As portable technology has evolved, the variety and sophistication of treatment that can be performed on-site has expanded dramatically. Today we do power dentistry, endoscopic injections of ethmoid hematoma in the back of the nose, and twin reductions utilizing ultrasound visualization. The sacroiliac joint and the articular facets (joints) in the neck can also be injected using ultrasound guidance and the navicular bursa injected via digital x-ray guidance.
Regenerative medicine has seen an explosion in new techniques using stem cells, platelet rich plasma, IRAP and Shockwave treatment, all routinely used by FVEP. In each of these cases, the therapies depend on the bodies own natural healing powers to improve the rate and quality of healing.
Some cutting-edge treatments like chiropractic or acupuncture are certainly not new, but their application in horses is gaining greater acceptance. At FVEP, we are in constant contact with referral hospitals and universities so that we are familiar with new therapies and research projects that can benefit our patients. Don’t hesitate to ask us what’s new on the medical horizon.
Did you know?
The syringe used in IRAP therapy contains glass beads that stimulate the white blood cells to produce cytokines.
Fox Valley Equine Practice is excited to introduce the latest in regenerative medicine treatment called Pro-Stride. It is the most advanced treatment available on the farm, in a single visit. It is a centrifuged solution of your own horses’ blood that provides all the important healing factors which are immediately administered in a super concentrated joint injection. It is a very portable system, and allows our veterinarians to provide advanced treatment for arthritis on your farm in one visit.
Studies have demonstrated pain relief for up to one year with just one treatment. Pro-Stride treatment is natural and steroid-free There is no drug withholding times for competitors at the FEI and USEF levels. It is also safe for use in young horses; and Cushings, Laminitis/Founder and Insulin Resistant (IR) horses.
PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma)
PRP, or Platelet Rich Plasma, is a therapy that can be quite useful in treating tendon, ligament, and other soft tissue injuries. It can also be helpful in wound healing and joint therapy. Generating PRP requires several steps. First, blood is collected from the animal. The platelet portion of the blood is concentrated by a special technique, and this can often be done on the farm. Finally, the PRP is injected into the compromised tendon or ligament. Platelets are rich in growth factors and anti-inflammatory proteins. The goal of PRP therapy is to drive the repair process efficiently, improving healing and ultimately allowing the tissue to regenerate at its original strength and resilience, rather than as weaker scarred tissue.
IRAP (Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein)
IRAP is a therapy used in treatment of osteoarthritis. IRAP has been effective in arthritic joints that have not responded to more traditional intra-articular therapy, such as steroids and hyaluronic acid. The IRAP protein is naturally present in blood.
To utilize IRAP therapy, blood is collected from the horse, concentrated, and then injected into the affected joint. Interleukin is an inflammatory molecule that is present in high quantities in arthritic joints, so using IRAP, an antagonist to block that molecule, is a powerful way to soothe joint inflammation (or osteoarthritis).
Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cells are precursor cells present in certain parts of the body that may be guided to develop into distinct types of mature cells. Stem cell therapy was designed to repair and regenerate injured tissues such as joints, tendons and ligaments. Typical applications in equine medicine include treatment of chronic osteoarthritis, a diseased suspensory ligament, a “bowed” or injured tendon, and bony fractures. The goal is better and stronger healing, not necessarily a faster return to performance.
These precursor cells are harvested from the fat tissue over the horse’s rump or from bone marrow from the pelvis. The valuable stem cells are then sent to an off-site laboratory and processed into an injectable medium, which takes 2 to 3 weeks. Once it has been prepared, the stem cell medium can be injected into the affected area. Stem cells are guided by local factors at the injury site to transform into the type of cells that are needed. Overall, the process results in improved healing.
This regenerative therapy is used to assist in the healing of large wounds by inserting a cellular scaffold or matrix to help the new tissue adhere to and cover the wound. The A-Cell product also contains growth factors and proteins which help guide and speed tissue regeneration. Similar yet distinct from stem cell therapy, A-Cell is also sometimes recommended to help heal tendon and ligament injuries.
Mesotherapy is a treatment that stimulates the mesoderm, the middle layer of the skin, which may, in turn, relieve conditions including chronic neck and back pain. It helps reverse the physiology of the condition and stops the pain spasm cycle by targeting the small pain-transmitting nerves in that layer of the skin.
This technique involves the injection of a combination of natural and anti-inflammatory medications to stimulate the mesoderm. These injections involve very small needles placed in multiple locations. A minimum of two treatments are usually performed to assess the response to therapy.