Stem cell therapy in horses restores function by providing cells that can provide healing with normal tissue versus scar tissue. Stem cells are found in higher concentrations in bone marrow and fat. To obtain therapeutic amounts of stem cells, bone marrow or fat is collected and sent to specialized laboratories for processing. When ready, the stem cells are injected into the affected areas. Stem cell therapy has shown positive healing results in tendon, ligament and joint injuries in horses.
Bone-Marrow Stem Cell Therapy at UF
Bone-marrow derived stem cell therapy is the most common type of stem cell therapy used.
For bone-marrow derived stem cell therapy, horses are admitted the morning of the procedure as outpatients (Monday – Thursday). Under sedation and local anesthesia, bone marrow is collected from the sternum. Samples are shipped to the laboratory for processing and culture-expanded stem cells in ACS are returned in 2-4 weeks.
The injection-ready syringes can be shipped to UF for intralesional injection or sent directly to the primary care veterinarian’s practice for treatment on the farm.
Adipose-Derived Stem Cell Therapy at UF
For adipose-derived stem cell therapy, horses are admitted to the hospital (Monday – Wednesday) and fat is collected from the tail head region in standing surgery on the first day. The sample is shipped to VetStem® for processing and returning within 48 hours. Intralesional injections are performed before discharge. Package pricing includes three nights in the hospital.
- Learn about autologous-conditioned serum (ACS or IRAPTM II) therapy
- Learn about platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy
- Return to UF Equine Lameness & Imaging
- Contact the UF Large Animal Hospital to see if stem cell therapy can help your horse