Successful Tendon Treatment

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A 6yo trotting mare suffered a serious tendon injury in February 2013


The injury was sustained during a trial, and involved the rupture of fibres in the Superficial Digital Flexor Tendon (SDFT)

The injury was assessed with a diagnostic ultrasound scan, which revealed a large black hole (indicating fibre rupture and haemorrhage) in the middle of the tendon


tendon feb

About 5 weeks after the injury occured, the tendon was treated with an injection of "PRP" or Platelet-Rich Plasma extracted from the mare's own bloodstream

This procedure is designed to harness the healing power of platelets, which are a normal component of blood, where they swing into action in large numbers in the event of an injury.  A quantity of blood was taken aseptically from the mare's jugular vein and subjected to a series of steps including centrifugation, leaving a small volume of plasma filled with activated platelets, which was then injected directly into the tendon lesion

The advantage of this technique is that it supplies the platelets to the exact spot where the healing is required, which due to the poor blood supply of the relatively avascular tendinous structure is normally inaccessible

One month after the PRP treatment, the tendon was scanned again - this time showing that the lesion has largely filled in and healing is well underway

tendon april

The mare will be rested for a further month or six weeks, at which time we hope further scans will clear her to start light work.  She will then undergo an extended pre-training exercise programme, jogging preferably on hard surfaces, and begin fast work eventually if scans show healing is complete as expected.

To read more about tendon injuries courtesy of Equine Dental Vets and Horses & People Magazine, click here