Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is an exciting method of using the body’s own healing properties. Blood drawn from the patients is run through a special centrifuge, separating the blood’s components. The separated platelets are processed to release growth factors that stimulate healing in the area where they are placed. The growth factors derived from platelets stimulate connective tissue healing, bone regeneration and repair, development of new blood vessels, and in general promotes the healing process. Since PRP is derived from the patient’s own blood there is no risk of a reaction.
PRP injections in veterinary medicine started as a treatment option for degenerative joint disease, tendon injuries and bone healing. This is rapidly changing as new uses are being discovered such as treatment of renal failure in cats and pancreatitis in both dogs and cats. One of the major advantages to PRP injections is the initiation of the healing process and in many cases it is an alternative to surgery.
The number of injections vary depending on the condition and the severity of the condition. Frequently, injuries (especially chronic injuries) require more than one injection. The good news is a single PRP blood collection generally yields enough PRP plasma that it many separated into multiple preparations to be frozen up to ninety days. These subsequent injections are often administered on two to four week intervals during this ninety day period of time. Acupuncture and/or Class IV laser therapy has been shown to enhance the success of the treatment.
An important note is that all non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should be stopped prior to and during treatment as they interfere with the healing process being promoted by PRP.