Orthopedic problems often bother older animals that have a predisposition to joint diseases or are engaged in sporting activities. In such cases, they are often offered complicated and risky surgical treatments. However, pet owners feel that alternatives are seriously lacking. Good news – Lithuanian vets have started offering PRP therapy to small pets, which reduces the pain and stimulates the healing processes of the damaged tissues.
According to Dr. Birutė Karvelienė, the Head of Dr. Kriaučeliūnas Small Animal Clinic at the Veterinary Academy of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LUHS), platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy has been mostly applied in equine medicine in the Baltic region. It has only recently become more widespread with regards to small animals, such as cats and dogs. ‘The application of biological therapy was first started in the clinic to provide new and effective treatment for patients, which allows for a shorter healing time and improves the patient’s prognosis,’ says Dr. Karvelienė.
Orthopedic diseases are very common in the veterinary practice, whereby animals often exhibit varying degrees of pain, a worsening of their functional movement, and a significant change in the quality of their lives. There is a great need to fight these adverse symptoms and their consequences. According to the Head of the Clinic, pet owners choose this treatment method mostly due to the efficacy of this type of therapy, low risk of complications, and minimal intervention required.
The Success Story of Tango the Dog – One of Many
Monika is the owner of Tango – an American Pit Bull Terrier mix. She noticed that her dog was suffering from knee joint pain: he would limp and could not fully stretch out his right hind leg after a longer run. Monika immediately applied to Dr. Kriaučeliūnas Small Animal Clinic. The veterinarians-orthopedists diagnosed him with the dislocation of the patella, which led to the inflammation of the knee joint. The necessary surgery could not be performed due to the inflammation. Therefore, the vets suggested PRP therapy.
American Pit Bull Terrier Tango with his owner Monika
My first thoughts were: how can I help my pet. After all, the dog is very young and extremely active. Such problems are the worst. Before the procedure, I read a lot of information about platelet-rich plasma treatment and its benefits. Knowing that PRP injections in most cases give an obvious result, I had no doubts before the procedure,’ tells the pet owner from Kaunas.
The procedure was performed in the morning and the dog was already feeling normal after coming home in the evening. According to the pet owner, the dog felt relief 6 days after the procedure. He started to fully stretch out his hind legs and did not avoid stepping with his problematic leg first. The autologous concentrated blood therapy helped to not only relieve the pain fast but also reduce the inflammation. As a result, the patient is fully prepared for the pending surgery.
Innovative Efforts in Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Kriaučeliūnas Small Animal Clinic at the Veterinary Academy is the only clinic in Lithuania that offers PRP therapy to small animals. According to Dr. Karvelienė, the implementation of new treatment methods requires a lot of research confirming the method is beneficial and safe, the preparation of the methodology, as well as obtaining special equipment. This is the reason why PRP procedures are only starting to be applied in the veterinary practice.
‘We put a lot of work at the Veterinary Academy of the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences. Our clinic is focused on students and their improvement. Therefore, we are always looking for ways to try new treatment methods in the veterinary practice. We are putting a lot of quality effort to prepare fully competent future veterinarians, who will be able to put effective and progressive treatment methods into practice at other Lithuanian clinics’, says the Head of the Clinic.
Veterinarian-radiologist performs PRP procedure
The Clinic’s veterinarians-orthopedists actively participate in scientific research, as well as veterinary training, seminars, and conferences coordinated by the PRP therapy pioneers and experts. They gain practical skills during their internships in foreign universities and partner clinics. Specialists at the Clinic choose high-quality instruments and equipment for the therapy that are made by the American company Arthrex. In the Baltic states, this market leader is represented by the company Bonameda, which provides comprehensive clinical support to the Clinic’s specialists and is prepared to help other veterinary clinics to implement this new service.
Key Information About the Procedure
Veterinarian-radiologist and the Head of Surgery, Dr. Dalia Juodžentė, who performs PRP procedures, advises that PRP injections are recommended when there is a partial rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament and when the pet owner does not want to, or is unable to, provide surgery for the animal. It is also recommended for cases of enthesopathy of flexor muscles of the elbow, osteoarthritis, bone fractures that have difficulty healing, and hip dysplasia. ‘Therapy could be applied as a component of orthopedic illness treatment or as a treatment alone. Most importantly, global research shows that the risk of PRP procedures is minimal or non-existent. Therefore, it is absolutely safe,’ says Dr. Juodžentė.
During the procedure, the required amount of blood is drawn from the animal using a special Arthrex syringe. Due to the balanced timing and the speed of the centrifuge, the extremely potent platelet-rich blood plasma is separated from the animal’s blood. It is then immediately injected into the treatment area. ‘Pet owners mostly notice positive effects after one injection, for example, when a bone fracture has difficulty healing, or the pet has osteoarthritis. Sometimes, injections will have to be repeated every few months, which depends on the animal and its diseases, because every animal recovers differently,’ tells the Head of Surgery.
Before the procedure, the pet must not eat for 12 hours. After the procedure, the animal must remain calm, and its load and movements must be limited for approximately 7-10 days to achieve the best results. The healing effect is caused by growth agents that are activated and released from the platelets. The animal must have little physical activity for the activated growth agents to work and heal or regenerate the damaged tissue and reduce the pain of the affected area.
‘Biological therapy does not replace surgery, but it helps to eliminate the inflammation, restore the affected areas, and reduce the pain. What is more, is that it is completely safe. Repeated ultrasound tests and X-ray results showed that the inflammation reduced significantly,’ the pet owner happily shares the obvious results of the procedure.
Anyone interested in booking PRP therapy for your pet is welcome to call us on +370 620 78353. The Clinic is located on Tilžės St. 18, Kaunas.
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