Press Releases

VetStem Biopharma is Pleased to Share the Success Story of Ava who was Treated with VetStem Cell Therapy by Dr. David Luck

Ava, a Newfoundland, was treated with VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy for arthritis in her knees by Dr. David Luck of Veterinary Surgical Relief Services.

2019-02-12 --

Ava, a 115-pound Newfoundland, found herself in a predicament when, at the age of three years old, she partially tore one of her cruciate ligaments. Just one year later, she suffered the same injury in the opposite knee. Ava, a mellow dog by nature, was able to recover without surgical intervention and resumed her normal activities without any noticeable pain. Then, another setback. Around age six, while running hard, she suddenly began limping and did not want to put weight on her left rear leg. According to her owner, Alyson, she struggled to get up and, once standing, hopped back and forth between her rear legs, trying to put her weight on her front legs instead. This was very painful for Alyson to watch and after there were no signs of improvement, Alyson took Ava to her veterinarian.

Ava’s veterinarian discussed performing a TPLO, a surgical option to repair the torn cruciate ligament. He also mentioned stem cell therapy as a possibility, which could be performed by a now retired traveling surgeon, Dr. David Luck of Veterinary Surgical Relief Services. After researching the TPLO procedure, Alyson decided to pursue VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy stating, “I have grown up with horses and had seen success stories of using stem cells to help ligament and tendon tears…and started researching VetStem. After all, a Newfoundland is really a mini pony.”

Alyson met with Dr. Luck to discuss stem cell therapy for Ava. After an examination and X-rays, Dr. Luck determined that Ava had moderate osteoarthritis in both knees and that she was a good candidate for VetStem Cell Therapy. In May of 2014, Ava had fat collected from her abdomen in a minimally invasive surgical procedure. The fat was packaged in a temperature-controlled shipping container and shipped overnight to the VetStem laboratory in San Diego, California. Once received, VetStem lab technicians aseptically processed the fat to extract Ava’s stem cells and create injectable doses of Ava’s own stem and regenerative cells. These injections were shipped back to Dr. Luck who received and injected them within 48 hours of the initial fat collection. Ava received one injection into each knee and also intravenously. All remaining stem cells were stored in Ava’s stem cell bank for potential future use.

Alyson noted that it took about four weeks to see significant improvement in Ava’s lameness and mobility. At six weeks post stem cell therapy, Ava could get up from lying down and walk normally. She no longer did mini-skips or awkwardly adjusted her weight between her back legs. Alyson was also able to discontinue the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication that Ava was on. Nine months after treatment, Ava was examined, and her veterinarian noted that both knees felt very strong and stable compared to before the stem cell treatment.

Approximately two years after her stem cell therapy, Ava had another mishap while playing. She began limping again and avoided putting weight on her left rear leg. Alyson waited a few months to see if she would bounce back and after no improvement, decided to have Ava retreated with her banked stem cells. In February 2017, Dr. Luck once again treated Ava’s knees as well as both elbows due to arthritis that had developed in the joints. Like before, it took about four weeks before Alyson noticed improvement in Ava’s mobility. She was able to trot and play with her sister Newfoundland and go on her normal thirty-minute walk. Prior to stem cell therapy, Alyson stated that Ava could barely go on a five-minute walk.

Just over a year and a half after Ava’s second stem cell treatment, Alyson contacted VetStem to say that Ava was still doing well. At nearly ten years old, Ava was still moving around well and had not had any anti-inflammatory medication since four weeks post her second treatment with stem cells. Alyson stated, “I can't recommend stem cell therapy enough…so many people who know her were able to see the difference in her level of comfort, which only validates her story in my eyes even more. Thank you VetStem, you truly saved my bear's life and I will always be thankful for that!”

VetStem recently reached out to Alyson to get an update on Ava. Unfortunately, Ava passed away in January 2019 due to complications from Cushing’s disease. Alyson stated that stem cell therapy was the best decision she made for Ava as it allowed her to live a happy and comfortable life. She added that she would likely pursue stem cell therapy for her next dog because of how much she believes in the treatment. When asked if it was ok to publish Ava’s story, Alyson responded, “I'd love to have her story up there because I really want other large breed dog owners to know the potential effectiveness and how much it helped my big girl and that just because they are large and age faster, there is something to help them.“

Stem cells are regenerative cells that can differentiate into many tissue types, 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 joint, it was found that stem cells reduced lameness and pain.