Orthopedic Surgery and Lameness

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Below, please find links to all of the clinical trials involving lameness and orthopedic surgery. The studies include a multitude of information, including (but not limited to) the study’s purpose, benefits for participating, and financial incentive information. If you have any questions, please contact the individual outlined at the end of each trial summary.

Please visit the Surgery service webpage at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) if you would like to learn more about the amazing things that our surgeons can do for you and your animal.

Horses & Ponies

Lameness: Examining a Better Diagnostic Technique in Horses

Title: Positron Emission Tomography of the Equine Distal Limb

Purpose of Study: Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a cutting-edge imaging technique, allowing detection of areas of active bone remodeling. This imaging technique is similar to a classic “bone scan”, the imaging modality performed with a gamma-camera (scintigraphy), but has the ability to detect smaller injuries and to improve the localization of lesions. Our research studies have demonstrated that PET can identify lesions that may be missed with scintigraphy, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT). The purpose of this study is to assess PET imaging as a diagnostic imaging modality in horses and confirm the benefits of the technique.

Contact:

Participation Requirements: Horses with an injury of the lower limb (knee down or hock down) that is causing lameness and that has already been investigated with MRI or scintigraphy in the last 2 months

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Previous lameness examination findings (including nerve blocks) and imaging studies will be reviewed by the investigators. Horses will be selected if the scintigraphy or MRI did not provide an explanation for the lameness or if the injury identified requires additional investigation to establish a treatment plan.

Procedures: If you agree to let your horse participate in this study, the following will happen:

  • Injection of a radioactive agent followed by a PET scan of the affected and opposite limb while under anesthesia
  • A CT scan while under anesthesia immediately after the PET scan

Benefits: There is no charge for you to allow your horse to participate in this clinical trial.

Owner Responsibilities: We expect that participation in this clinical trial will last for 48 hours. If you allow your horse to participate in this study, you will be responsible for bringing your horse to the VMTH the day before the procedure.

Tendon & Ligament Injuries: Assessing a Stem Cell Therapy

Title: Comparison of single versus multiple dose allogeneic MSC for treatment of tendon and ligament disorders in horses

Purpose of Study: Tendon and ligament injuries are a common cause of lameness in horses frequently associated with high expenses and failure to return to a previous level of performance. Conventional treatment regimens have various outcomes and mostly result in the formation of non-elastic scar tissue which plays a major role in the high incidence of recurrence. Scar tissue cannot be as functional as tendon and ligament tissue and the goal for an efficacious treatment is therefore the development of methods of regenerating the tissue and lessening the amount of scar tissue formation. The purpose of this study is to assess stem cell therapy as a potential treatment for tendon and ligament injuries. The clinical use of stem cells is still in its early stages, and determination of the ideal dose to administer these cells is worth further investigation.

Contact: Please make an appointment with Dr. Galuppo by calling (530) 752-0290.

Participation Requirements: Horses diagnosed with an injury involving a tendon or ligament

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Please have your veterinarian contact Dr. Galuppo to see if your horse will qualify

Procedures: If you agree to let your horse participate in this study, the following will happen:

  • A brief lameness exam
  • An ultrasound exam or an MRI before and after completion of the injections based on the location of the lesion
  • Stem cell injections (either a single dose or 1-2 doses every two weeks for up to 3 treatments) under sedation
  • Rehabilitation and reevaluation every 60-90 days (there may be another injection during rehabilitation if there is increase in lameness and signs of worsening tendonitis or desmitis)

Depending on the degree and stage of the injury, a UC Davis veterinarian will either request that you to bring your horse to the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) or a UC Davis veterinarian from the research team will go to your location and administer the stem cells treatment.

Benefits: Results from this study may help to determine an ideal dose of MSCs for horses suffering from tendon or ligament lesions.

Owner Responsibilities:If you allow your horse to participate in this study, you will be responsible for bringing the horse to the clinic or agreed upon location for the injections, and informing the UC Davis researchers if your horse of any adverse effects for the 10 days following each injection. Additionally, you will be responsible for covering all charges related to stem cell therapy, follow up, and any adverse events should they occur.

