IRAP is a product used to treat osteoarthritis in horses (arthritis). IRAP is different from other products because it treats the cause of joint disease and it’s action is aimed at restoring joint lining and cartilage function. Studies performed in Colorado State University show that treated horses demonstrate reduced lameness, improved joint histology (cellular make up) and a tendency towards cartilage preservation. Our clinic has seen resolution of lameness, a general improvement in the range of motion of the joint and a decrease in joint effusion in treated horses.

Traditionally the most common intra-articular medication for the management of joint disease has been cortisone injections. Clinically, with cortisone injections we often see a sudden response and improvement in the degree of lameness that then gradually wears off over a period of time. When cortisone injections are repeated we often see a decrease in the interval between treatments. Meaning, that the more cortisone injections a horse has into a particular joint, the shorter the duration of therapeutic effect and the sooner that joint will need to be treated again. The use of IRAP often allows us to delay the use of cortisone injections and prolong the athletic life of the horse. In many cases where there has been a very good response to IRAP therapy, cortisone injections to manage the degenerative joint disease can be delayed indefinitely.

The use of IRAP therapy does not increase the risk of laminitis and there is a smaller risk of joint infection using IRAP compared with using cortisone. There have been a few reported cases of reaction to IRAP serum with a ‘flare’ response seen within 24hrs of injection. This is an uncommon side effect that subsides after administration of systemic corticosteroids and application of ice to the joint.

If you would like to discuss the suitability of IRAP as a treatment for your horse, please contact our office will be happy to discuss your case.