PRP stands for Platelet Rich Plasma, or blood plasma with concentrated platelet content. Platelets are derived from stem cells in the patient’s bone marrow.
As platelets come into contact with the damaged collagen and endothelial cells, a fibrin clot forms and growth factors are recruited and released.
Two growth factors are of particular interest in dealing with orthopedic injuries. Platelets release transforming growth factor beta and platelet derived growth factor upon activation at an injured site. These growth factors and others act synergistically to enhance access of healthy inflammatory cells to the area of tissue injury, formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis), formation of new connective tissue (fibroplasia) and regeneration of injured tissues.
Injection of PRP is a recommended treatment option for both sub-acute and chronic tendon and ligament injuries. Certain arthroscopic procedures are also incorporating the use of PRP in equine surgery.
Most equine injection procedures are done under standing sedation with or without a local nerve block. Sixty milliliters of whole blood is drawn from the horse in a special syringe, and processed immediately, to separate the platelet rich fraction. The PRP is then injected into the injured site and the limb is bandaged for two-three days.
Re-examination with ultrasonography is conducted every 30-60 days initially and every 60 to 90 days during the remaining healing period depending on the degree and location of injury. Horses are placed on controlled exercise protocol based on the ultrasound findings and subsequent degree of lameness.
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. The next webinar is on September 26 and will cover preparing for an emergency, such as hurricanes, fire, etc. Go to www.kamanimalservices.com to sign up for the next webinar.