Is PRP Treatment for Dogs Too Expensive: Platelet-Rich Plasma Treatment—Is It Worth It?

Platelet-rich plasma is a concentrate made from a small amount of the dog’s blood after removing red blood cells.

After processing, the solution contains platelets and proteins that promote healing and reduce inflammation. The PRP treatment falls under regenerative medicine. The two popular regenerative therapies in veterinary medicine include platelet-rich plasma treatment and stem cell treatment.

I am a proponent of therapies that work with the body’s natural healing process, making me a fan of both platelet-rich plasma and stem cell treatments. In fact, I employed both for my dogs.

At this point, there a fancy and relatively costly options. Further, stem cell therapy, although I consider it more potent and flexible, is logistically more complicated.

Is PRP Treatment for Dogs Too Expensive: Platelet-Rich Plasma Treatment—Is It Worth It?
Veterinary uses of stem cell therapy

Stem cell therapy can be administered via an injection or in a IV. Potential applications of stem cell therapy include:

  • osteoarthritis
  • tendon, ligament, muscle inflammation, and injuries

It is also investigated to relieve:

  • inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • other immune-mediated diseases
  • back pain
Veterinary uses of PRP

Platelet-rich plasma is injected into the affected area. PRP potential treatment applications include:

  • osteoarthritis
  • tendon inflammation and injuries
  • ligament inflammation and injuries
  • wound care

Have I used PRP treatment for my dog(s)?

I have used platelet-rich plasma treatment for my dog twice now in place of surgery.

Evaluating PRP Treatment for Dogs: Platelet-Rich Plasma Treatment (PRP) for Partial Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) Tears—Would I Do It Again?
PRP Treatment for Partial Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) Tears

When Cookie got diagnosed with bi-lateral partial CCL tears, I had to consider surgery as a treatment option. However, after consulting with VetStem, I decided to try platelet-rich plasma first.

Cookie had the treatment over five years ago. Her knees are in perfect shape, and she never needed re-treatment.

Front Leg Lameness in a Rottweiler: Cookie's Sore Front Legs
PRP Treatment for Elbow Dysplasia

After a long effort trying to get to the bottom of Cookie’s front-leg shifting lameness, she was finally diagnosed with elbow dysplasia.

We saw a specialist and discussed treatment options. He admitted that the benefit of arthroscopy is more diagnostic than therapeutic. We again decided to proceed with platelet-rich plasma instead.

Cookie did wonderfully for six months, but in this case, I suspect she will need to get another treatment.

Clearly, whether or not your dog might need multiple treatments depends on the condition they have. With the knee ligament, it has healed, and that was the end of it. Elbow dysplasia, on the other hand, is a different situation with irregularities in the joint structure. Add to it the level of Cookie’s enthusiasm and activity, and there is no surprise that she will likely need further shots. I believe that getting six months out of the one treatment is great.

What does PRP treatment involve?

When talking about PRP treatment, I use the words uncomplicated and straightforward for a reason. The veterinarian draws some blood from your dog. Then they process the blood to remove red blood cells. They may or may not add other compounds to the injection, such as hyaluronic acid, and inject the content into the affected joint. All that can be done under sedation.

Further reading: Cookie’s PRP Treatment for CCL Injury

What is the cost of a PRP treatment?

PRP treatment is more straightforward and substantially more affordable than stem cell therapy. The cost estimate will differ from clinic to clinic, but the rule applies. Both times, Cookie’s treatment came to around $1,000. Is that reasonable?

Consider the cost of knee surgery—PRP treatment is way cheaper. CCL surgery can cost anywhere between $3,000 – $5,000. Further, the recovery period after platelet-rich plasma counts in days rather than months.

But let’s say you are not considering surgery. How does PRP compare with a typical arthritis treatment? Let’s use Deramaxx and an example NSAID.

If you have a large-breed dog, NSAIDs might come to $100/month or more. Further, they can bring serious side effects. Many dogs require more than one type of pain medication to achieve acceptable pain relief. Pain management can be quite costly.

Is PRP treatment for dogs too expensive?

Naturally, you need to evaluate your dog’s individual situation and options. Consider short-term and long-term costs and outcomes. If you have health insurance for your dog, find out whether it covers it—ours does.

For me, the treatment is well worth it and comparative to the cost of alternatives. That is especially true for conditions where one application might do the trick. However, I believe it’s beneficial even in cases when my dog might need repeat treatments.

Bozzie’s example

Bozzie is a senior mixed breed with arthritis. Even though she’s in good shape and not very adventurous, she does need regular treatment. She gets an NSAID and joint support pill–the cost of managing her arthritis comes close to $1,000 a year just for the medications alone.

Source story: Cost of Managing Arthritis in Cats and Dogs

How much is your dog’s pain management costing you?

Related articles:
Platelet Therapy for Dogs
Evaluating PRP Treatment for Dogs

Further reading:
Platelet-Rich Plasma

Categories: Dog health advocacy

Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

  1. This is terrific information Jana, thanks! I thought Stem therapy would only for serious issues like cancer and organ problems. Do many Vets use Stem and PRP, or do you need specialists? These sound like excellent treatment options and not as costly as I would have thought. Sharing!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  2. This was really interesting to read. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know much at all about PRP but I am a HUGE fan of anything that effectively uses the body’s natural healing functions while avoiding invasive surgeries or potentially harmful chemical medications. With that being said, I am definitely going to start reading into this even more.

  3. I did not even know about PRP (I need to check if we can get it here in NZ). It seems to be one of those developments that comes along that can change so many lives for the better.

    It sounds as though this is a positive non-surgical option especially for older pets (we have a senior so this issue always comes to mind when I read health updates and reports). No it is not cheap but if it works then I would move Heaven and earth to make sure I could access it.

  4. I had never thought about PRP when Layla hurt her back last year and spent a month drugged up but thank goodness she is ok now but will in future take it into consideration. I am so happy it helped Cookie who is adorable

  5. I look forward to talking to our vet about PRP treatment for our husky’s mysterious knee problem. Thanks for bringing my awareness to this option!

  6. I never heard of PRP treatment before. I’m glad that it helped Cookie twice so you know it does work. Is $1000 affordable…well it’s definitely doable. It beats spending $5000, especially if the condition being treated only requires 1 treatment. I’d say it’s worth it, however everyone’s circumstances vary. Thanks for sharing the benefits of PRP.

  7. I’m glad that PRP helped Cookie! Personally I wouldn’t consider $1,000, or even more, to be too expensive as long as I felt there was a chance the treatment could help and it didn’t come with a long list of bad side effects.

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