Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is a revolutionary treatment that is rapidly growing in popularity in the companion animal world, having been used for years in human and equine medicine. Fortunately, this therapy has made the jump to our canine companions, and they are reaping the benefits. Alternative forms of medicine, such as laser therapy, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy, stem cell therapy, and PRP therapy, are making great strides in both human and veterinary medicine. We are delighted to explore new routes to help heal your beloved companion, ensuring her well-being long into her golden years.
Why is platelet-rich plasma an effective treatment?
Even though the science behind PRP therapy is a rather difficult concept to explain and understand, the theory of its efficacy is quite simple. Platelets are the first cells on the scene of an injury, and they contain many of the components necessary to begin the healing process and reduce inflammation. The goal with PRP therapy is to enhance the body’s natural healing response by delivering a shot of highly concentrated platelets to the site of an injury.
More and more pet owners are choosing PRP therapy as an effective treatment option for a multitude of reasons:
- Reduced recovery time
- Low-risk alternative to medications and surgical procedures
- Less expensive alternative to stem cell therapy
- Improvements are seen almost immediately
What conditions are treated with platelet-rich plasma therapy?
Currently, PRP is being used to treat primarily musculoskeletal conditions, especially orthopedic injuries. Some of the most common uses for PRP therapy include:
- Collagen production
- Muscle tears
- Elbow and hip dysplasia
- Spay and neuter incisions
- Dental issues
- Ligament ruptures
- Non-healing skin wounds
- General inflammation
Treating pets suffering from injuries to muscles, ligaments, bones, or joints with PRP therapy has been shown to markedly increase the quality of healing, and decrease the recovery time.
How is platelet-rich plasma therapy performed?
Regenerative medicine sounds like a fancy term, but PRP therapy is actually a simple process. Requiring just a few steps, this is an outpatient procedure, so your pet will go home the same day.
- Blood is drawn from your pet. Since PRP therapy utilizes your pet’s own platelets, reactions are extremely unlikely to occur.
- Blood is processed. The blood sample is spun at a high speed in a centrifuge to separate the red and white blood cells from the liquid portion of the blood (plasma), which contains a high concentration of platelets. Once the sample and your pet are ready for the injection, the platelets are activated to release growth factors and other components to stimulate healing.
- Platelet-rich plasma is injected into your pet. Depending on the location of your pet’s injury, we may either use a local anesthetic or fully sedate your pet for a PRP injection. If your pet is suffering from a specific injury, injection of PRP directly into that area is the ideal method.
What happens after platelet-rich plasma therapy is administered?
After your pet recovers from sedation, she will be ready to go home. Once at home, you will ice the injection area for 15 minutes twice a day to decrease pain and inflammation. After a few days, you should notice improvements in your pet’s comfort and mobility. Within a week, your pet should be able to resume her normal daily activities—running, playing, and jumping. Up to 80 percent of patients treated with PRP show significant improvement within about 10 days. Although duration of effects can vary, the benefits of PRP may last a year or more. Our veterinary team will assess your pet and determine the best treatment schedule to achieve the greatest benefit.
How does platelet-rich plasma therapy differ from stem cell therapy?
While both PRP therapy and stem cell therapy are forms of regenerative medicine, one of the key differences is cost. Stem cell therapy is substantially more expensive than PRP therapy. An additional benefit to PRP therapy is that it is less invasive, which helps ease your mind as a caring pet owner. Even though both of these treatments can lead to remarkable recoveries, stem cell therapy is generally reserved for more serious conditions, such as cancer and degenerative diseases, whereas PRP therapy is mostly used to treat musculoskeletal conditions.
Is platelet-rich plasma therapy right for your pet? Give us a call to set up a consultation.