Press Releases

VetStem Biopharma is Pleased to Share the Success Story of KC Who Was Treated by Dr. Lillian Rizzo with Stem Cell Therapy

KC, a golden retriever, was successfully treated for arthritis in several joints by Dr. Lillian Rizzo with VetStem Cell Therapy.

2017-12-19 --

At 10 years old, KC began limping and knuckling one of his back paws. He began favoring the leg so much that he would barely walk on it. His concerned owner, Krista, took him to the vet for evaluation. Krista had seen a news special about stem cells for animals with arthritis and was hoping that KC might be a candidate for the therapy. After an examination by Dr. Lillian Rizzo, it was determined that KC had moderate hip dysplasia and severe osteoarthritis in his right hock (ankle). Dr. Rizzo had treated her patients with VetStem Cell Therapy prior to meeting KC and felt that he would be an excellent candidate for the procedure.

In September of 2008, KC received his first round of stem cell injections. Dr. Rizzo collected fat from KC’s abdomen in a procedure similar to a spay. The fat tissue was sent overnight to the VetStem Biopharma laboratory in San Diego, California for processing. Once processed, a quality control check was performed, and the injectable doses of KC’s stem cells were sent back to Dr. Rizzo. Upon receipt Dr. Rizzo injected the cells into KC’s arthritic joints.

Krista reported that it took less than 2 weeks for KC to show improvement. She stated, “he was back to his own self swimming, running, chasing balls etc.....we were amazed at the progress and extremely happy that we had our big guy back”. In a 90 day follow up evaluation, Krista reported that KC’s quality of life had significantly improved and they were able to discontinue his use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs 2 weeks post surgery. In a follow up evaluation from Dr. Rizzo, she reported that KC’s pain and lameness had decreased and he was using his affected leg normally. She stated that KC was doing “amazingly well”.

Just over a year after KC’s initial stem cell treatment, he began to slow down a bit. In October of 2009 KC received his second round of stem cell injections. VetStem had retained a bank of stored cells from KC’s initial collection, so KC did not have to undergo another fat collection procedure. Dr. Rizzo simply requested his stem cells be shipped to her on a specific date and once again injected KC’s arthritic joints. The stem cells granted KC 5 years of an improved quality of life. He lived until the age of 15 without requiring any further stem cell treatments. In a follow up correspondence with KC’s owner Krista, she stated that she would absolutely pursue stem cell therapy should she acquire another pet with similar issues.

Stem cells are regenerative cells that can differentiate into many tissue types; they are able to reduce pain and inflammation, help to restore range of motion, and stimulate regeneration of tendon, ligament and joint tissues. In a study using VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy (adipose-derived stem cells) in dogs with osteoarthritis of the hip joint it was found that regenerative cell therapy decreases patient discomfort and increases patient functional ability.

About Lillian Rizzo, DVM, DACVS
Dr. Rizzo received her veterinary degree from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2000. After she completed an internship in Phoenix, she went on to pursue a surgical residency at Oklahoma State University. Once complete, she moved back to Phoenix in 2004. In 2006, she received her board certification in surgery from the American College of Veterinary Surgery.
Dr. Rizzo has been utilizing VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy for over 10 years and has treated over 60 patients for various conditions including osteoarthritis, renal disease, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.