photo by
Tales of Taco the Wonder Horse and his ammy rider on their way to a Training Three Day

Monday, July 11, 2011

Heal, Taco, Heal!

Last week Taco and I drove back to Lexington for his stem cell and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections.  His bone-marrow stem cells grew very well at the Cornell lab and he had them injected just 2 weeks and 6 days after they were extracted.

We had a somewhat adventurous trip up.  First, we hit traffic in the construction on I-65 in Kentucky.  NOTE: if you are traveling this route, I strongly recommend that you consider an alternate route-- either 31E or 31W-- between Horse Cave and Elizabethtown!  You can use the traffic function on this map (on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone) to help determine where the traffic is and where to start your detour.  I took 31W home this time between Upton and Munfordville, thus sparing Taco the experience of sweltering in the trailer as we inched along.  But on the way north, I ran smack into the delays.

Having finally gotten free of the traffic, I was merrily motoring along when I heard a WHOOMPH! noise from behind me, and looked in my mirror in time to see my trailer's fender spinning through the air.  I didn't register what it was at first, but as I continued to look in my side mirror I realized that I could a) see the tires and b) one of the tires was completely shredded.  This was the bad news.  The good news was that it hadn't caused an accident and I was half a mile from an exit-- an exit that had a truck repair shop, as it turned out.  First I pulled into the lot of the shop and changed the tire.  But then, when I asked the shop if I could air up my spare, they said that they actually had an identical tire to the other three on the trailer.  So I had them take the spare back off and give me a brand new one.  Taco was very, very patient through this whole ordeal.  Aside from pointedly ignoring the attentions of the nice repairman, he was a perfect gentleman.

That is one jacked up trailer.
We got back on the road and reached our destination, our friend Sarah's farm, a couple of hours later than intended but safely.  Taco enjoyed a night of luxury in her beautiful barn.

Taco to his host Tristan: "nah nah, I got to stay in your stall last night!"

Then we headed over to Hagyard.  Dr. Peters drew some blood, which he then sent to the lab to be spun down into the PRP. Then Taco was brought to the treatment room, sedated, and re-scanned with the ultrasound.  To my relief, no additional damage seemed to have occurred from the unauthorized self-turnout of the previous week. Dr. Peters carefully chose several injection sites and clipped the hair off the leg, and then Bree, his skilled technician, scrubbed Taco's leg for a very long time.

Then Dr. Peters injected some local anesthetic (as with the local for his bone marrow extraction, Taco did not like this at all).  In both cases, however, he didn't seem to notice the extraction/injections themselves.

Stem cells on the left, PRP on the right

By this point, the PRP was ready and it, plus the stem cells, were combined together in five syringes, ready to be injected.  Bree held the ultrasound probe so that Dr. Peters could see exactly where he injected the stem cell-PRP concoction. 

He explained that research seems to indicate the two types of treatments work synergistically, with the PRP providing growth factors and "scaffolding" and the stem cells providing healthy new cells.  He was very pleased with how the procedure went, and after the injections were complete, he showed me on the ultrasound how the concoction had distributed itself all along the tendon.  Taco's leg was wrapped up and he went back to Barn 2 to wake up from his sedation.

I'm awake-- can we go home now?

We loaded up and headed home that night (making the aforementioned detour around the construction).  Taco will be on 60 more days of stall rest, with an ultrasound recheck in 45.  Hopefully, at the end of those 60 days he will be able to begin some controlled exercise. In the meantime, he's continuing his hand grazing routine.  He's not thrilled about it, but he is remarkably patient.  I, on the other hand, find that patience is very difficult. C'mon Taco, heal!!


Ruby said...

Poor Taco =( Hope he heals up well :)
Ruby, Australia

Kate said...

LOL at the "jacked up trailer" photo...hilarious! And I'm glad that what could have been a very frightening/terrible thing turned out to be not so bad, and it had an easy fix. Horray for truck stops!

Checkmark115 said...

omw to Ohio, I had all 4 tires on the trailer blow. Nice, right? It was a disaster.

Stem cells? NEAT!