Tendonitis & Desmitis: Assessing a Stem Cell Therapy

Title: Comparison of low dose (10 million) and high dose (50 million) autologous mesenchymal stem cells for treatment of tendonitis and desmitis in horses

Purpose of Study: Tendon and ligament injuries are a common cause of lameness in horses frequently associated with high expenses and failure to return to a previous level of performance. Conventional treatment regimens have various outcomes and mostly result in the formation of non-elastic scar tissue which plays a major role in the high incidence of recurrence. Scar tissue cannot be as functional as tendon and ligament tissue and the goal for an efficacious treatment is therefore the development of methods of regenerating the tissue and lessening the amount of scar tissue formation. The purpose of this study is to assess stem cell therapy as a potential treatment for tendonitis and desmitis. The clinical use of stem cells is still in its early stages, and determination of the ideal dose to administer these cells is worth further investigation.

Contact: Please make an appointment with Dr. Galuppo by calling (530) 752-0290.

Participation Requirements: Horses diagnosed with an injury involving a tendon or ligament

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Please have your veterinarian contact Dr. Galuppo to see if your horse will qualify

Procedures: If you agree to let your horse participate in this study, the following will happen:

  • A brief lameness exam
  • An ultrasound exam or an Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan before and after completion of the injections based on the location of the lesion
  • Collection of fat (adipose) tissue if your horse is older than 15 years or bone marrow if your horse is younger than 15years
  • 3 injections (2-4 weeks apart) of either a high or low dose of stem cells while under sedation
    • An additional intra-arterial stem cell injection may be necessary if there is increase in lameness and signs of worsening tendonitis or desmitis during the rehabilitation process

Depending on the degree and stage of the injury, a UC Davis veterinarian will either request that you to bring your horse to the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) or a UC Davis veterinarian from the research team will go to your location and administer the stem cells treatment.

Benefits: Results from this study may help to the determine an ideal route of administration of MSCs in horses suffering from tendon or ligament lesions.

Owner Responsibilities: If you allow your horse to participate in this study, you will be responsible for covering all charges related to stem cell therapy and follow-up, bringing your horse to the clinic or agreed upon location for the injections, and informing the UC Davis researchers if your horse of any adverse effects for the 10 days following each injection.

Intra-articular Lesions: Assessing a Stem Cell Therapy

Title: Comparison of high (30 million) and low (10 million) autologous mesenchymal stem cells for treatment of intra-articular lesions in horses

Purpose of Study: Intra articular disorders in horses remain as a major source of lameness and decrease performance. Conventional treatments are often long and expensive with less than optimal results and failure to return to a previous level of performance in the majority of cases. When intra articular lesions heal, scar tissue cannot be as functional as the original tissues, therefore the development of methods for regenerating tissue is our goal for an efficacious treatment. The purpose of this study is to assess stem cell therapy as a potential treatment for intra-articular lesions. The clinical use of stem cells is still in its early stages, and determination of the ideal dose to administer these cells is worth further investigation.

Contact: Please make an appointment with Dr. Galuppo by calling (530) 752-0290.

Participation Requirements: Horses diagnosed with intra-articular lesions

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Please have your veterinarian contact Dr. Galuppo to see if your horse will qualify

Procedures: If you agree to let your horse participate in this study, the following will happen:

  • A brief lameness exam
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans of the affected joint before first injection, immediately following the injections and then six months after completion of the injections.
  • Joint fluid collection from the affected joint
  • Collection of fat (adipose) tissue if your horse is older than 15 years or bone marrow if your horse is younger than 15years.
  • Injection of either a high or low dose of stem cells into the affected joint while under sedation

Depending on the degree and stage of the injury, a UC Davis veterinarian will either request that you to bring your horse to the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) or a UC Davis veterinarian from the research team will go to your location and administer the stem cells treatment.

Benefits: If you agree to participate in this study, we offer up to 30% discount on diagnostic studies (MRI, Ultrasound, and Laboratory services) associated with the administration of MSCs in your horse.

Owner Responsibilities:If you allow your horse to participate in this study, you will be responsible for bringing the horse to the clinic or agreed upon location for the injections, and informing the UC Davis researchers if your horse of any adverse effects for the 10 days following each injection.

