Patient, heal thyself

By Connie Orcutt • Published: July 1st, 2013
Category: Animal Airwaves

Horses with tendon and ligament injuries, joint damage, fractures or wounds may benefit from new therapies that harness their body’s own healing powers. That’s the focus of equine regenerative medicine at the University of Florida.

One of these treatments is stem cell therapy. Stem cells are “blank slate” cells that can mature into many different cell types that carry out various jobs in the body. You could say they form the body’s repair reservoir.

Stem cells are usually gathered from marrow inside a bone’s central cavity. Once collected and processed by a laboratory, stem cells are injected into the affected site. For example, they can promote wound healing by forming normal tissue instead of scar tissue. The same is true with ligament, tendon or joint injuries.

So thanks to stem cells, it looks like equine patients really can heal themselves.