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Providing Dogs With A Lifetime of Stem Cells

As many of you are aware The Burnt Hills Veterinary Hospital has been offering stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis and soft tissue injuries.  Until now, stem cells were collected from the patient under anesthesia at the time they were needed, despite age or other disability.  Many of these patients have done well.  Greater than 80% of dogs showed improved quality of life.  For orthopedic conditions, 85% of dog owners would recommend Vet-Stem Regenerative Cell Therapy.

In spite of this success, concern has centered on anesthesia and surgery for older patients.  There has also been concern that older patients also have older stem cells which may be less functional than stem cells collected from a younger patient.  A recent publication in Nature (January 3, 2012) confirms this.  Aged stem cell dysfunction was shown to have a role in aging related decline, whereas transplanted young stem cells conferred "significant lifespan and health span extension" in mice.

With this in mind, The Burnt Hills Veterinary Hospital in conjunction with Vet-Stem is offering a pilot program called StemInsure.  The idea is to collect a small sample of fat during a routine procedure (such as spay or neuter) when the patient is young, process the fat to remove the stem cells, and then freeze them effectively stopping their aging process.  (The idea is similar to saving cord blood in children and storing it for future use.)  At some point in the future when the stem cells are needed, such as treatment for arthritis, they can be thawed, cultured and expanded, and then injected for treatment. 

In a 12 year old dog, imagine the benefit of injecting 6 month old stem cells rather than 12 year old stem cells that are less healthy and less functional.

For patients that are young and healthy, but already spayed or neutered, arrangements can be made to collect their cells a single procedure.

StemInsure - Providing Dogs With A Lifetime of Stem Cells

The StemInsure service creates and banks stem cells that can be cultured to provide a lifetime of stem cell therapy for dogs.


  • During a routine procedure (spay, neuter, or dental) the veterinarian collects 5-15 grams of fat (about the size of 1-3 grapes).
  • The fat is sent overnight FedEx to Vet-Stem where it is processed and the stem cells are frozen in liquid nitrogen and stored for future culture and use.  Currently, stem cells have been shown to be viable after being frozen for greater than 14 years.

Clinical Benefits:

  • Stem cells can be collected while the patient is young and healthy.  When frozen and subsequently cultured, these cells will be as young and as functional as the day they were collected.  This avoids the deterioration that occurs with all cells, including stem cells, due to age, injury or debilitating disease.
  • Avoid a separate surgical fat collection in the future when the patients health status may make anesthesia and surgery a greater risk.
  • Provide treatment options for current approved uses (arthritis and soft tissue injuries) as well as future uses of stem cells (kidney, liver, heart, or immune mediated diseases).
  • One fat collection can provide a lifetime of stem cell therapy. 

StemInsure Cost:

  • $500.00 includes fat collection during a routine procedure (spay or neuter), processing, overnight shipping and 1 year of cell banking (frozen storage).  Anesthesia and surgical fees for the routine procedure are not included in the StemInsure fee.  Additional fees apply at the time of culture.
  • Vet-Stem will charge $50.00 per year for Banked Stem Cell storage after 12 months.  Storage is billed through Vet-Stem and they will contact you directly after 12 months.

If you have any questions regarding this service, or you would like to preserve your pet's stem cell while he is young,  

please contact Dr. Clement at  The Burnt Hills Veterinary Hospital

(518) 399-5213.

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