Stem Cell Treatment For Horses
Today is the first day of the Cheltenham Festival, one of the biggest events in the British horse racing calendar. Taking place over four days, Cheltenham attracts many of the best race horses in the UK and Ireland, to compete for a prize fund second only to the Grand National.
Competing at this high level naturally puts certain strains on the health of horses, with tendon and ligament injuries common. Such injuries can often spell the end of a horse’s racing career.
One of the most exciting recent developments in the treatment of injured race horses, has been the advent of stem cell based treatments. Mesenchymal stem cells, obtained from bone marrow, are regenerative and able to differentiate into different types of cells. Studies have found stem cell treatment can both speed up recovery time and reduce reinjury rates. When combined with a well planned rehabilitation programme, stem cell treatment can allow for injured horses, that may have in past been put down, to return to racing form.
One of the most dramatic examples of the impact stem cell treatment can have on race horses is the case of Dream Alliance. Dream Alliance is a horse owned by community syndicate from South Wales which won the 2007 Perth Gold Cup. All seemed to be over for Dream Alliance the following year at Aintree when he suffered a severe tendon injury of the kind that would usually result in a horse being put down. His owners refused to give up on him and he was instead referred by his vet to Prof. Roger Smith of the Royal Veterinary College, one of the luminaries in the field of equine orthopaedics.
Prof. Smith, performed keyhole surgery on Dream Alliance, implanting mesenchymal stem cells into his tendon. Eighteen months later, at the Welsh Grand National, with odds of 60-1, Dream Alliance won – making horse racing history.
Biobest have been involved in the culture of mesenchymal stem cells since 2005 and ours is the largest VMD authorised stem cell centre operating in the UK. In this time, we have helped hundreds of horses return to racing form. If you are interested in learning more about the stem cell services offered by Biobest please visit the stem cell section of our website.