A University of Kentucky graduate, Wilkie said the lab has seen tremendous increase in clientele, as well. Currently, the facility banks approximately 600 different animal stem cells that account for more than 2,000 samples from all across the country and Canada.
“In September, we received a sample from Alaska,” she said. “That now gives us an animal from each of the 50 states.”
Stem-cell regenerative therapy has been used to treat everything from a mouse to an elephant, and Wilkie said they may soon do the procedure on a dolphin.
The company’s blooming success boils down to its devolvement of advanced technologies in extracting, activating and storing stem cells that have cut the cost by one-third of their competitors, CEO Jeremy Delk said.
MediVet’s research and developments has made the procedures and other services they offer economically viable to the average pet owner, he said.
“When we started out, we wanted to help millions of animals suffering in pain, and we wanted to do it with regenerative medicine,” Delk said. “We also wanted to do it in a way that was economical.”
MediVet’s method gets between 20 million and 30 million cells, which is about 100 times more than the competition, Delk said. Not only does it get more cells but 95 percent are viable after frozen compared to 70 percent of the industry standard, he said.
“There are other technologies around the world, but it is quite expensive,” Delk said. “We didn’t want it to be a niche therapy where only people with a lot of money could afford it. We want not only what’s best for the patients but the owners’ pocketbooks.”
Stem cells are the body’s natural regenerative process, and by harvesting healthy cells they can be reintroduced to help in the healing process. Using MediVet kits, veterinarians can perform the extraction procedure on animals in their own clinic, and the whole process only takes a few hours.
The cost is between $1,700 and $1,800 on average in the Bluegrass region but as much as $2,000 around the country depending on the vet doing the procedure and the animal’s need, Delk said.
That cost is for a one-time procedure but is offset when you look at the methods used now to treat arthritis and other joint degenerative diseases, he said.
“Say it’s $5 to $6 a day over a year for medication to treat an animal with arthritis, plus the special dietary needs and supplements ... that can be well over $1,700,” Delk said. “That is a constant cost just to put a Band-Aid over the underlying problem. This procedure, at a similar cost, shoots for 18-24 months of pain relief plus the regenerative healing process. So, it’s less cost for longer results that heal and not just mask the problem.”
Another program that has contributed to MediVet’s sky rocketing success began in November 2011 and is called “Bank Now, Save Later.”
This teaches and enables outside veterinarians to take 5-20 grams of adipose tissue (about a tablespoon) during a spay or neuter of a juvenile animal that will be banked until a later date.
As the animal gets older, if it begins to suffer from degenerative joint diseases, the stem cells that have been saved can be injected back into the joints. The pet owner pays for the cost of storage and for the procedure done by the vet.
The buildings located in Nicholasville now are the executive office and sales office, but a new addition will soon bring more jobs to the county and more growth for local veterinarians.