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Stem Cell

Stem cell therapy is a regenerative therapy offered by Cavallo Veterinary Services. Our use of this technology is adapting over time as research into stem cell therapy continues to progress. Stem cells are early progenitor cells that retain their ability to differentiate into many different cell types as they divide and replicate. Adult stem cells are classified either as mesenchymal stem cells (destined to become one of the connective tissues of the body such as bone, muscle, tendon, nerve) or hematopoietic stem cells (destined to become a blood cell).


Adult mesenchymal stem cells receive their signal to differentiate into a more specific tissue type through chemical signals known as cytokines. Once stem cells are recruited to an area of injury by cytokines, they interact with other cells and differentiate into the specific tissue type needed for repair.


Stem cells are thought to improve the quality of the repair and reduce scar tissue formation but are not proven to speed up the rate of healing. Ongoing research shows that in areas such as tendons and ligaments where scar formation can be detrimental to future athletic function, it is important to encourage the number of stem cells and growth factors at the site of repair, so the body will rebuild with more normal tissue rather than relying on fibroblasts which make a permanent scar.


Stem cells used in veterinary medicine can be autologous or allogeneic. Autologous stem cells are harvested from the horse’s own body and allogeneic stem cells are harvested from a donor horse. Allogeneic cells are available for use more rapidly, as they can be ordered on demand rather than proliferating in a lab for weeks after bone marrow aspiration harvest. Some horses produce larger quantities and higher quality stem cells than others (meaning the cell’s characteristics are more predictable and consistent), so using allogeneic cells from a donor horse may mean higher-quality cells.


Stem cell therapy is often used in conjunction with platelet-rich plasma therapy and/or shockwave therapy, as they can work synergistically to optimize healing.

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