Laminitis: Assessing a Stem Cell Therapy

Title: Comparison of routes of administration for allogeneic umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells for treatment of laminitis in horses

Purpose of Study: Degenerative disorders of the equine foot, such as laminitis are a major cause of foot lameness in horses. Unfortunately, laminitis is not only a devastating and expensive disease to treat, but there is also no true cure for the disease. Stem cell therapy is currently being examined at as a potential treatment for laminitis based on the ability of stem cells to replicate themselves, regenerate tissue, and repair damaged tissue. The purpose of this study is to assess the best administration method for mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). The clinical use of stem cells is still in its early stages, and determination of the ideal route to administer these cells in horses affected by laminitis is worth further investigation.

Contact: Please make an appointment with Dr. Galuppo by calling (530) 752-0290.

Participation Requirements: Horses diagnosed with laminitis

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Please have your veterinarian contact Dr. Galuppo to see if your horse will qualify.

Procedures: If you agree to let your horse participate in this study, the following will happen:

  • A brief lameness exam
  • Three stem cell injections (2-3 weeks apart) into one of three areas – the median artery of the affected leg (s), the digital palmar vein or the subcutaneous tissues of the coronary band – while under sedation

Depending on the degree and stage of the injury, a UC Davis veterinarian will either request that you to bring your horse to the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) or a UC Davis veterinarian from the research team will go to your location and administer the stem cells treatment.

Benefits: If you agree to participate in this study, we offer up to 30% discount on diagnostic studies (MRI, Ultrasound, and Laboratory services) associated with the administration of MSCs in your horse.

Results from this study may help to the determine an ideal route of administration of MSCs in horses suffering from laminitis.

Owner Responsibilities:If you allow your horse to participate in this study, you will be responsible for bringing the horse to the clinic or agreed upon location for the injections, and informing the UC Davis researchers if your horse of any adverse effects for the 10 days following each injection.

Dogs

NEW! Elbow Dysplasia: Assessing a New Diagnostic Tool

Title: A novel micro-invasive needle arthroscopy system for the diagnosis of elbow dysplasia in dogs

Purpose of Study: Elbow dysplasia is the most common cause of pain and lameness in young large breed dogs. Because elbow dysplasia is such a devastating disease, it is essential that clinicians accurately identify and diagnose the different lesions in the joint to make appropriate decisions about how best to treat elbow dysplasia and predict surgical outcome. Currently, the gold standard for diagnosis is arthroscopy; however, this technique requires general anesthesia and is an invasive procedure. A new micro-invasive needle arthroscopic system has recently became available for human patients to diagnose rotator cuff injuries and ACL tears as an outpatient procedure. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to evaluate the use of a micro-invasive arthroscope system for the diagnosis of elbow dysplasia in dogs.

Contact:

Participation Requirements: Dogs with front limb lameness associated with the elbow joint. The source of lameness must be confirmed by an orthopedic surgeon at UC Davis and scheduled for treatment of elbow dysplasia at UC Davis.

Initial Evaluation for Participation: Lameness evaluation by an orthopedic surgeon at UC Davis

Procedures: While under sedation, a needle arthroscope (camera) will be inserted into your dog’s elbow joint (needle arthroscopy) and images will be acquired. This procedure will occur prior to the previously scheduled anesthesia for traditional arthroscopy and treatment of elbow dysplasia.

Benefits: The study will cover your orthopedic examination fee and the needle arthroscopy procedure. Your dog’s elbow will be examined two times with two different cameras which could reduce the possibility of missing lesions. You will have detailed documentation of the lesions in the joint in two different techniques (needle and traditional arthroscopy). If needle arthroscopy accurately identifies lesions in the elbow joint, this technique could be used as an outpatient procedure to re-evaluate the elbow joint after treatment and possibly improve treatment and better surgical outcomes for dogs with elbow dysplasia in the future.

Owner Responsibilities: You will be responsible for all cost associated with standard elbow arthroscopy, including but not limited, to anesthesia, arthroscopy, imaging, medications and hospitalization.

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