Early Research Suggests Stem Cells A Promising Treatment For Equine Asthma

Equine asthma, previously called heaves, is also known as recurrent airway obstruction (RAO). This is a chronic inflammatory lung disease in horses that are sensitive to organic particles in dust, including  molds and pollen often found around the farm.

Similar to asthma in humans, heaves can run the gamut from just a cough to being severe enough that a horse must work hard just to breathe, even at rest. Once a horse develops RAO, he is more susceptible to flare ups. The disease is treatable, but not curable.

Equine asthma can end the competition careers of some horses and make even pleasure mounts unrideable if the condition becomes bad enough. In the past, horse owners administered corticosteroids to a horse having an acute asthmatic episode to treat the condition. The condition is irreversible, and if not addressed, will become progressively worse.

Though management changes are the best way to ensure a horse breathes as easily as he can, new research shows that stem cells may also be a possible treatment for the condition. 

Dr. Dorothee Bienzle, a researcher with the Ontario Veterinary College, is working with researchers in Slovenia to investigate whether administering stem cells into the lower airway using an endoscope might be a possible treatment for equine asthma. Endoscopes are commonly used in equine asthmatic patients to examine the lower airways.

Previously, stem cells have been administered intravenously, but it was unclear where the treatment would end up in the body. The ability to place them directly in the lower airway would increase their potential efficacy. Stem cells have no known side effects once administered.

Preliminary investigative work shows stem cell therapy outperforming traditional corticosteroids. Research is ongoing. 

Read more at HorseTalk. 

The post Early Research Suggests Stem Cells A Promising Treatment For Equine Asthma appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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