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January 3, 2012

The use of Stem Cells for injuries in horses and other pets.

by DePaolo Equine Concepts

By Linda Rubin

Many of you have heard about the wonderful advances treating horses for various injuries with stem cells, including, but not limited to fractures, bowed tendons, torn ligaments and osteoarthritis.   What most people don’t realize is these advances have been made possible by adult stem cells (ASCs) and not the controversial embryonic stem cells you hear about in the news.  Let’s take a look at these two very different types of stem cells.

Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are cells extracted from the blastula, the very young embryo – within 5 to 10 days old.  These cells have the ability of forming a complete organism.  When observed in a test tube environment, these cells have a wide range of differentiation capabilities, leading to a promising future for ESCs for treating degenerative diseases and more.  Unfortunately, despite the extensive research of ESCs, the ethical issues surrounding them and their failure to reach promising results have remained obstacles.  Adult stem cellsare found in every living organism after birth – umbilical cord and placental stem cells are also considered ASCs.  ASCs have the ability to become virtually any cell in the body, serving as the core of the body’s natural renewal system. Natural renewal is the process where the body naturally maintains and repairs tissues, muscles, ligaments, organs – any area in need of repair and renewal.  They are primarily found in the bone marrow and blood.  There are approximately 125 million ASCs in the bone marrow with around 10 million circulating in the blood stream at all times.  These cells are primitive and unspecialized, remaining undifferentiated until they receive signals from messengers sent by tissues in need to become any specialized cell in the body – heart cells, liver cells, kidney cells, muscle cells, brain cells and more.  ASCs known as tissue stem cells contain their own specific population of tissue stem cells.  Their role is to maintain the tissue in which they are found and for minor repair of that tissue.

Veterinarians have been practicing ASC injections for the past decade.  The most popular technique is by taking a small fat sample from the base of the tail and sending the sample off to a lab to be processed.   Once processed, the ASCs are sent back to the vet where they are then injected into the injured area to start the recovery process.  This procedure costs between $2,000 and $3,000, depending on your veterinarian and the measures used to process the ASCs.  More than one procedure may be necessary to complete the healing process.

Another method is by harvesting the bone marrow from the horse’s sternum by needle aspiration and then injecting the bone marrow directly into the injured tendon or ligament.  The cost of this method is around $1,000.   The problem with bone marrow injection is that it contains a small number of ASCs and may also contain unwanted tissue such as tiny bone fragments.   The large amount of the injection, approximately 6 teaspoons, could create additional damage due to the increased pressure in the injected area.   To alleviate this problem, the harvested ASCs from the bone marrow can also be processed to isolate the stem cells for injection.  This method involves separating the fluid from the stem cells.  The fluid is then frozen and the ASCs are cultured to increase their numbers.  This usually takes two to four weeks.  When complete, the cells are then added back to the fluid and injected into the injured area.  This procedure will cost more than the original $1,000 and increases the horse’s recovery time.

While both practices are a positive feature in the healing process, the body eventually returns to the amount of ASCs it originally released prior to the injection.  This leads to a lesser amount of ASCs migrating to the affected area and possible erosion once again taking place.

Stem Cell Enhancers – also known as ASC nutrition – are compounds, either man-made or derived from natural sources that stimulate the production, release and mobilization of the body’s adult stem cells.   ASC nutrition is easy to use, affordable (approximately $5- $15 per day), non-invasive (mixed with grain, no needles involved), and can be given at any time and place.

Unlike ASC injections where the stem cells are limited to the injection site, oral consumption of ASC nutrition increases the release of the horse’s own ASCs into the bloodstream, allowing their migration to tissues and areas in need of repair throughout the body.  To put it into perspective, ASCs work in the following manner:

  1. The area of the body in need of repair sends chemical signals requesting the release of stem cells from the bone marrow
  2. Stem cells are released and circulate in the bloodstream
  3. A different set of chemical signals attract the stem cells reproduce, becoming healthy the stem cells to the damaged cells of that tissue tissue where

Illustration courtesy of StemTech Health Sciences, Inc.

