Plasma for Wound Healing a Work in Progress

Despite the hypothetical benefits associated with the topical use of platelet-rich plasma for expediting wound repair in horses, research thus far has yet to reveal any beneficial effects on small full-thickness wounds of the distal limb.

"Nonhealing chronic wounds and those that develop excessive granulation tissue (proud flesh) lead to excessive scarring and can potentially limit a horse's athletic career," explained study co-author Christine Theoret, DVM, PhD, from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Montreal. "The timely and uncomplicated repair of wounds on the distal limb is notoriously challenging and attempts to identify effective means of ameliorating wound repair in horses has been disappointing."

To evaluate the effect of platelet-rich plasma, which contains beneficial cytokines (potent mediators of inflammation), on wound healing, Theoret and colleagues created three 6.25 cm2 full-thickness skin wounds on each metacarpus of six horses. Wounds were bandaged and left to heal for one week. After this initial phase, researchers treated wounds on one metacarpus of each horse twice, at one week intervals, with platelet-rich plasma.

They found that wounds treated with the plasma healed more slowly than untreated wounds.

While platelet-rich plasma did not benefit this particular type of wound, Theoret suggested that other wounds, such as those with massive tissue loss or chronic non-healing wounds, might benefit from plasma, which seemed to encourage granulation, an essential--if sometimes overenthusiastic--component of wound healing.

This study, "Effects of platelet-rich plasma on the repair of wounds on the distal aspect of the forelimb in horses," was published in the February edition of the American Journal of Veterinary Research.

About the Author

Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she's worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from Learn More

Free Newsletters

Sign up for the latest in:

From our partners