Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment for Cookie’s Bad Knee(s)

When we found out that Cookie’s knee(s) were bad, we had to make a decision about what to do next. Of course, there are the surgeries … but could we try something else first?

We decided to give regenerative medicine a chance.

It’s not like the surgery option goes away. But if we could avoid it, we’d be very happy.

When I talked to Vet-Stem, they said that there is a decent chance that PRP could work. Cookie’s vet actually brought it up on her own and also felt it had a chance. And Jasmine’s vet agreed it was worth a try.

What is platelet-rich plasma therapy?

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment for Cookie's Bad Knee(s)
Cookie’s blood is being drawn to be processed

Cookie’s own blood is the source of the treatment. Blood gets drawn and processed. Red and white blood cells are separated out. At the end, the process what is left is a concentrate rich in platelets. This then gets injected into the treated area; in Cookie’s case inside the knee joint.

We all know that platelets are involved in blood clotting. But they are also loaded with growth factors which are involved in healing. Which makes sense when you think about it. If there is an injury, the body not only needs to stop the bleeding but it also needs to repair the site of the injury. Once at the site, platelets also reduce inflammation which facilitates healing as well.

So that’s the theory behind why this might work. There is much to be learned about it but there is some clinical evidence that it indeed could help for a damaged knee ligament as well.

Some veterinarians use this combined with stem cell therapy, some use it on its own. There are dogs who were able to avoid knee surgery using PRP treatment.

There is a potential upside and no downside.

No downside anybody knows of anyway.

Jasmine’s vet was going to do the treatment for Cookie. He’s already done stem cell treatments as well as PRP treatments before, even though he never used PRP for knees yet.

Because of Cookie’s challenges, I wanted him to get his hands on her anyway.

His diagnostic hands have no match. I kept talking about going to see him even before we had the knee diagnosis and before we decided that we were going to try the PRP. The long ride was the only reason we were hesitating.

So hubby and Cookie got packed and ready for their journey down South to see Jasmine’s vet.

The procedure does require sedation. I had concerns because the last time Cookie was sedated for her x-rays, she had some serious ill effects. But with all the steps we took, and a different protocol, everything went smoothly and Cookie had no problems with the sedation this time around.

There was a question whether we should treat just the bad knee or both. It was possible that some pain and discomfort could be expected after the injections. How much exactly we didn’t know. On one hand, having enough PRP to inject both, why not just do both? On the other hand, should the knees be quite uncomfortable after the treatment, would we want both knees being unhappy?

Jasmine’s vet examined Cookie thoroughly and decided that both knees would benefit from the injections.

Sleepy time

Her blood got drawn and processed. Cookie’s knees were shaved to help prevent infection. Keeping everything sterile is important particularly when injecting inside the joint. Cookie was sedated and he knees injected. Then the sedation was reversed.

Cookie’s blood before being processed
Cookie’s blood after being processed
Making of the magic potion
Space inside the joint targeted
In she goes
Wakey time

Both hubby and Jasmine’s vet were with Cookie as she started coming to. Her eyes opened but other than that she didn’t move a muscle. “She should be up by now,” said the vet, “perhaps we need to give one more injection.” And he went over to the drawer to get it.

Hubby turned to Cookie, saying, “You better get up, Cookie, or you’re going to get another needle.” And Cookie jumped to her feet and walked up to the vet, “Hey, put that away, I’m awake.”

I kid you not, that’s how it happened!

And just like that, Cookie was ready to go home. A little dazed but steady on her feet; nothing like last time. They lingered around for another hour just to make sure everything was okay. And then they started on their way home.

Cookie was comfortable the whole time and had no problems from the sedation. When they arrived home, she was perky and full of beans.

Her knees looked like they felt a bit awkward that day.

She was walking a little funny but I think it might have just felt weird rather than painful. By the next day, everything looked good.

The platelets remain active 7 days after injection. Cookie seems to be feeling good and it’s hard to convince her to take it easy in order to allow healing to take place. And that’s while being on the Trazodone. Jasmine’s vet didn’t want to increase her dose any further so we’re doing our best to make it work as it were.

We are really hoping this might do the trick.

For now, we have to keep our fingers crossed and wait and see. Even if it should just buy us some time, it’ll still be worth it. Maybe by then, better surgical options might be available.

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