Equine tendon, ligament, and joint injuries are some of the most frequently seen problems in clinical veterinary practice. These lead to joint instability, degenerative joint disease, and reduced performance.
Osteoarthritis is one of the main causes of lameness in horses and involves the deterioration of joint cartilage leading to pain and inflammation. Conventional therapies involve intra-articular medications such as hyaluronic acid and/or steroids, rest, shockwave therapy, Polysulfated glycosaminoglycans, hyaluronic acid, IRAP and PRP.
Adult derived stem cells are a relatively new means of treating acute and chronic tendon injuries, suspensory and collateral ligament injuries and osteoarthritis in horses. Adult derived stem cells are concentrated and autologous to the patients in which they are used.
Research is ongoing pertaining to how stem cells offer regeneration of injured tissues. The process begins either by the collection and storage of umbilical cord blood in a foal or by harvesting 50 grams of adipose tissue (fat) or 20-40 cc of bone marrow from the sternum or hip under standing sedation in adults.
These samples are in turn sent overnight to commercial laboratories where they are processed for pleuripotent stem cells. These initial cells are then cultured in a lab and expanded to produce 5 to 30 million cells for injection back into the patient depending on the injury being treated and patient’s age and relative health. Stem cells are injected back into an injured joint or ligament or tendon with ultrasound guidance when needed or after arthroscopy if appropriate. Additional stem cells can be cryo-preserved dependent on the initial cell yield and used for subsequent regenerative therapy treatments. Get more info at www.alpinehospital.com.
This tip was brought to you by Chuck Maker, DVM (www.alpinehospital.com) and KAM Animal Services, home of KAM’s “Equine Learning Circle” FREE webinars, which take place monthly. These webinars are an expansion of KAM’s weekly tips. Go to www.kamanimalservices.com to sign up for the next webinar. The FREE webinars will conclude with a question and answer session, so be ready with your questions.