COVID-19 Information Center

Using Platelet Rich Fibrin to Help Healing Equine Wounds

Date Published: 11/24/2020

Lacerations commonly occur in horses and some of them can be difficult to heal.  Equine wounds, especially on the lower legs, are very susceptible to proud flesh. That prevents the wounds from healing and if not treated correctly, large amounts of scar tissue can develop.  These wounds can be painful with chronic infections and can be a source of lameness. Many of these wounds on the lower legs cannot be sutured, or the sutures will not hold, and this leaves an open wound with a large amount of area for the skin to cover.  Some of these can take months to heal with daily wrapping and surgery to remove proud flesh. 

Platelet rich plasma has been used to aid in wound healing as it contains growth factors to encourage healing with little scar formation.  However, platelet rich plasma is a liquid, which makes it difficult to keep in contact with the wound surface.  To solve this issue, Dr. Corey Orava developed a product called platelet rich fibrin. It is a solid material.  The platelet fibrin is formed using the horse’s own red blood cells. The cells are removed, leaving a fibrin clot that is a solid piece of material. It can be flattened and applied to the wound, and even sutured to the wound surface.  There is no risk of rejection as the product is formed from the horse’s own blood and in many cases will incorporate into the wound and will be fully resorbed.  Platelets are naturally activated by exposure to damaged tissue and they release granular contents into a wound environment, which includes anabolic growth factors that are responsible for initiation, propagation, and maintenance in all phases of wound healing. Platelet rich fibrin may be helpful for healing equine lower leg wounds, so talk to your equine veterinarian about it.