Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy is a type of regenerative medicine that is rapidly gaining popularity and accessibility in the companion animal world. With many of the same benefits as stem cell therapy, PRP therapy can be exceptionally useful in treating injured and wounded pets. 

Question: How does platelet-rich plasma therapy work?

Answer: Platelet-rich plasma is blood plasma that contains concentrated amounts of platelets and growth factors. PRP therapy is a non-surgical, innovative method of providing high doses of the body’s own healing factors directly to the needed areas. PRP therapy aims to accelerate internal healing processes by amplifying the biological signals that would naturally occur when platelets congregate at an injury. By concentrating platelets and releasing more growth factors than would naturally occur, local tissue repair is stimulated.

Q: What conditions in pets can be treated with platelet-rich plasma therapy?

A: Pet PRP therapy is used to treat conditions affecting the bones, skin, muscles, joints, and connective tissues. We may recommend PRP therapy for your pet with:

  • Major wounds
  • Sprained or ruptured ligaments
  • Damaged tendons
  • Spinal problems
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Degenerative joint diseases
  • Muscle tears
  • Elbow and hip dysplasia
  • Dental disease
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Surgical incisions

As PRP therapy is used more commonly in companion animal medicine, more research data will become available, and the number of conditions treated with this therapy will grow. 

Q: What happens to my pet receiving platelet-rich plasma therapy?

A: PRP therapy is performed as an outpatient procedure, so your pet needs to spend only the day in our hospital. They will likely need sedation or anesthesia for the procedure, depending on the area being treated, but they will still be ready to go home the same day. 

First, your pet’s blood is drawn and spun in a centrifuge to separate the components. The plasma portion of the blood contains the platelets, which will be much more concentrated once they are centrifuged. Next, the platelets are stimulated to release their growth factors, which speeds up the healing process. Once activated, the platelet-rich plasma is injected into, or applied topically in gel form to, the affected area.

Q: How long does a platelet-rich plasma therapy session take?

A: The entire procedure typically takes 30 to 45 minutes from start to finish, plus the recovery time if your pet was sedated or anesthetized. The longest portion of the procedure is the time spent preparing the blood sample, and separating the plasma from the other blood components.

Q: Can platelet-rich plasma therapy be used with my pet’s other treatments?

A: PRP is a drug-free, surgery-free treatment modality that can be paired with almost any other therapy. Few, if any, interactions are a concern when adding PRP therapy to a treatment plan. PRP therapy works exceptionally well when combined with other advanced treatments, such as stem cell therapy and laser therapy.

Q: When can I expect to see results from platelet-rich plasma therapy and how long will they last?

A: As high as 80 percent of pets treated with PRP show noticeable improvement in their mobility in less than 10 days. Some pet owners have reported a mild to moderate relapse of signs about two weeks after treatment, before seeing a sustained benefit. Therapeutic effects have lasted between six to nine months for dogs with mild to moderate osteoarthritis. Injections can be repeated as often as every two weeks, but most pets return every 6 to 12 months for a “refresh.”

Q: Will my pet experience any side effects after platelet-rich plasma therapy?

A: Because PRP therapy uses your pet’s own blood, few side effects are seen. Immediately after treatment, your pet may be sore from the injection, but this should subside in a few days. Restrict your pet’s activity for the first four weeks after treatment, and stick to mild, controlled exercise, such as short leash walks. The potential soreness will dissipate sooner than your pet’s exercise restrictions, so avoid fetching, jumping, running, or daycare, until we give your pet the all clear.

Is your pet possibly an ideal candidate for platelet-rich plasma therapy? Contact our Cherry Knolls Veterinary Clinic team to schedule an appointment, to see if your furry pal would benefit from regenerative medicine.