Current Applications of Equine Regenerative Medicine

Regenerative medicine is opening doors to new and improved therapeutic options for equine musculoskeletal injuries.
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It’s an exciting time in treating equine musculoskeletal injuries, said Laurie Goodrich, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVS. Regenerative medicine is opening doors to new and improved therapeutic options.

During a presentation at the 2015 World Equine Veterinary Association Congress, held Oct. 8-10 in Guadalajara, Mexico, Goodrich, an associate professor of surgery and lameness in the Department of Clinical Sciences and at the Orthopaedic Research Center at the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, reviewed three regenerative modalities—stem cells, PRP, and IRAP—with attendees.

Stem cells

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are derived from the adult horse’s body, most commonly harvested from bone marrow or fat (adipose) tissue. Embryonic stem cells—those harvested from a foal’s umbilical cord following birth, can also be used to aid tissue healing. Goodrich said stem cells are showing promise for treating a variety of injuries, including damaged cartilage, fractures, desmitis (ligament inflammation), and more.

Goodrich said both bone marrow- and adipose-derived MSCs can be beneficial, especially to tendon and ligament healing. But she noted that one study showed that bone marrow-derived cells have better ability to make the proteins needed in musculoskeletal tissue than adipose-derived cells

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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