Is IRAP the Real Deal?

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When it comes to veterinary horse care, I?like most horse owners?am fighting a constant battle trying to make prudent decisions.

I've got a set of horses that I'm very pleased with, but I also need them. I can't care for the cattle I own without them. I don't want to own more than 4-5 horses, but when one or two go lame, I have tough decisions I have to make. How much money do I put into treatment before I give up? At what point would it be cheaper to just buy a new horse?

Recently, my vet has put me onto a new treatment for degenerative joint disease?one of the most common ailments among working/performing horses?called IRAP.

Now, I won?t pretend to understand the science behind this technology, so I've included a few links below for your researching perusal. Here's a quick synopsis, though: the vet draws your horse's own blood into special syringes with glass beads that stimulate the white blood cells and therapeutic proteins. After a day, the blood is centrifuged and the serum is separated from red blood cells. That serum is then re-injected into the horse's affected joint.

http://www.tevs.com.au/default/irap_joint_therapy

http://www.ncsu.edu/project/cvm-eqorth/IRAP.html

http://www.vetmed.ufl.edu/extension/documents/IRAPFinal_000.pdf

We've decided to try this IRAP therapy on my good horse, Turkey for a couple reasons: one, because it's cheaper than a new horse (around $1,500) and two, 18 months of rest kept him sound for about a month before he went lame again. We need a solution.

We've used cortisone injections with success on my son?s horse and if IRAP works for Turkey, we'll use it on Tuff, too.

Both the vet who drew the blood for Turkey and had the technology to produce the serum and my vet, who has administered the first round of injections, have had very positive experiences with this treatment. So have some colleagues and associates in the industry. I hadn?t ever heard of it before we started down this path but everything we?ve heard so far sounds positive. I thought it would be worth sharing with you in an effort to get more input and anecdotal testimony from the general horse-owning public.

Have you heard of it? Have you used it? Was it successful? I'd love to hear your thoughts and stories.