Platelet Therapy for Dogs: Regenerative Veterinary Medicine

The body has an amazing capacity to heal itself. Regenerative medicine describes a group of processes that harness the natural ability of the body and enhances or concentrates it.

Platelet Therapy for Dogs: Regenerative Veterinary Medicine

Platelets

When the body becomes injured, a natural healing process occurs to repair the damaged tissue. 

The body naturally signals platelets and other components in the blood supply to migrate to the site of injury. Under normal conditions, these platelets release a variety of factors that initiate and subsequently promote healing. Platelets are released into the circulation where they play a prominent role in blood clotting (hemostasis).

Platelets also contain a variety of growth factors that enhance wound healing and induce tissue regeneration.  These growth factors, include

  • platelet-derived growth factor
  • transforming growth factor beta
  • fibroblast growth factor
  • insulin-like growth factor 1
  • epithelial growth factor
  • and vascular endothelial growth factor

Platelet therapy (Platelet Rich Plasma/PRP)

Platelet therapy harnesses and concentrates platelets and introduces them to the injury site in an injectable form. 

The implantation of these platelets from a small amount of the patient’s own blood has the potential to enhance the body’s capacity for healing.

That’s why this cell therapy is referred to as “autologous.” The patient is treated with a product derived from their own body.

Autologous platelets

Autologous platelet therapies offer low risk, but platelet therapies from a donor patient are prone to have high-risk factors. 

Even if the donor is a sibling or parent of the recipient the chance for a reaction is high. As a veterinarian, I would not recommend using platelet therapy from a donor patient.

How does it work

Injecting platelets into injured tissue reawakens the body’s healing capacity. 

Platelets would normally migrate to the location of acute trauma and stimulate healing on their own. But tendons and ligaments, joint capsules and cartilage have a very poor blood supply which limits platelet migration to them.

Injecting the platelets directly into the affected area attracts other healing cells and stimulates local tissue repair.

Injected platelets attach to injured collagen fibers and then release healing proteins called growth factors. The growth factors initiate and activate healing. In short, they are the body’s response to trauma.

Medical benefits

Platelet-derived growth factors offer the following medical benefits:

  • Stem Cell Attractant: PRP attracts stem cells to an injury to optimize the healing process;
  • Vascular growth factors stimulate new blood vessels;
  • Epithelial growth factors stimulate new tissue;
  • Transforming growth factors stimulate ligament, tendon, cartilage and joint capsule healing;
  • Cellular adhesion molecules create a structural matrix for new connective tissue, bone, and epithelial cells.

Platelet therapy can treat various medical conditions.

Platelet therapy is a proven and effective option for treating acute and chronic cases of

This easy, minimally invasive, same-day procedure promotes healing and reduces pain. 

It can be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments, depending on your dog’s needs.

There are many platelet therapy options available, so evaluating or choosing a system can sometimes be daunting.

The most important things to look for are: 

  • is it validated for the species being treated and
  • is the platelet concentration adequate

In some cases using a filtration system, such as the V-PETTM,  is gentler on the platelets and will prevent the platelets from being opened or activated before they are injected into the injured area.

It is only when the platelets come in contact with the site of injury that they become activated, releasing their growth factors.

Platelet Therapy can be used in different clinical conditions with different outcome goals, including

  • hemostasis
  • angiogenesis
  • functional recovery in musculoskeletal conditions

So far, thousands of patients have benefited from Platelet therapy. The acceptance of platelet therapy into vet medicine has been determined by the safety profile, ease of use, and effectiveness.

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

Further reading:
Platelet-Rich Plasma: New Treatment Option for Dogs with Lameness

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