The lameness examination involves a combination of historical information from the client, visual examination of the horse in motion, musculoskeletal palpation and manipulation, and variably using diagnostic blocking and advanced imaging to determine the source of pain or decreased performance. If a problem is diagnosed, SDEG can provide numerous therapeutic treatments and will design a lay-up and rehabilitation program specific to the horse's injury.
Comprehensive examination prior to purchasing or leasing a horse is essential for identifying underlying health conditions that may exist in the horse you are thinking about buying or leasing. The pre-purchase exam is tailored to the clients needs and can include advanced imaging, baseline blood work and drug screening, and consultation with our boarded specialists, if requested.
Orthopedic Hospitalization and Layup
Shockwave therapy is a therapy commonly used for treating lameness as a result of osteoarthritis in horses, although it does not alter the course of the disease. Shock wave therapy has also been shown to aid in expiditing the healing process with soft tissue injury such as tendonitis, suspensory strain, and lumbar myositis.
Therapeutic ultrasound machines work by converting electrical current into high frequency acoustic energy waves. Ultrasound waves typically can travel one to five centimeters into the body’s soft tissues. The deep penetrating waves allow heat to travel further into the patient’s tissue. This allows small vibrations of cells to change the tissues permeability, and diffusion rates. This often results in a decrease in inflammation and bruising, leading to a more comfortable recovery with decreased healing time. Therapeutic Ultrasound is an effective treatment for both chronic and acute injuries. At San Dieguito Equine we have five therapeutic ultrasound machines that are available for weekly or monthly rental.
IRAP Joint Therapy
The use of IRAP is an effective intra-articular treatment for joint disease. The IRAP system has been designed to stimulate the horse's own white blood cells to produce anti-inflammatory mediators and enzymes that can reduce the inflammation present as a result of degenerative joint disease. Initially, the patient's blood sample is collected and brought back to our clinic for processing, typically taking 24 hours. After processing, the IRAP is ready to be used, however additional treatment doses may be stored at our clinic for up to one year. When injected into a joint, the protein rich serum stimulates a regenerative response from cartilage cells, through a process of cell division and increased cell recruitment. This is actually what sets IRAP apart from other intra-articular treatments for joint disease. The fact that IRAP stimulates cartilage cells means that it has a disease-modifying component as well as an anti-inflammatory component. The serum also contains cytokines that act to reduce inflammation within the joint. In addition, there are other anti-inflammatory proteins produced during the incubation process that work synergistically with the cytokines to further reduce the inflammation within the diseased joint. The injection process is typically done under sedation at the patient's field location.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
PRP is a treatment used for tendon and ligament injuries.The collection and preparation of platelet rich plasma is simple, non-invasive and takes only about 30 minutes. Blood is collected from the horse's jugular vein and then spun down in a centrifuge; this allows the blood serum to be separated from the rest of the red blood cells. The process of spinning the serum is then repeated to leave only the platelets concentrated at the bottom of the sample. The excess serum is removed and the platelets are re-suspended to be injected under ultrasound guidance into the injury site. This process is performed at our clinic and the horse is sedated for the duration of this treatment.
Bone Marrow Derived Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cell therapy is most commonly used for tendon and ligament injuries. Stem cells have the potential for mass replication due to being non-specific to a local area in the body. This feature allows stem cells to differentiate into different types of cells in response to their local environment, i.e. where they are injected into. The process of harvesting stem cells includes sedating the patient and collecting bone marrow from the sternum. The bone marrow and nutrient rich serum that is collected and then sent to the laboratory for isolation and culture. The laboratory process of culturing stem cells results in a significant increase in the number of stem cells in a concentrated preparation. Culturing of stem cells typically takes about 7-10 business days after which the stem cells and nutrient rich serum can be injected back into the patient at the injury site. Typically, the injection is done under ultrasound guidance to assure the most accurate delivery of the stem cells to the injury site.