Dr. Cindy Echevarria and Dr. Erin Curry of VCA University Animal Hospital are now offering stem cell therapy for their patients. Drs. Echevarria and Curry became credentialed to use VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy in January of this year. They are now treating patients afflicted by osteoarthritis pain and other joint issues, as well as muscle, tendon, and ligament injuries in dogs and cats using stem cells from the pets’ own fat.
So far, in just a couple of months, half a dozen patients have benefited from the cell therapy at the hospital and many owners are considering it as an alternative to more traditional treatment options.
“The dogs I have treated have showed good response. Their pain level seems improved and a few of the pets have been able to decrease their pain management medication. The owners report their pets having a much improved quality of life and being more willing to be active.” stated Dr Echevarria.
“It is very nice to have options for those patients that reduce our dependency on pain drugs. Using the body’s natural ‘repair cells’ (the adult stem cells) is an exciting new medical approach to managing osteoarthritis. OA is a debilitating condition that robs many pets of good, happy and active years of life”, added Dr Curry.
“This is real therapy, not research. The cells aren’t foreign to the body, engineered or modified in any way,” says Dr. Robert Harman, founder of VetStem and a veterinarian by trade, “Fat stem cell therapy avoids the ethical concerns surrounding embryonic stem cell use because our process uses the animal’s own fat to provide the adult stem cells.”
Voluntary surveys of dog owners indicate that more than 80% of dogs treated with VetStem Regenerative Cell Therapy for arthritis show an improved quality of life after VetStem cell therapy. More than 60% of dogs do not need re-treatment in the first year.
“We’ve seen stem cell therapy help dogs whose pain was previously so severe that they struggled to stand, jump into cars, chase balls or go up and down stairs,” says Dr. Harman. “Stem cell therapy stimulates normal healing within the injured area, spurring regeneration as well as reducing pain and inflammation.”
“Considering the cost (about $2,500 for a typical older but otherwise healthy pet), this treatment is not for everyone. Our fee is the largest portion of that cost ($1,500). We are proud to partner with veterinarians such as those from VCA University – that care so much about their patients, they are willing to forego marking up our services to make this an affordable procedure. Hospitals partnering with us typically only charge for the medical services a pet requires to get the procedure done (about $1,000 including exams, bloodwork, exams, collection surgery and joint injections to name a few)” said Dr. Nahama, President of VetStem Biopharma.
Slowing down is not a normal part of aging, and there are many options when it comes to helping pets in need, VetStem cell therapy is one that might become a standard of care in the near future.
About VCA University Animal Hospital (http://www.vcahospitals.com/university-tx)
VCA University Animal Hospital, is a prestigious clinic that serves Highland Park, University Park, Devonshire, and North Dallas area. The veterinary staff believes that the better they get to know your pets, the better they can provide health care for them. Dr. Curry has been with VCA for 13 years, and joined VCA University Hospital in 2011 as the Medical Director. She graduated in 2001 from Texas A&M. Dr. Curry is a member of the Association of Feline Practioners. Dr. Echevarria graduated from Ross University, with her clinical year at Purdue University. She then returned to the NY/NJ area to start her first position at a day/emergency practice for about a year prior to moving to Dallas in 2008. Since then, she has been working VCA University Animal Hospital during the week and an emergency clinic on the weekends.
About VetStem Biopharma
VetStem Biopharma is a veterinarian lead company that was formed in 2002 to bring regenerative medicine to the profession. This privately held biopharmaceutical enterprise, based near San Diego (California), currently offers veterinarians an autologous stem cell processing service (from patients’ own fat tissue) among other regenerative modalities. With a unique expertise acquired over the past 12 years and 11,000 patients treated by veterinarians for joint, tendon or ligament issues, VetStem has made regenerative medicine applications a therapeutic reality beyond the realm of research. The VetStem team is focused on developing new clinically practical and affordable veterinary solutions that leverage the natural restorative abilities present in all living creatures. The company’s stated mission being “to extend and enhance the lives of animals by improving the quality of recovery in acute conditions, but also by unlocking ways to slow, stop and ultimately revert the course of chronic diseases”. In addition to its’ own portfolio of patents, Vet-Stem holds exclusive global veterinary licenses to a portfolio of over 55 issued patents in the field of regenerative medicine.