Caniplas in Veterinary Practice: An Interview with Ryan Cate, DVM

With its ability to assist veterinarians in treating a wide variety of conditions, including canine parvovirus infection (CPV), Caniplas has come to play an important role in veterinary practices across the United States. We sat down with Dr. Ryan Cate, owner of Riverstone Veterinary Group in Brock, Texas, who also serves as the Companion Animal Technical and Product Support Veterinarian for Plasvacc USA, to learn more from him about Plasvacc’s Caniplas product line and how he’s incorporated it into his own veterinary practice.

(The following interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.) 

How did you first get acquainted with Plasvacc?

It all started back in 2015 when one of Plasvacc’s product representatives stopped by my clinic to do some product detailing. I’d just started my own practice about two years prior and was looking for a product I could use from a gastrointestinal parvovirus point of view. In particular, the use of plasma treatments for gastrointestinal cases, parvo cases, or pancreatitis was what I was interested in. So, he gave me the product details, and I wound up incorporating Caniplas into my practice, and I had really good success. 

After that, I learned Plasvacc was looking for a technical veterinarian to serve as a resource for other veterinarians using the product, as well as to partner with in developing the product further. I started helping Plasvacc, conversing with them about the product from a private practitioner point of view, and really working to establish the main benefits of the product so I could help other veterinarians learn how effective it can be as a frontline tool in their practice and just how real the benefits it can bring to their patients are.

Having incorporated Caniplas into your practice, is it part of a standard of care for any particular diagnoses or is it used only on a case-by-case basis?

From a parvo standpoint, it still has to be case-by-case, but ultimately, it’s the owner’s decision. There’s certainly a cost concern involved, but plasma has a great amount of success, so I do try to utilize it for every parvo case or acute pancreatitis or inflammatory GI case. I try to get the owner’s consent to use Caniplas in every parvo case because I believe if it’s a case that’s caught early enough, we have success with getting those dogs out of the clinic in 24-48 hours, instead of 96 or greater when we don’t use Caniplas. And oftentimes, by helping get dogs happy and healthy much sooner, the treatment can go a long way toward paying for itself. 

When I present treatment options to patients, I say that if there’s going to be one thing that we can do which is going to have the biggest impact on their recovery, it’s administering Caniplas.

What do you see as the value proposition for using the Caniplas line of products?

The value proposition for me is stabilizing the patient faster, which we’ve seen both in real-world experience and through the last three research papers that we’ve done on this product. 

On top of that, there’s great clinical value that comes from the anti-inflammatory properties of the product that allow us to actually get these patients to respond. We stabilize their heart and I believe that we’re able to eliminate a lot of these inflammatory mediators out of the body, so instead of causing inflammation, we’re decreasing inflammation in these bodies and these processes that they’re going through. 

That’s the main factor that I look at—how do I get this patient from where we are today to healthy again faster? So, with that in mind, I believe that Caniplas, with the properties it has, the way it’s made, being the most leuko-reduced, having the inflammatory mediators, and the proprietary processes that take it a step above the basic fresh-frozen plasma that’s on the market, truly make it the best option available.

Do any specific cases come to mind where Caniplas has played a unique, important or interesting role?

There was a client that is kind of the poster child of the use case that really fixed me on this product. His name is Moose, and it was a young girl in high school that went and adopted this dog from the shelter. Two days later, the dog broke out with parvovirus, and she didn’t have the money to treat the dog so her family was going to euthanize the dog. I wound up keeping the dog despite it being pretty sick, gave him Caniplas, and kept him over the weekend. I felt bad because they signed off to euthanize the dog, but I called the girl’s dad and said, ‘Look, I couldn’t euthanize that dog, I had to try to save him, and you know, he’s doing good and he’s ready to go home.’

And so that was what wound up really convincing me that Caniplas can really increase the chance of a successful outcome. That dog was pretty sick, and he just turned around so quickly. There have been a lot of cases like that.

My belief is that if we catch it in the first 24 hours that the dog presents, with Caniplas I can get those dogs out in 24 to 48 hours instead of 96 or more.

Now, there are other dogs where, unfortunately, people linger on the case and they’ve had vomiting and diarrhea for days or weeks, then the outcome can obviously be different—but if we get on it quickly, with Caniplas and the other standard of care that we provide, they tend to turn around and we can get them home.

Do you think it’s important to have a registered, commercially available source of plasma available to your practice?

 I think the biggest thing is that, in Plasvacc, you have a company where you know that they stand behind the product. You know the type of company they are, that they stand behind their product, and you know that you have a safe, efficacious product that allows you to treat your patients with confidence. And I think that the important thing as a private practitioner is that whatever we use, we’re not doing any harm. We’re trying to help these animals and trying to do the best medicine that we can and I think that’s what this product allows us to do. 

It’s definitely reassuring that the product is registered. It’s a high bar to clear and reassures me that the proper quality assurance and safety protocols have been adhered to and that there’s a very controlled donor screening, collection and testing processes in place. I feel more confident using Caniplas over regular fresh-frozen plasma you can find at any blood bank.

How would you characterize the impact of plasma treatments like Caniplas on veterinary practice?

You know, what I think we’ve seen as a whole in veterinary medicine, is a change to where animal care is mirroring human care more and to where animals are being treated and diagnosed and worked up from a very similar standpoint to humans, and we now have the diagnostics to do that.

And on top of that, we also have the products, the medicine and the knowledge of how to get these patients better and an understanding of what we need to do that. And now, because of companies like Plasvacc, we have those products available, especially when you start talking about blood products, whether it be plasma, albumin, blood, platelets, or cryoprecipitate.

It’s encouraging to see that in even just the past five years, it’s become the norm, rather than uncommon, for general practitioners to stock fresh-frozen plasma in their practices, and dogs are only the better for it.

If you have questions about the full range of use cases for Caniplas and how to better incorporate Caniplas into your practice, Dr. Ryan Cate and the Plasvacc technical support team are more than happy to answer them here.