Stemcell Safarivet

How Can I Get Stem Cells for my Pet as Soon as Possible?

Safari Veterinary Care Centers offers a consultative service that allows our remote clients to treat their pets for IMHA or ITP with stem cell therapy through their local veterinarian or internist. Our doctors will consult with your local veterinarian or internist about your pet’s case so that even if you don’t live close to us, you can still access this life saving treatment.

Stem cells can be overnight shipped to your veterinarian to administer intravenously to your pet for IMHA or ITP and other immune mediated diseases. Because the dose and treatment plan are tailored specifically to your pet, your case will first be evaluated by our doctors.

If your pet has been diagnosed with primary IMHA or ITP, you will need to have the pet’s records emailed to us so that our doctors can evaluate your case to be certain the pet is a good candidate for the cells (see FAQ’s below.) While your pet may be a good candidate for stem cell therapy, your pet may not, however, be a good candidate for the surgical procedure required for harvesting his own (autologous) stem cells. Your pet also may not be able to wait for the expansion of these cells to therapeutic numbers, as it takes a few weeks to grow enough cells for a therapeutic dose. Therefore, we offer allogenic stem cells from donor pets that are effective and available right now.

Once we determine that your pet is a good candidate for stem cells we will consult with you on the phone to be sure your questions are answered and see if you’d like to proceed. If so, you will set up an appointment with your vet for the cells to be administered and request a ship date from Safari. We will take your payment over the phone and arrange to ship the cells to your veterinarian. We will then follow up with you and/or your vet to determine if and when your pet requires any more cells.

Please read through the list of Frequently Asked Questions below for more information.

Please provide us with the following information to get started. A Safari representative will be in touch with you as soon as possible.


What is the cost?

The stem cells are $1000 plus $250 for overnight shipping throughout the U.S. per round of cells. Your vet will also charge a fee to catheterize your pet and administer the cells and possibly also a visit fee.

Are there any tests that should be done prior to stem cell therapy?

In addition to the diagnostic tests already completed to confirm your pet’s diagnosis, we recommend an abdominal ultrasound and/or abdominal x-rays to rule out the presence of any active tumors.

How many rounds of stem cells will my pet need?

While we have experienced complete remission with only 1 round, our current recommendation is for your pet to receive at least 2 rounds of cells. Each case is evaluated individually after the first round of cells to determine this. Our doctors at Safari will consult with your vet to make this determination based on the pet’s blood work and how well your pet is responding. We have had cases that have required multiple rounds of cells. These cases, however, usually involve damage to the precursor cell lines in the bone marrow and present as non-regenerative. Therefore if your pet is regenerative (i.e., producing a sufficient amount of red blood cells), two to three rounds are needed on average. If your pet is non-regenerative, more rounds will likely be needed. In either case, there is no way to predict this ahead of time.

My pet is very ill and currently hospitalized. Does he need to “stabilize” before getting the cells?

No. The sicker your pet is, the sooner he needs stem cells! Stem cells are not hard on the body like blood transfusions, and, in fact, will help your pet feel better overall. As long as your pet’s pcv is above 12%, the cells can be given without requiring a blood transfusion. (Your vet may feel more comfortable at a higher level.) If the pcv is lower than 12%, a blood transfusion is needed, although the pet can receive stem cells immediately afterward. We recommend getting stem cells into your pet early in their treatment so the cells can begin to reset the immune system and stop the red cell destruction as early as possible.

Where do the cells come from? Does my vet need to send my pet’s fat tissue to you first?

No, your vet does not need to take a sample of your pet’s fat tissue. Since most dogs with IMHA are too ill to tolerate surgery, we keep stem cells on hand, ready to ship. Safari stem cells are taken from abdominal fatty tissue of donor dogs in our hospital who come in for routine spays. They are young, healthy dogs whose stem cells are vibrant and reproduce quickly. We keep the cells alive in our lab until they are shipped and do not freeze them. These cells are universally donatable without issue and are put through viability checks and live cell counts to be sure the dose is correct for your pet.

How do I go about getting the cells?

You will request the cells directly through Safari by filling out the questionnaire here on our website. Have your pet’s records available or be ready to have your vet send them to You may also call us at 281-332-5612 with further questions if you’d like. Please ask to speak with our stem cell liaison.

How far in advance do I need to order the cells?

We ask that you give us at least a 24 hr notice ahead of your requested delivery date. Because we use overnight shipping through UPS and FedEx, we are only able to ship Mondays through Fridays for delivery Tuesdays through Saturdays. Shipments usually arrive between 10:00 and 10:30 am. The cells must be administered the day they arrive and cannot be stored for later use.

Does my vet arrange everything for me?

