Researchers are examining the potential role of stem cells in treating equine lameness at the Veterinary Center for Clinical Trials at the University of California, Davis.
Dr. Larry Galuppo, chief of the veterinary hospital’s Equine Lameness and Surgery Service, is conducting four trials using stem cells in order to more effectively heal injuries contributing to lameness.

According to a spring report released by UC Davis, Galuppo’s work focuses on “mesenchymal stem cell’s ability to replicate themselves, regenerate tissue and repair damaged tissue to treat tendon and ligament injuries, intra-articular lesions and laminitis in equine athletes.”

Lameness is often caused by the formation of non-elastic scar tissue resulting from injury. Current treatments often produce unsatisfactory results at high costs.

Galuppo and other researchers, including other faculty members of the Veterinary Institute for Regenerative Cures, are “exploring the use of stem cells to develop an effective treatment that will improve healing and lessen the amount of scar tissue formation” according to the report. “The goal of this work is to generate evidence-based recommendations for stem cell therapies.”

This research has the potential to improve the healing process at a critical point of potential scar formation. Regenerative medicine could lessen rates of reinjury and make horses more likely to return to their previous levels of athletic performance.

Though in its early stages, the research shows positive results for many horses. “Eventually, these stem cell therapies may become integrated as a routine part of regenerative medicine for sport horses, as well as human athletes suffering from similar conditions.”