Platelet-Rich Plasma: New treatment option for dogs with lameness

APPROACH MAY AID CHRONIC OR NON-HEALING WOUNDS

A treatment approach that has been in practice in human medicine for decades is now offered for dogs at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana.

Dr. Tisha Harper, a veterinary surgeon who specializes in orthopedics and physical rehabilitation therapy, says platelet-rich plasma joins a host of treatment options—ranging from surgery to rehab to pain medications—for conditions such as osteoarthritis in dogs.

“Every care plan is tailored individually to the patient,” she says. “Just as with human patients, what might work well for one pet may not necessarily be the best thing for another pet. We explore many options when choosing the best treatment for each individual case.”

What Is Platelet-Rich Plasma?

Plasma is the liquid within which the other components of blood, such as red blood cells and platelets, are suspended. It is mostly comprised of water. Platelets are small fragments of cells that play a role in the blood clotting process and also promote healing.

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is derived from the patient’s own blood. Veterinarians process the plasma so that it has a higher-than-usual concentration of platelets. “The plasma contains growth factors and proteins that may accelerate the healing of tendons and ligaments and may promote regeneration of cartilage or bone,” says Dr. Harper.

PRP injections can decrease pain associated with arthritis by reducing inflammation in the joints. They may also help tendon or ligament injuries heal. Patients with chronic, slow, or non-healing wounds may also benefit from PRP.

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