Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) uses a patient’s own blood components to stimulate healing response in damaged tissues. In response to an injury or tissue damage, the body naturally redirects platelets (clotting cells) and white blood cells from the blood to the injured area to initiate a healing response. Platelets store numerous growth factors that are released in response to signals from the injured tissue.
When a concentrated solution of platelets and white blood cells from the patient’s own blood is injected directly into injured tissue, the same healing response is stimulated, but in a more powerful form. By enhancing the body’s natural healing capacity, the treatment may lead to a more rapid, more efficient, and more thorough restoration of the tissue to a healthy state.
Treatable conditions are:
Blood is first drawn from your pet. The blood is then separated into its red blood cell, white blood cell, plasma, and platelet components by a certified laboratory technician, here in our dedicated laboratory. The platelets are carefully concentrated under strict guidelines for sterility and quality control. PRP samples are always cultured before and after processing. Your pet is then placed under a short general anesthesia and the platelet rich concentrate is injected into the injured site(s).
Depending on the severity and duration of your pet’s injury, one injection of PRP is usually recommended. About two weeks after the initial treatment with PRP, your pet will return here for a follow-up visit, during which s/he will undergo a full evaluation by the veterinarian. We will also ask you about your personal observations regarding your pet’s condition after the treatment. Depending on the findings, a decision will be made regarding the need for additional treatments. In general, we find that a single PRP treatment seems to provide relief in most pets for 4-6 months. In both acute and chronic injuries, injections may be combined with other medications, exercise or physical therapy program, or weight loss to enhance the success of the treatment.
For most pets, this is a “day procedure”, meaning your pet can come home the afternoon of the procedure. Following the initial injection, your pet will experience some soreness at the site of the treatment. Icing the injection area for 15 minutes 2-3 times a day for the first few days will help ease the pain and inflammation. You’ll receive a detailed set of instructions when you take your pet home, and will have an opportunity to meet with a veterinary nurse to review the instructions and ask any questions you may have. Our experience is that 75-80% of the patients we treat with PRP have a noticeable improvement in their mobility within a week. Most pets can resume normal activity after a week—the recovery and rehabilitation instructions will always be tailored to the specifics of your pet’s needs and abilities.
Research and clinical data has shown that PRP injections are extremely safe, with minimal risk for any adverse reaction or complication. Because PRP is produced from your pet’s own blood, there is no concern for rejection or disease transmission. There is a small risk of infection from any injection into the body, but this is rare, and minimized by our use of strict sterile technique. Of note, recent research suggests that PRP may have an antibacterial property that protects against possible infection.
If your pet had a recent injury or has one or more joints with arthritis, s/he may be an excellent candidate for this treatment. Please contact us to schedule an evaluation with the PT/Rehabilitation veterinarian, by calling our front desk at 206-545-4322. Before coming for your appointment, you’ll be asked to provide some information about your pet, including radiographs of the affected joints, physical exam findings from your primary veterinarian, and lab work including blood tests. The tests and findings must be from within the last six months. Call us and we can guide you with what you’ll need.
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