Pet Library

Regenerative Stem Cell Therapy


Vet-Stem or regenerative stem cell therapy is a process which uses your own animals’ natural healing cells from fat tissue. These stem cells are capable of turning into or differentiating into a variety of tissue types including tendon, ligament, bone, cartilage, and muscle and have been proven to reduce
pain and inflammation.

Stem cells or specifically mesenchymal stem cells are harvested from fat tissue. The fat tissue is sent to the Vet-Stem laboratory, where the stem cells are isolated and extra cells banked for future use. The cells are sent back to be injected into the areas of concern.

Current uses of stem cell therapy in dogs are:
1. Arthritis-hip, knee, elbow and shoulder joints.
2. Polyarthritis-multiple joints affected
3. Orthopedic/Soft tissue-tendon and ligament injuries
4. Post operative-hip, elbow, knee and shoulder surgeries to reduce inflammation, speed healing and decrease pain.

Certain instances where stem cell therapy may be helpful are: if your dog is no longer responding to NSAID therapy, if orthopedic surgery has been deemed not helpful, if there is polyarthritis, ligament or tendon injury, and if you are looking for a more natural and holistic approach to your pet’s therapy. Since these cells are harvested from your pet’s own tissue, rejection reactions do not occur.

It has been reported that approximately 80% of dogs have had a slight to significant response to stem cell therapy. The reported duration of effect is 3-24 months.
If you would like more information on regenerative stem cell therapy, feel free to contact us at the clinic, or visit the Vet-Stem website for animal owners.


Hematoma of the Ear in Dogs (Aural Hematoma) (Cauliflower ear)

An aural (ear) hematoma is a collection of blood, serum, or a clotted blood within the pinna (earflap). When present, the pinna will be very thick. The swelling may involve the entire pinna or it may involve only one area.

The earflap is composed of a two layers of skin surrounding a layer of cartilage. The cartilage gives the earflap its shape. Blood vessels go from side-to-side by passing through the cartilage. Violent shaking can cause the vessels to break as the skin slides across the cartilage; however, in some cases, the cause remains undetermined.

The cause of aural hematomas is unknown. Vigorous shaking of the head and ears has been thought to be responsible, yet a large percentage of affected dogs develop hematomas without shaking their head. Disease of the ear canal is also considered to play a role, but not all dogs with aural hematomas have ear disease (otitis).

Clinical Signs
Most dogs with an aural hematoma have a history of head shaking. Debris or odor may occur in the ear canal if an infection is present. However, the most consistent clinical sign is a thickened earflap.

A physical examination of the earflap is usually all that is needed to make the diagnosis.

There are two approaches to treatment: a medical approach and a surgical approach

Medical Treatment
This is the simplest and least invasive procedure; however, it is only successful 50% of the time.

The blood in the earflap is aspirated with a syringe and needle. One of several medications, often a cortisone-type drug, is injected into the space from which the blood was taken. The dog is checked in 3-7 days to assess the outcome of treatment. If an ear infection is present, it is also treated.

Surgical Treatment
The blood is removed from the pinna. This is accomplished by making an incision along the length of the hematoma and placing sutures thru both side of the ear to “tack down” the swelling. The ear is stabilized to prevent further damage by laying it on top of the dog’s head and bandaging in place. Although the bandage may be somewhat cumbersome, it will prevent further damage to the pinna and allow proper healing to progress.

The cause of the problem is diagnosed and treated. If an infection is present, medication is dispensed to treat it. However, some dogs have no infection but have foreign material (a tick, piece of grass, etc.) lodged in the ear canal. If so, the foreign material is removed. It is also possible that a foreign body initiated the shaking but was later dislodged. If that occurs, and no infection is present, further treatment of the ear canal is not needed.

The bandage is generally removed in about 3-5 days. The sutures are removed in 10-14 days.

If an infection was present, it will be necessary to recheck the ear canal to be sure that the infection is gone. Otherwise, another hematoma may occur. Also, scarring may cause the ear to be slightly deformed for the rest of the dog’s life.


Usually the prognosis is good for recovery, but it is not uncommon for the hematoma to recur at least once.

