Equine Sport Solutions (ESS),
is a veterinary practice based out of Colorado Springs, promoting the pursuit of excellence in the equestrian sport.

Regenerative Therapies

Our Colorado equine clinic, based in Colorado Springs, offers the latest in advanced regenerative therapies. Whenever there has been significant damage to a tissue due to trauma, a regenerative approach may help restore what the body has lost. Regenerative medicine helps re-establish normal site specific tissue and thereby enhance healing and biomechanical function.

Stem cells:

Stem cell treatment is a form of regenerative therapy that involves using the body’s own “base” cell to differentiate into other cells. Our Colorado equine clinic uses this treatment in horses with soft tissue injuries (tendon/ligament) to facilitate tissue healing and limit scar tissue formation during the process. The procedure involves taking the horse’s adipose tissue, or fat, from a small surgical incision. The tissue is sent away to be processed and is returned in 48 hours. Then, the adipose tissue-derived stem cells are injected into an injured area under ultrasound-guidance to insure proper placement of the treatment into the specific targeted lesion. Equine Sport Solutions typically combines stem cell therapy with platelet-rich plasma therapy to provide additional growth factors.

To learn more, click here for the Vet-Stem Homepage

ACP treatment:

Autologous Cell Protein is commonly used in our Colorado equine clinic to treat tendon, ligament, and joint injuries. The body’s natural platelets contain a variety of growth factors that stimulate healing. The treatment involves drawing the horse’s blood and separating the platelets out through a process called centrifugation. This new platelet and growth factor rich component of the blood is then injected into an injured area. The ACP product stimulates collagen formation, promotes blood vessel formation, stimulates release of growth factors, and modulates matrix formation. Equine Sport Solutions performs this treatment under ultrasound-guidance to insure proper placement of the ACP into the specific targeted lesions.

So, what is the difference between this product and platelet-rich plasma, another regenerative therapy that may be used in another Colorado equine clinic? The end product of ACP does not contain red blood cells (RBCs) and white blood cells (WBCs) within the plasma layer drawn up after centrifugation. Why is this important? Lysed RBCs release radicals that can destroy anything nearby and activated WBCs can release a product called MMP that can eat up matrix and a product called reactive oxygen species that can also destroy anything nearby.

IRAP therapy:

Osteoarthritis is one of the most common causes of lameness in horses. At our Colorado equine clinic, veterinarians can treat this condition with a laundry list of methods which typically include a combination of rest, oral anti-inflammatories, feed additive joint supplements, injectable forms of joint supplements, and intra-articular (joint) injections of corticosteroids and hyaluronic acid to help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Although injecting corticosteroids into a joint can significantly reduce inflammation within a joint, it is considered a “short term” fix because it minimally protects the joint tissues.

The pathophysiology of osteoarthritis is complex. Changes in a joint over time stimulate formation and release of inflammatory proteins, such as interleukin-1 and other cytokines, which result in cartilage degeneration. IRAP (interleukin-1 receptor antagonist protein) was developed to counteract the inflammatory protein, interleukin-1, and thereby slow the progression of osteoarthritis.

Our Colorado equine clinic begins treatment by drawing blood aseptically from the horse into a syringe that contains special beads that induce an inflammatory response. The blood is then incubated for 24 hours, centrifuged, and separated serum withdrawn. This serum contains the anti-inflammatory protein, IRAP. Several individual syringes of serum can be frozen for future use.

Initially, Equine Sport Solutions recommends three consecutive intra-articular treatments at 7-10 day intervals, then injection as needed for maintenance thereafter. Because IRAP can be used more frequently as compared to traditional corticosteroid joint injections, it can be used throughout a competition season.


Pro-Stride is a rather new regenerative therapy option for joints. Sport horses with chronic joint inflammation that may require repetitive joint injections or younger horses that would benefit from a non-steroidal joint injection make excellent candidates for this type of therapy. 

Pro-Stride is an Autologous Protein Solution (APS) and could be considered somewhat of a hybrid of IRAP and PRP. 

Pro-Stride is processed stall side with your horse’s own blood. Blood is processed similar to IRAP, but differs in that it is ready to be used within 20 minutes!  Pro-Stride is advantageous in comparison to IRAP in that it only requires one injection as compared to the typical 3 series injections of IRAP.  This allows your horse to return to competing as quickly as possible.