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.
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:
- 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:
- 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.
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.
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 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?