Whistler is a 10 year old Labrador who has been under our care for problems with his joints. His treatment had included ligament surgery, anti-inflammatory pain killers and cartilage modifying treatments but his knee was still sore so it was decided for him to undergo a Platelet Rich Plasma infusion. The procedure is more commonly done in humans but the technology is advancing and we can now perform this in dogs.
Whistler has had a bad knee for a little while, and we hope that this novel solution will help him back on the road to recovery. He had his blood taken while awake, and after we had prepared the plasma, he was mildly sedated (he did not need a general anaesthetic), had his injection into the stifle (knee) joint, and was awake again within 20 minutes.
Here Steve Tasker describes the cutting-edge treatment: “We take blood from the patient, process the blood including adding anticoagulant to stop it from clotting and spinning it down in a special centrifuge, to gather a portion of the plasma that is rich in platelets.” These are tiny components of the blood system (smaller than red or white blood cells) that are the very first 'soldiers' sent into action to repair a damaged blood vessel, for example when tissue is cut and starts to bleed. Once gathered, we then injected the plasma directly into Whistler’s joint, and the idea is to spark a renewed state of healing, by lining the inside of the joint itself with this highly-healing mixture.
We hope to be able to use this system to help more patients in the coming months, and foresee elbow, shoulder and knee pain being our common areas of focus, including situations such as after joint surgery, or for longer term arthritic joints.