Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)

Historically soft tissue injuries are very slow to heal because tendons and ligaments have a poor internal blood supply. Without a good blood supply to bring in the growth factors required for healing, it takes a long time for the injury to heal and it heals with poorly organized, weak scar tissue. The growth factors are produced and stored in platelets, which are harvested and injected as Platelet Rich Plasma. Injecting PRP directly into the injury greatly improves the speed of healing and the scar tissue is stronger and more organized.

Superficial and deep digital flexor tendonitis (bowed tendons), suspensory desmitis, and many other tendon and ligament injuries are candidates for PRP therapy. The location and severity of the injury determine if and how PRP is utilized.

Ultrasound examination of the injured limb, performed in combination with a detailed lameness evaluation, identifies the location and severity of the injury within the specific tendon or ligament. If the injured portion of the tendon or ligament is surrounded by a tendon sheath, PRP is injected directly into the tendon sheath. If the injury is located outside of a tendon sheath, the ultrasound examination must be able to demonstrate a “core lesion” or distinct hole, in the tendon or ligament. PRP is then administered directly into the core lesion via ultrasound-guided injections.

PRP is acquired by first obtaining a sample of your horse’s own blood. The sample is then inserted into a special centrifuge tube and centrifuged for 15 minutes. This process separates the sample into “Platelet Rich Plasma,” red and white blood cells, and non-platelet rich plasma. A stopcock attached to the special centrifuge tube allows fast and easy harvesting of PRP. Following sterile preparation of the injury site, the PRP is injected into either the tendon sheath or core lesion. Your horse does not require hospitalization for PRP therapy.