IRAP (Interleukin receptor antagonist protein) is a newer treatment for arthritis. Interleukins are agents in the joints that contribute to the pain and inflammation of arthritis. IRAP is produced from the incubation of the horse’s own blood in a special syringe filled with coated beads. The resulting serum is rich in anti-inflammatory agents, specifically interfering with the activity of interleukins.
The serum is then injected directly into the joint. Extra serum is frozen for subsequent treatments. Typically, a series of 3 injections are performed 1-2 weeks apart to treat the affected joints. There is also a potential to treat tendon and ligament injuries with this modality.
Platelet rich plasma is one of the newer treatments options to help accelerate tissue regeneration in skin, soft tissue, and bone by stimulating growth factors. It is made from the patient’s own blood and processed via centrifugation in a special syringe. The processed blood is then injected directly into the injured tissue. It has been shown to improve the speed and quality of repair of tendon and ligament injuries in horses.
Stem Cell therapy is a newly available treatment that uses stem cells to repair injured or damaged tissues. Stem cells can be collected from the horses own bone marrow or adipose (fat) tissue. The collected tissue is then sent to the lab and processed to isolate the stem cells. They can then be injected directly into the treatment site and the cells develop into cells of the desired tissue type.
It has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including tendon and ligament injuries, arthritis, and joint injuries. Stem cells are considered pluripotent cells, which are capable or becoming tendon, ligament, bone, or cartilage cells.