenerative processes. However, intra-articular regenerative stem cell administration may provide long-term anti-inflammatory effects, decrease pain, stimulate regeneration of cartilage tissue that slows the degenerative processes, and initiate healing in chronic and acute injuries. Some cases will require periodic treatment with stored (banked) doses of cells.
Because soft tissue injuries vary widely according to the amount of damage in addition to the age of the injury and the animal, healing time is variable regardless of the modality of therapy provided. VetStem's regenerative cell therapy significantly improves the quality of healing by restoring the strength and elasticity of the injured tissue rather than allowing inflexible scar tissue to prevail.

A rehabilitation program is an important component to facilitate adequate healing.
Healing of skeletal fractures is greatly enhanced with VetStem Cell therapy; decreased fracture size and clinical improvement occur more rapidly.

A rehabilitation program is an important component to facilitate adequate healing
VetStem recommends using surgery and stem cells for a full ligament tear. However, if it is a partial tear, the cells can be injected directly into the affected area.
Hip dysplasia is a congential disorder of a malformation of the joint, so the VetStem Cells will not correct or tighten the joint. However, the osteoarthritis generally associated with hip dysplasia can be treated with our therapy.
The age of an animal is not a factor in whether or not an animal will respond to stem cell therapy. Since most dogs treated are suffering from a disease of old age, osteoarthritis, more than half of the dogs treated are over the age of 8. A complete work up should be done on a dog to assess his/her overall health to determine if they are healthy enough for the minor surgical procedure
VetStem does not recommend treating degenerative suspensory ligament desmitis (DSLD) with regenerative stem cell therapy due to its diffuse and genetic nature.
Wobbler's disease is a result of vertebrae malformation compressing on the spinal cord, therefore regenerative stem cells are not an appropriate treatment as they will not correct the structural defect in the vertebral column.
Sub-chondral bone cysts have been successfully treated with VetStem Cells. Delivering stem cells into the affected cyst has been shown to increase the filling capacity of underlying bone and induce a more rapid cartilage proliferation on the joint surface compared to traditional methods. Stem cells are typically administered into the sub-chondral defect using ultrasound or digital radiography to visualize correct placement.
Research and clinical use indicate that preventing scar tissue is one of the key benefits of stem cell therapy.
Arthritis - Chronic as well as early osteoarthritis cases have experienced dramatic improvement.

Tendons and ligaments - Although early treatment is optimal, older injuries can respond well. Chronic tendon and ligament injuries with scar tissue have improved with VetStem regenerative stem cell therapy.

Fractures - VetStem suggests treatment within the first 60 days if possible.

Your veterinarian collects a small amount of fat from your animal under local or general anesthesia. The fat is shipped overnight via FedEx to the VetStem laboratory for processing, isolating, and concentrating of stem cells. The cells are then returned for implantation at the site of the injury or intravenously within 48 hours of collection.
Due to limitations in overnight delivery, VetStem suggests collections be done and shipped Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday so that stem cells can be returned safely overnight for implantation on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. Special arrangements need to be made to accommodate Saturday injection, depending on scheduling and FedEx service to your area. Please call 888-387-8361 if special arrangements are needed.
Absolutely, as long as the yield allows, extra cells will be stored. The VetStem Bank service is a specially designed tissue preservation process that prepares your animal's regenerative stem cells for long-term storage.
The cells are packaged in sterile syringes and shipped in insulated containers with cool packs that are designed to maintain a temperature within an optimal range. VetStem has performed testing on shipments and found excellent maintenance of cell viability in a variety of weather and shipping conditions.
VetStem Cell services are billed directly to the veterinarian. VetStem will not be able to provide you with an estimate of the costs of the procedure for your animal. Contact your local credentialed veterinarian for an estimate that is tailored for your animal’s needs. VetStem service includes sample processing, cell purification, initial treatment and one year of cell banking for extra doses (if cell yield permits),
Cell viability decreases with time and/or temperature. Cells should be injected on the day they are received. They should be stored in the unopened VetStem box or in a refrigerator, NOT FROZEN. Injection should take place at the maximum of 48 hours from processing. Contact VetStem if you have questions.
Degenerative joint disease: single injection into each affected joint

