Recent years have brought great strides in equine veterinary sciences that have led to some extraordinary new and effective treatments. Del Oeste veterinarians are highly trained in administering the latest advancements in equine treatment and therapy, including Joint Injections, Stem Cell, Pro-Stride, IRAP, PRP, Back Therapy, Shockwave and Acupuncture.
Joint injections continue to be important in keeping the horse moving soundly and helping to prevent soft tissue injury. There are new techniques and new medications available for joint therapy. These medications and latest techniques are available and utilized by the veterinarians at Del Oeste Equine Hospital.
Stem cell therapy has proven very beneficial in managing soft tissue injuries, like tendonitis, desmitis, and joint disease. Stem cells can be harvested from the horse’s own bone marrow (sternum or pelvis) or from fat tissue. They’re processed at a lab to multiply the cell count, then injected directly into the injury.
Pro-Stride makes use of the healing and anti-inflammatory properties of your horse’s own blood. This is a steroid-free joint injection that avoids potential, unwanted side effects associated with traditional steroid joint injections. there are no drug withholding times for FEI or USEF regulated competitions, as Pro-Stride contains only natural healing properties directly from your horse. It is safer to use in horses that have been diagnosed with metabolic problems such as PPID (Cushing’s) and EMS (Equine Metabolic Syndrome). Pro-Stride is PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) and IRAP (Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein) in the same syringe. It gives us the ability to utilize the healing properties of PRP combined with the anti-inflammatory properties of IRAP. Studies have shown efficacy for up to one year with a single injection. (A.Bertone in AJVR, 2014). The process consists of drawing your horse’s blood, placing it into special tubes, centrifuging the blood, then collecting the PRP/IRAP solution and injecting the joint(s). The procedure is usually performed at the clinic but can be performed on your farm as well.
IRAP stands for Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein therapy. These natural anti-inflammatory proteins — taken from the horse’s own blood, then reintroduced intravenously — block the harmful effects of Interleukin-1, an inflammatory substance known to worsen osteoarthritis by destroying cartilage. IRAP therapy is a safe alternative to traditional joint injections with synthetic pharmaceuticals. Blood is drawn from the horse, incubated in a specialized syringe for 24 hours to maximize the levels of IRAP, then centrifuged to separate the IRAP-rich plasma from the blood cells. The resulting serum is injected into the affected area every two weeks in a series of 3–4 treatments. IRAP II therapy can be considered for any horse with arthritis, and especially for those no longer benefiting from traditional therapies.
PRP, or Platelet Rich Plasma, is sometimes known as “ACP” (Autologous Conditioned Plasma). Like IRAP, PRP concentrates the healing properties found in the animal’s own blood, but PRP is designed to help repair tendons and ligaments. Because PRP doesn’t require a 24-hour incubation, PRP therapy can be begun and completed in one day. PRP is often effective with just one injection.
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) is an emergent noninvasive technology for treating musculoskeletal problems, including soft-tissue and bone injuries in horses. Over the past few years, Del Oeste veterinarians have successfully treated hundreds of horses for chronic muscle soreness, tendonitis, fibrosis, suspensory ligament desmitis, and chronic heel pain. Shockwave therapy relies on high-energy sound waves generated by compressed air and targeted directly to the injury. A typical series consists of two or more treatments at 2–3 week intervals. ESWT stimulates healing, helping return horses to sound health and useful activity.
Back pain is a common problem in our horses. Diagnosis can be challenging and is aided by a thorough examination of the horse’s musculoskeletal system. Defining whether the pain is primary and/or secondary is critical in formulating a proper therapeutic plan. Sacro-iliac (SI), Lumbo-sacral (LS) and Para-vertebral (PV) injections are commonly performed to manage back pain. Mesotherapy is helpful in managing horses that are extremely back-sensitive. We have more information in our blog on diagnosis and treatment of back problems.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, living organisms are a road map of energy conduits, specified as meridians or channels. These carry life-giving energy to and from every body system. Any interference or interruption in that energy flow can disrupt normal function, leading to disease. Treating disease with acupuncture involves the stimulation — usually with small interdermal needles — of specific points along affected channels to reopen “blocked” energy flow and reestablish normal functioning. Diagnostic acupuncture uses these same meridians to detect an energy blockage. Precision in selecting the proper points and inserting needles to the proper depth, and in maintaining treatment for the proper length of time, are critical to successful acupuncture.