Did you know that your horse has the power to heal herself?

Dr. Bobby Cowles, Managing Veterinarian, Equine Technical Services, Zoetis

Did you know that your horse has the power to heal itself Did you know that your horse has the power to heal itself Did you know that your horse has the power to heal itself

It’s no secret that your horse is your unicorn and that unicorns have magical capabilities. But did you know your veterinarian can use your horse’s own blood and bone marrow to help heal lameness, joint pain and soft tissue injury with a simple injection?

Horses have naturally occurring properties in their bodies that can be isolated and used to reduce pain and promote recovery from common conditions like lameness due to osteoarthritis (OA).

Traditionally, veterinarians have been limited to steroids and hyaluronic acid to treat joints. While these solutions do alleviate pain, they do not address underlying problems and stop short of solving chronic inflammation in order to encourage long-term healing. Regenerative medicine is an exciting emerging field in treating equine injuries to bring damaged tissue back to as close to its original quality as possible.

Here’s what you need to know if your veterinarian suggests a Zoetis regenerative medicine device as a treatment option for your horse.

What are Pro-Stride® APS, Restigen® PRP and CenTrate® BMA?

  1. Pro-Stride APS (Autologous Protein Solution): In a simple stall-side procedure that takes 20 minutes to perform, your veterinarian will draw a routine blood sample from your horse and centrifuge it using a two-step process. The result is a concentrated cell solution containing anti-inflammatory cytokines and growth factors that, when injected into the injured area, help alleviate inflammation and pain and boost your horse’s recovery process.1,2 The Pro-Stride APS device is most commonly used for degenerative joint disease, OA and synovitis (overproduction of joint fluid from inflammation).

    In a study looking at client-owned horses that were evaluated for lameness, results found significant improvement in lameness grade up to a year later, and in some cases longer, after just one Pro-Stride injection.3
  1. Restigen PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma): Using a similar setup as Pro-Stride, your veterinarian will draw a routine blood sample from your horse and centrifuge it using the respective regenerative medicine device to isolate and concentrate platelets 9X in the solution.4,5 This highly concentrated solution is then injected into the injured area. Most commonly, the Restigen PRP device is used to help jump-start the healing of soft tissue injuries, as platelets are naturally found in the horse’s blood and include multiple growth factors such as white blood cells and anti-inflammatories.6 These components play a significant role in the natural healing of injuries in soft tissue such as tendons and ligaments.
  2. CenTrate BMA (Bone Marrow Aspirate): Bone marrow plays an essential role in the body—it creates the blood and vascular system using a rich source of cells. After an injury, the body sends a signal to recruit many different cells for healing, and one of those is mesenchymal stem cells (MSC), which are found in bone marrow. Using the same centrifuge as Pro-Stride and Restigen, your veterinarian will draw a routine bone marrow aspirate using a specialized needle from either the sternum (in between the elbows) or ileum (by the point of the hip). By collecting cells from the bone marrow, the CenTrate BMA device isolates and concentrates mesenchymal stem cells, other progenitor cells, white blood cells and platelets to create a concentrated powerful solution of healing cells, which are injected into the site of injury7. Most commonly, CenTrate is used for advanced arthritis, soft tissue injury or bone defects like Osteochondritis Dessicans (OCD). 

When will I see results?

The goal of regenerative medicine is to restore the injured area to as near normal tissue composition as possible by isolating and concentrating the horse’s self-healing properties.

This does not necessarily mean that regenerative medicine works faster than traditional approaches, so working with your veterinarian to develop and follow a rehabilitation program with regular check-ins to help ensure positive progression is essential. Your vet will also be able to recommend when and how your horse should start training or working again, since each injury is different and may require a different approach.

Typically with Pro-Stride, you will see significant positive results in 2 to 4 weeks, sometimes sooner. Restigen and CenTrate are typically used for soft tissue injuries, depending on the size and location of the lesion.3


  1. Muir R, Reisbig N, Baria M, et al. The concentration of plasma provides additional bioactive proteins in platelet and autologous protein solutions. The American J of Sports Medicine. 2019;47(8):1955-1963.
  2. Linardi RL, Dodson ME, Moss KL, King WJ, Ortved KF. The Effect of Autologous Protein Solution on the Inflammatory Cascade in Stimulated Equine Chondrocytes. Frontiers in Veterinary Science. 2019;6. doi:10.3389/fvets.2019.00064
  3. Bertone AL, Ishihara A, Zekas LJ, et al. Evaluation of a single intra-articular injection of autologous protein solution for treatment of osteoarthritis in horses. American Journal of Veterinary Research. 2014;75(2):141-151. doi:10.2460/ajvr.75.2.141
  4. Woodell-May J. GPSTM III vs. Arthrex ACPTM output characterization. Biomet Biologics. 2021.
  5. Biomet verification protocols. Zoetis internal validation study. 2008.
  6. Bosch G, van Schie HT, de Groot MW, et al. Effects of platelet-rich plasma on the quality of repair of mechanically induced core lesions in equine superficial digital flexor tendons: A placebo-controlled experimental study. Journal of Orthopaedic Research. 2009. doi:10.1002/jor.20980
  7. King W, Tan M, Ponticello M, Woodell-May J. Anti-Inflammatory Properties of the Output of an Autologous Bone Marrow Concentrating Device. Orthopaedic Research Society 2016 Annual Meeting. March 4-8 2016.


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