Tendons and ligaments: injection directly into the lesion. Ultrasound guided injection is recommended to ensure proper placement of the cells

Focal cartilage damage or OCD lesions: regenerative stem cells can be administered during/following arthroscopic surgery, or by ultrasound or digital radiographic guidance

Fractures: a single injection of regenerative stem cells into the fracture line

Steroid Administration - VetStem advises that if possible all therapeutic levels of steroids be eliminated prior to tissue collection and the use of steroids should be avoided for a minimum of 45 days post-injection.

NSAIDs - The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents does not interfere with the cell therapy, and their use is recommended to be maintained before and after injection of cells.

Antibiotics - concurrent use of systemic antibiotics as prescribed by the attending veterinarian is acceptable

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories (NSAIDs) - concurrent use is acceptable

Glucosamine and or chondroitin sulfate - concurrent use is acceptable

Hyaluronic Acid (HA) - has been shown to enhance the use of stem and regenerative cells

IRAP - is a biologic anti-inflammatory and should not be a problem if used in conjunction with VetStem Regenerative Cells

Tildren - no studies have been conducted

DO NOT MIX ABOVE PRODUCTS IN THE SAME SYRINGE AS THE REGENERATIVE CELLS.

The following may be used concurrently with regenerative cell therapy:

Acupuncture
Magnetic Therapy
Surgery
PRP may be mixed (sterily) with the regenerative cells
Steroids - Steroid therapy in general has been shown to alter the harvest of cells collected for regenerative therapy as well as diminishing the efficacy of regenerative stem cell therapy once it has been initiated. Therefore, VetStem strongly advises that if possible, all therapeutic levels of steroids be eliminated prior to tissue collection and the use of steroids should be avoided for a minimum of 45 days post-injection.

Low Level Laser Therapy - VetStem does not recommend using low level laser therapy on the treated area for 30 to 60 days following injection.

Shockwave Therapy - VetStem does not recommend using shockwave following stem cell therapy for at least 60 days because regenerative stem cells require time to reorganize and adhere. Using shockwave prior to regenerative stem cell therapy may increase the signaling process and potentially benefit the overall healing process.

Therapeutic Ultrasound - VetStem does not recommend therapeutic ultrasound for 45 days after implantation, but it may be used before treatment.

Tens Unit - VetStem does not recommend using a tens unit for 45 days after implantation, but it may be used before treatment.

Equine
VetStem has references from current literature regarding several rehabilitation programs. Since injuries and performance demands vary greatly, a personalized rehabilitation program is recommended. A conservative program that includes periodic evaluation by a veterinarian, optimal nutrition, and gradual return to work is generally suggested.

Canine
VetStem worked with a noted canine rehab therapist to develop suggested guidelines. From these we have developed a Pet Owner Rehab handout for veterinarians to complete and give to owners if appropriate for the specific dog.

Veterinarians have found tendon and ligament injuries usually respond to a single dose. Due to the chronic nature of degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis), additional doses may be required at varying intervals depending on severity, which joint is affected, and the use of the animal.
Yes. Repeated treatments are indicated in cases that respond slowly or in cases of re-injury. If additional doses of VetStem Cells have been banked, they may be used; otherwise, more cells can be grown by culturing.
VetStem believes that this therapy may have additional applications that it can alleviate. If you have an animal that is suffering from a non-current use and want to know if stem cells can be used, we suggest that you have your treating veterinarian call VetStem to speak with one of our technical service veterinarians.
Platelet-rich plasma:
  • Platelets are harvested from blood and activated just before injection
  • Platelets contain many different types of growth factors.
  • Cannot respond to cellular signals, specific tissue needs, or the severity of the injury
Equine
Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH)
Laminitis

Small Animal
Kidney disease (cats)
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Immune-mediated diseases
Gingivostomatitis (cats)

Button for literature referencesLiterature References