Horse Success Stories

Renee & Play It Again Sam

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Play it Again Sam (or Sam for short), a 13-year-old Appaloosa/Belgian cross, was lame from two deep flexor tendon lesions on the right front leg. After the diagnosis by Dr. Roland Thaler we first tried rest for three months, however, Sam suffers from PSSM and was unable to have stall rest as that would result in his tying up, so he was turned out in a small pen. At the end of three months, there was no change in his condition and so at Dr. Thaler's suggestion, we decided to try stem cell therapy. He indicated that he had achieved good results with this procedure. Sam's general demeanor prior to the injury was pretty laid back. He liked to lay down in his stall, a lot, and generally was somewhat lazy.

Dr. Thaler did the stem cell extraction on Sam at our barn under local anesthetic and Sam withstood the extraction surgery well. My granddaughter, who was Sam's rider, watched the entire procedure with interest. Sam made a rapid recovery from the initial surgery and his response once the stem cells were inserted was nothing less than spectacular. Sam's whole demeanor had perked up five days after the surgery. The barn staff noticed he wasn't lying down as much as before and he generally seemed happier. He was turned out for 2-3 hours a day in a small paddock and was progressively more active. His eyes were bright; he gained weight and was generally a better/happier horse. It was like his whole immune system was jazzed up. Eight weeks after the surgery, Dr. Thaler examined Sam with ultrasound and the lesions were no longer visible. He recommended that we walk him under saddle which we have been doing for the past three months. Sam is now ready for a "Back-to-work" program which should bring him back to soundness and serviceability in about three months. The prognosis is that he should be able to walk, trot, canter and do small cross-poles and become a sound, beginner horse - much as he was prior to his injury.