One of the compounds derived from natural sources of ASC nutrition is whole Aphanizomenon Flos-aquae (AFA).  A species of blue-green algae containing a variety of digestible nutrients including phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, complex sugars, essential fatty acids, active enzymes, proteins and amino acids, AFA (photo courtesy StemTech Health Sciences, Inc.) is one of the oldest life forms on Earth, possibly dating back as far as 3 to 5 billion years.  It can be found in oceans, fresh waters, bare rock and soil.  One of the areas in the world containing an abundance of AFA is the Upper Klamath Lake in Oregon, which has been valued by the local Native Americans for thousands of years. Scientists have isolated the components of whole AFA and have identified the health benefits, including the component supporting the release of ASCs from the bone marrow.  Human studies of StemEnhance®, a product developed from concentrated whole AFA, has proven to support the natural release of approximately 3 to 4 million ASCs from the bone marrow within 30 to 60 minutes of consumption of just 1 gram.  This translates into a 25-30% increase in the number of circulating stem cells in the body.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the number of ASCs circulating in the bloodstream is one of the best indicators of over-all health.  Consequently, the more ASCs circulating throughout the body, the faster the body can regenerate those areas in need of repair.  Equally, the less ASCs circulating, the slower the natural process of repair.  Dr. Cesar Parra noticed after his horses were fed StemEquine®, another product developed from concentrated whole AFA, on a daily basis experienced great change in their attitude, body and coat, and have more sustained energy and stamina (photo of Dr. Parra and Furst Fabio, courtesy of Sharon Packer).  Stem cells that are not used in the renewal process either become blood cells or return to the bone marrow.  It is important to note that ASC nutrition does not take the place of the nutritional supplements you are already feeding your horse.  Nutritional supplements nourish the horse’s system, which is an important part of the healing process.  ASC nutrition actually repairs the damaged tissue, helping to bring the horse back to optimal health.

ASC nutrition with StemEquine® has also been beneficial to horses with respiratory issues, severed ligaments, founder, glandular issues and more.  Dr. Janet Wilson, a veterinarian in upstate New York experimented with a Thoroughbred gelding she owned that had been 3/5 lame for three years due to a combination of pedal osteitis and lesions in his Navicular area.  She had tried all the treatment options: Tildren injection, shockwave therapy, injections of the coffin joint and Navicular bursa, Bute, oral joint supplements, herbal anti-inflammatories, various shoeing techniques, and more.  None seemed to work at all with the exception of the Navicular bursa injections, which only brought improvement for a few weeks.  Dr. Wilson couldn’t bear the thought of injecting her horse every one or two months for the rest of his life and decided to try StemEquine® after reading the research behind the product.  After two months she saw some improvement in his gait.  Within another week it became obvious to her that he had again improved.  By the end of the three month trial period he was almost entirely sound on hard frozen winter ground – going barefoot.   Dr. Wilson has continued a once-daily feeding of StemEquine® for her horse, who has gone from a consistent grade 3/5 lame to very intermittent mild lameness after exceptional exertion by galloping on the rocky ground on her farm, which he insists on doing.  She has not had shoes on him for months and both Dr. Wilson and her farrier have noticed that his right front hoof capsule, which had contracted substantially from a lack of weight bearing, is now nearly the same size as his other front hoof.

Whether you opt for ASC injections or not, supplementing a healthy diet and lifestyle for your horse with oral stem cell nutritional support affects all aspects of equine health.   Combining ASC injections and stem cell nutrition will greatly accelerate the healing process and recovery of your horse.

About the author:

Linda Rubin has bred, trained, shown and raced horses throughout her life.  She became interested in holistic health for herself when other methods were unsuccessful, later branching out to the natural health care of horses.  Linda, along with her business partner Vern Lester, continues the natural health aspect through Equine Iridology, adult stem cell nutrition, essential oils, herbs and holographic chips.  Linda lives in Merritt Island, Florida and can be reached at or by phone at 321.432.0174.  You can also visit her website at

Information contained in this article came from the following sources:

StemTech Health Sciences, Inc., California

Cracking The Stem Cell Code by Dr. Christian Drapeau

Vet-Stem, California

Dr. Cesar Parra, New Jersey/Florida

Dr. Janet Wilson, New York

If you would like to learn more about Stem Equine (and Stem Enhance for people/Stem Pets for dogs), feel free to call or email Jamie Roberts or visit her website:

Feel free to share this info with your friends – this is something that every horse owner should now about!

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