Your Guide to Equine Health Care

Sorting Out IRAP, PRP, and Stem Cells

The wealth of scientific technology makes it difficult to keep track of treatment options for injured horses.

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Today’s wealth of scientific advancements can make it difficult to keep track of all the different treatment options available for injured horses. A flexor tendon injury, for example, that once had a relatively standard treatment protocol can now be aided by traditional methods as well as relatively new therapies such as stem cell, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), or IRAP (interleukin-1 receptor antagonist protein). During a presentation at the 2011 North American Veterinary Regenerative Medicine Conference held June 2-4 in Lexington, Ky., Jamie Textor, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, an equine surgeon and PhD candidate at the University of California, Davis, explained the different treatment options in the regenerative medicine field.

The Basics

First, Textor explained that regenerative medicine’s goal is to aid in healing tissue (such as tendon, ligament, and bone) in an organized manner–specifically, to preserve all function (such as elasticity and range of motion), approximate what the original tissue was like in strength and resilience, and to help the tissue heal with no scar.

She explained that when tissue heals in an unorganized way, the cells that make up the matter have little to no stretching ability. This means the new tissue is not as strong or resilient as the original tissue, leaving the door open for

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Written by:

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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