Serum Profile Matters in Blood-Based Equine Joint Treatments

A Norwegian and Swedish study shows that autologous conditioned serum with higher levels of certain biological anti-inflammatories and growth factors is more likely to reduce lameness in treated horses.
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Serum Profile Matters in Blood-Based Equine Joint Treatments
Developed by incubating a horse’s own blood under conditions that accentuate its natural therapeutic protein production, autologous conditioned serum (ACS) can aid healing when injected into diseased equine joints. | Photo: iStock
When your horse has joint issues leading to lameness, you might try giving him a taste of his own medicine—provided it’s the potent kind.

Developed by incubating a horse’s own blood under conditions that accentuate its natural therapeutic protein production, autologous conditioned serum (ACS) can aid healing when injected into diseased equine joints. It has been “hit-and-miss,” though, working in some horses and not in others, said Scandinavian researchers.

In a new ACS study, however, the scientists reveal clues that might explain why some horses are “hits” and others are “misses.” Those clues, they said, point to the kinds of proteins in a horse’s conditioned serum.

The proteins that naturally reduce inflammation and encourage growth appear to make the difference, said Patrick Marques-Smith, DVM, of the Faculty of Veterinary in the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, in Oslo. His team’s study showed that ACS with higher levels of certain biological anti-inflammatories and growth factors was more likely to result in a positive clinical response, evaluated as reduced lameness

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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