Stem Cell Therapy
In the 14 years since injections of bone marrow-derived stem cell therapy were initiated at Alamo Pintado, more than 4,000 horses have received bone marrow-derived stem cell therapy for tendon, ligament and joint injuries. Bone marrow is collected from the horse either onsite or by a referring veterinarian in the field, and is then processed in the Alamo Pintado Stem Cell Therapy Laboratory to isolate, culture and preserve the stem cells.
The Alamo Pintado Stem Cell laboratory uses the same laboratory procedures for the processing, expansion and storage of stem cells currently used by the Center for Equine Health’s Regenerative Medicine Group at the University of California, Davis. Stem cell personnel also collaborate with members of that group on research and clinical trials evaluating the use of stem cells in the repair of orthopedic injuries and the regeneration of diseased or damaged tissues in horses.
Developed in 1978 and expanded in the 1990s, MRI has been the gold standard in human medicine for diagnostic imaging of orthopedic, brain and soft tissue injuries. MRI utilizes a strong magnetic field (30,000 times as strong as the Earth’s magnetic field) to orient the atoms of the body. By changing this field temporarily, these atoms react and emit radio waves which are detected and interpreted by a computer to create the image. No radiation is used and there are no known side-effects to the use of MRI at this field strength in the horse.
A state of the art, high field (1.5T) Siemens Magnetom Espree, has been installed in a customized facility at Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center. In development for over a year, this system allows for effective, time efficient imaging of orthopedic and brain injuries of the horse.
In April of 2000, Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center acquired the first hyperbaric oxygen chamber designed specifically for horses, thus becoming the first veterinary hospital to offer hyperbaric therapy to equine patients in the United States. The chamber, manufactured by Equinox Technologies of British Columbia, Canada, consists of a pressurized cylinder large enough to hold two horses at a time, in which the patient immerses in an enriched oxygen environment at approximately two times normal atmospheric pressure for the duration of the treatment. This environment promotes an increase in tissue oxygenation by as much as 13 times the normal level.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been used in human medicine for over a decade, only now have we started to collect data on the beneficial effects it also has on our animal patients. Some of the effects of HBOT include the antibacterial activity of oxygen on certain anaerobic microorganisms and enhanced white blood cell activity, reduction of tissue edema, maintains tissue oxygenation in cases of decreased hemoglobin content in the blood, stimulates fibroblast activity and collagen deposition, thus enhancing wound healing and also stimulates growth of capillary beds into injured tissues, to name a few. During its first year at Alamo Pintado, the applications of our HBOT chamber grew to include such diseases as:
• Osteomyelitis (bone infections)
• Desmitis and tendonitis (injury to ligaments and tendons)
• Post-surgical wounds and wounds that were slow to heal
• Thermal burns and smoke inhalation
• Rhabdomyolisis (tying-up)
• Head trauma, peripheral nerve trauma
• Anaerobic infections
• Intestinal surgeries (normalizes function post-surgery)
• Tissue necrosis due to rattlesnake and spider bites
• Enhanced recovery from athletic performance
Platinum Performance was created to specifically aid bone and muscle healing in our equine patients. Based on research done over several years by Dr. Doug Herthel, we found that providing key trace minerals, highly bioavailable protein sources, vitamins and essential fatty acids that are missing from the modern horse diet, our patients experienced enhanced healing of muscles and bones, thus reducing the post-surgical recovery and promoting a smoother return to normal activity.
Some of the beneficial effects of our enhanced nutrition program include a stronger overall immune system, decreased allergic episodes, decreased arthritic and joint pain, increased coat health and shine, enhanced hoof health, increased stamina, decreased colic episodes and overall anabolic conditioning for peak athletic performance.
To visit and learn more about our Platinum Performance Formula and the variety of supplements available, please visit the Platinum Performance website.
Since its founding, the veterinary staff at Alamo Pintado has searched for a way to cover the gap between the time a horse is injured and its arrival at our medical facility. This initial period can be critical to the successful outcome of certain injuries and so the Alamo Pintado Equine Ambulance was developed. Built to our specifications, our ambulance is a modified four-horse trailer outfitted to provide immediate basic emergency care. It is equipped with a padded sled and winch to load downed horses, oxygen supply with a demand valve, anesthesia equipment, endotracheal tubes, basic medications and pharmacy supplies, fluid administration sets, fiberglass casting and bandaging materials and basic surgical supplies. In short, it offers a safe, humane and comfortable way to mobilize injured horses while at the same time administering “front line” emergency care until the horse reaches the hospital.