Your vet’s involvement is to manage your pet’s case and administer the stem cells intravenously. We ask that you make all the purchasing and shipping arrangements with us. The cells will be shipped to your vet. You will need to have an appointment set up with your vet after 10:00 am the day the cells are scheduled to arrive.

Do I pay my vet or Safari?

You will pay Safari directly for the stem cells. Your vet will also charge you to administer the cells. When we are ready to take payment, we will contact you and take your payment information over the phone. We accept major credit cards, Care Credit, and ScratchPay.

Can I order multiple rounds of stem cells in just one shipment?

Since the cells will only live for about 72 hours after leaving our lab, they need to be administered to the pet the day they arrive. Therefore, only one round can be shipped at a time.

How do I find a vet to administer the cells?

Stem cell therapy is not yet taught in vet school and most vets who now use stem cells usually only treat arthritis and sports injuries. This means your vet will most likely not be aware that a supply of stem cells is available to them or even what these cells can do for the immune system. Because of this, you will need to ask your local vet or internist if they will give the cells to your pet intravenously. We will help by providing information for you to pass along to your vet that details how stem cells work with the immune system as well as our administration protocols. We will work with your vet to answer any of their questions.

Do you have a network or list of vets that you work with throughout the country so I can select one in my area to call?

We do not have a list of vets that we work with. Instead, we depend on our clients to speak with their local vet or internist about giving the cells. We are happy to let you know if we’ve previously worked with a vet in your area that you may then contact.

Can you send me instructions on how to give the cells so I can show my vet?

We are happy to give you our administration protocols to share with your vet. It simply involves placing an I.V. catheter and extender tube if needed the day the cells are to be administered.

Does my vet need special skills/certification/equipment?

No. All that is needed is to have an I.V. catheter placed and the cells can be given by a vet or vet tech. No other equipment is needed.

Can my pet stay on his current medications?

Yes – pets need the immunosuppressants to help stop the cell destruction as soon as possible. Therefore, we recommend that your pet continue with his current medications while receiving the stem cells. Stem cells and medications are not mutually exclusive and can be given at the same time. Your vet will continue to monitor your pet’s case and wean them off their meds as their pcv and other elements of their blood work return to normal. We will consult with your vet as needed.

Can my pet wean off his meds more quickly after getting stem cells?

While we have seen some of our stem cell patients able to wean off their medications more quickly than non-stem cell patients, most pet parents are not in a rush to do so. Since our remote patients’ care is managed by their local vets, we do not set their weaning schedules. Because of this, we simply do not have the data. Your vet will provide a plan to get your pet off the drugs once their bloodwork is back in the normal ranges for approximately a month. This is usually done by cutting the medications back by 25% every month.

Are there any side effects or risks involved with stem cell therapy?

Stem cells are naturally present in the body; we simply send in “reserves.” Therefore, they are all natural and are not harmful like drugs can be. There is a slight chance of allergic reaction, although this is very rare. This reaction is not to the stem cells themselves, but to the bovine serum the cells are fed to keep them alive in our lab. The stem cell infusion can be stopped if any reaction is seen and the pet can be given a Benadryl injection. The pet can also be pre-treated with Benadryl if you or your vet prefers.

Is there a risk of rejection?

Unlike blood transfusions or organ donation which must be matched, stem cells are universally donatable. These donor cells do not “remember” where they came from and only await instructions from their new environment to start working. Therefore, your pet will not reject the cells.

How do I know if my pet qualifies for stem cells?

Before shipping the cells, our doctors will review and evaluate your pet’s records. We will be looking to see that the pet has been diagnosed with primary IMHA and that there are no complicating factors. We recommend the pet be screened for active tumors through abdominal radiographs or ultrasound. A bone marrow aspirate is not required. It does not matter if your pet is critically ill or stable; the cells can and should still be administered.

What is your success rate?

With over 50 IMHA patients treated with stem cell therapy, we experience at least a 75% rate of remission. A much higher percentage of our regenerative patients go into remission. Theoretically, pets should not relapse after their stem cell treatment is completed, although studies are needed to prove this assumption. We have not experienced relapse in any of our regenerative patients who finished their treatment with us in almost 3 years.

How are the cells administered?

The cells are administered through an I.V. catheter by your vet or vet tech.

How long does it take to give the cells to my pet?

The cells are given at the rate of 1ml per minute, so it depends on the size of the dog. On average, this takes about 30 minutes for a small dog and an hour for larger dogs.

Does my pet need to stay overnight afterward?

Not unless the pet is already hospitalized or if a blood transfusion has been given recently and the pet needs to be watched. Your vet will make this determination, but generally pets do not need to be watched or kept overnight following stem cell therapy.

Does my pet need to be sedated to receive the stem cells?

No, your pet will not need to be sedated to get the cells.

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