Sierra Equine  |   Nevada County, Brown's Valley / Loma Rica, and North Auburn  |   (530) 272.4537  |   We're on Facebook
Mike McRae and Hal

New Directions in Treating Lameness

Lameness in the horse may be the result of musculoskeletal trauma, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors or congenital disorders. When the presenting condition can be repaired by surgery, we refer to an orthopedic equine surgeon. However in many cases orthopedic therapies are the treatment of choice.

Systemic treatments are used to maintain a horse’s usefulness and comfort. Therapeutic agents are administered sometimes to relieve inflammation (anti inflammatories) and sometimes to support healthy joints (ie Adequan, Legend). Bisphosphonates like Tildren have long been used in Europe. They alter bone metabolism and are beneficial in treating degenerative bone diseases like navicular syndrome, pedal osteitis and hock osteoarthritis.

New directions in treating lamenessLocal Treatments focus the therapeutic agent into the affected Joint or site of injury. Sierra Equine veterinarians are experts in treating lameness with joint or lesion injections. Local or site specific treatment options include intrarticular (joint) injections with haluronic acid and or corticosteroids. Newer treatments involve harvesting blood products from the patients. IRAP (Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein) shows promise for treating mild to moderate osteoarthritis and synovitis. PRP (platelet rich plasma), another blood product harvested from the patient, has platelet concentrations five times greater than regular blood. When PRP is injected into a damaged tendon or ligament, cells in the tissue — along with new cells circulating in the blood — are stimulated to bring new cells to the injured site. These healing cells work to increase the formation of new blood vessels and connective tissue, all of which encourage natural repair of the injury.

Regenerative Medicine is the most rapidly evolving equine orthopedic option. Currently, we harvest stem cells from bone marrow in the field, send it for processing and when returned, inject it into an injured tendon or ligament. There are numerous emerging technologies in regenerative medicine and we are staying well informed on their prospects.

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