Brushing Teeth: A Home Care Guide for Pet Owner

The best time to brush a cat’s teeth is in the evening when both you and your pet are relaxed. If your cat growls, bites, scratches, or show any signs of aggression during the procedure, stop immediately and consult your veterinarian for professional advise. Remember cats can be more sensitive to new things, so take each step slowly and allow the cat to become familiar with what you are doing.


  • Gently position cat in the corner of a sofa or chair so that he will be secure and more easily handled. Carefully lift the cat’s lip to expose his teeth.

  • Slide a finger brush onto your index finger and put a small amount of toothpaste on the brush. Gently rub the brush over the cat’s teeth and gums. If necessary, repeat this process in the next brushing session. Because finger brushes don’t reach the gum line, they should be used for as short of a time as necessary.

  • Rub your finger over the cat’s teeth and gums for a minute or so. This will get the cat used to having something in his mouth. It might be necessary to do this a couple of days before going on to the next step.

  • When using a toothbrush use the smallest size available. Apply a small amount of toothpaste to a bristle brush. Place the brush bristles at a 45 degree angle to the gum line. Move the brush gently in circular pattern over the cat’s teeth. Start by brushing a few teeth. As the brushing sessions continue, slowly include more teeth. Teeth should also be brushed in a back and forth motion. Build up to about 30 seconds on each side of the cat’s mouth.

  • Put a small amount of toothpaste specially formulated for pets on your finger and allow the pet to taste it.

  • If the cat refuses to accept the toothbrush or finger brush, try using a piece of gauze wrapped around your finger with toothpaste on it.

Tips for Success:
• Brush your cat’s teeth at least 2 or 3 times per week.
• Concentrate on the outside of the teeth.
• Praise the cat frequently during the procedure.
• Good luck!

Cruciate Ligament Injury and Repair in Dogs

The knee (stifle) joint of the dog is one of the weakest in the body. Just as athletes (football players, in particular) frequently suffer knee injuries, the dog also has knee injuries. When severe twisting or excessive extension of the joint occurs, the most common injury is a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). When it is torn, instability occurs that allows the bones to move in an abnormal fashion in relation to one another. When this happens, it is not possible to bear weight on the leg without it collapsing.

Contributing Factors
A special note is appropriate concerning the dog’s weight. Obesity or excessive weight can be a strong contributing factor in cruciate rupture. The ligament may become weakened due to carrying too much weight; this causes it to tear easily. Obesity will make the recovery time much longer, and it will make the other knee very susceptible to cruciate rupture. If your dog has a weight problem, there are prescription diets that can be used to assist weight reduction.

Rupture of the ACL is most common in middle aged and older dogs, particularly those that are overweight house pets.

In younger dogs, rupture of the ACL is usually the result of trauma to the stifle joint. In some cases, the ligament may only partially tear; however, this will eventually lead to complete tearing of the ligament. When ACL rupture occurs in older dogs, it is most frequently initiated by a progressive degenerative change in the ligament with eventual total rupture.

Clinical Signs
Dogs with a ruptured ACL are usually lame and may refuse to bear weight on the affected leg. Eventually, most dogs become more willing to bear weight but some degree of lameness remains.

The most reliable means of diagnosing this injury is to move the femur and tibia in a certain way to demonstrate the instability. This movement is called a “drawer sign.” It can usually be demonstrated with the dog awake. If the dog is very painful, has very strong leg muscles, or is uncooperative, it may be necessary to use sedation in order to examine the joint adequately.

Correction of ACL rupture requires surgery. A skilled surgeon can fashion a replacement ligament and stabilize the joint so it functions normally or near normally. If surgery is not performed within a few days to a week, arthritic changes will begin that cannot be reversed, even with surgery.

Occasionally, the injury that causes a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament will also result in tearing of one or both of the menisci or “cartilages.” At the time of surgery, these are examined and removed if necessary.

Following proper and prompt surgical correction, the joint is sound again. Most dogs walk and run without any lameness; however, some have either a mild limp or lameness associated with cold and damp weather.

Occasionally, a dog that has a ruptured cruciate ligament will become sound (will no longer limp), even if surgery is not performed. However, progressive, degenerative arthritis will develop and result in lameness a few months later. Once these degenerative changes are established, the lameness cannot be corrected, even with surgery.