New Treatment Modalities

Skin wounds are an everyday condition seen by the equine practitioner and they exert a significant financial impact on the equine industry. A large study by the National Animal Health Monitoring System found that injuries are the most common medical condition affecting horses : of the horses studied, 4.7% suffered a wound compared with 2.8% with musculoskeletal disorder leading to lameness, 1.9% with gastrointestinal disorder leading to colic, and 1.9% with respiratory problems. In horses less than 6 months of age, 24% of euthanasias were performed because of wounds, whereas in horses older than 6 months, the figure was 16%. Finally, it is reported that 7% of injuries leading to the retirement of racehorses are the result of an injury or a wound.


While similar data is not available for the veterinary industry, the Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry forecasts that the global wound care market (for humans) will reach $20.3 billion by 2015. Growth rates for novel technologies in the next decade are expected to skyrocket, galvanized by the introduction of biotechnology-based, full-thickness skin replacements as well as a plethora of growth factor-based products. GBI Research announced that the global advanced wound care management market is forecast to reach $3.7 billion by 2016, with a growth rate of 4.5% from 2009-2016. 


Due to the unique nature of wound repair in horses, existing therapies beneficial to other species may not be suitable. Moreover, while it is imperative that innovations in wound management be provided to the equine practitioner, many commercially available products rely heavily upon anecdotal evidence and still await thorough evaluation. In the Theoret lab we have investigated the effects of various novel therapies including honey, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and silicone gel sheeting on the repair of body and limb wounds of horses. These studies have provided the equine veterinarian with much needed data to aid in the formulation of a scientifically-based therapeutic strategy. 


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