It was standing room only during the ever-popular Kester News Hour at the 2014 American Association of Equine Practitioners’ (AAEP) Convention, held Dec. 6-10 in Salt Lake City, Utah, as veterinarians from around the globe caught up on the latest research on a variety of horse health topics.

During the hour, Lisa Fortier, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, professor of Large Animal Surgery at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, in Ithaca, New York, shared her picks for the top surgery- and lameness-related studies. This was Fortier’s final year co-anchoring the news hour; in 2015 Liz Santschi, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, professor of equine surgery at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, in Manhattan, will take the reins.

Stem Cell Therapy to Treat Stifle Lesions

Fortier began by describing a "landmark paper" in which the authors evaluated the outcome of horses with meniscal, cartilage, or ligamentous stifle lesions treated with a combination of surgery and intra-articular (in the joint) mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and hyaluronic acid injections. She said that 44% of all study horses returned to work following treatment; of those, 75% of horses with meniscus disease returned to work (compared to 60% of control horses). She noted that there was no significant difference between the number of treated and control horses with cartilage or ligament damage that returned to work. She cautioned that 9% of study horses experienced joint flare (inflammation) following treatment, but said it’s difficult to tell whether the MSCs or HA caused the flare. Fortier’s take-home for practit