Argyle, Texas Rescue Group uses Stem Cells & Nano- fiber Solutions Technology to perform first ever procedure in the world in a Horse. Phoenix is a full size 900 Pound 2 year old Quarter Horse.
SOUTH ARGYLE, TX – On Jan. 10, 2012 Ranch Hand Rescue was notified by the Denton County Sheriff’s department of a horse that was abandoned in Denton County. The horse has suffered a terrible hoof injury resulting in the loss of the hoof, hoof wall and a portion of the coffin bone. Denton County would have had no choice but to euthanize the horse if Ranch Hand Rescue didn’t accept it into its program. Denton County Sheriff’s Department contacted Ranch Hand Rescue because of the history it made by placing a prosthetic leg on Midnite “The Horse of Hope” in March of 2011.
The Denton County Sheriff’s Department and Ranch Hand Rescue have a long history of working together. Ranch Hand Rescue is known for taking critical care animals and works directly with law enforcement in criminal cases involving abuse & neglect. Denton County Sheriff’s department felt that because of the high success rate with critical care animals Ranch Hand Rescue has had, they would ask Bob Williams if Ranch Hand Rescue would be willing to take him. On January 20th, 2012 Phoenix arrived at Ranch Hand Rescue.
Bob Williams, founder of the Texas-based animal rescue organization Ranch Hand Rescue, agreed to accept the horse and immediately began extensive medical testing. Phoenix’s hoof, hoof wall and a portion of his coffin bone were torn off and he had a very serious bone infection. In every case we know of this kind it is standard practice to euthanize the horse.
Dr. John Bitter at Argyle Vet, took the lead on Phoenix’s care. He spent a week in the Argyle Vet hospital receiving daily injections into his coffin bone in an attempt to clear up his infection and was then transported to Ranch Hand Rescue for additional care including casting his leg, and lengthy daily treatments and monitoring. Dr. Bitter is the lead Vet and in charge of Phoenix’s medical care. X-rays were taken and it was noted that the front of the coffin bone was infected, and a portion had sequestered off the parent bone. Beyond the foot, young Phoenix was largely in good flesh and had a quiet disposition. Williams was informed by Dr. Bitter that Phoenix had about a 15 percent chance of survival.
“His will to live is the most amazing thing I have ever seen, he knows he has been saved and I want to do everything possible to save him, that’s what we do here at Ranch Hand Rescue. I believe we are Phoenix’s best and last hope and I decided to move forward with treatment,” said Williams.
Williams believes all life is precious and euthanasia should only be a last resort if there is no hope. At the same time this was happening Kim Thomas who is on the Ranch Hand Rescue advisory Board reached out to Dr. Ric Redden of Versailles, Kentucky. Dr. Redden and Dr. Bitter have known each other for many years. Dr. Redden is one of the world’s foremost experts on laminitis and other hoof problems and travels internationally, teaching others his ground-breaking techniques and concepts. Dr. Redden agreed to consult with Dr. Bitter on Phoenix’s case.
Phoenix was put on systemic antibiotics, pain meds and underwent surgery to remove the dead piece of coffin bone. Due to the contracted nature of his flexor tendon as a result of the original laminitis, it was determined by Dr. Bitter, along with Dr. Redden, Phoenix would need de rotation shoeing to realign the coffin bone with the ground followed by a deep digital flexor Tenotomy. Realigning the palmer rim of the coffin bone with the ground surface to Dr. Reddens specifications can be quite difficult, when the coffin bone is severely rotated. As the shoe actually sits in the air only touching the heal in a very small area. It is supported by a rubber cushion support and attached with Eqilox.
Dr. Redden wrote, “Most laminitis cases with advanced bone disease develop complications within months of surgery. Muscle contraction and scar contracture is inevitable with this degree of bone damage and this complication continues and gains ground with each subsequent Tenotomy. To hopefully combat this routine complication I wish to pursue a new and novel approach that just may offset the severity of scar formation. The Nano Fiber Solution product offers options we have never had before and is certainly worth entertaining in this case.”
Dr. Redden informed Dr. Bitter and Williams that the new technology developed by Dr. Jed Johnson of Nano-fibers Solutions was available for use in the horse and that the technology would be donated to Ranch Hand Rescue. Nano-fibers are synthetic fibers that are so small that they are not rejected from the patient as foreign material. Dr. Johnson was able to create a scaffold for which the patient’s own stem cells could be impregnated into the Nano-fibers scaffold and then placed into the patient.
One problem with cutting tendons is they often heal back with unorganized scar tissue, leaving the tendon less functional. Dr. Redden called Dr. Sammy Pittman in Tulsa, OK and reported first time ever Nano- fiber implant in horses to be done in Texas. Dr. Pittman having worked with Dr. Redden with many very serious and similar cases was eager to be involved and contacted Dr. Bitter who cordially invited him to come and be of assistance.
Dr. Pittman, Dr. Bitter and his farrier worked closely together tweaking the small details of the derotation protocol and following the surgical recommendations of Dr. Johnson. Dr. Pittman returned to Texas several weeks later to assist with the critical resetting of the therapeutic shoe. After cutting the tendon a Nano-fiber scaffold with Phoenix’s own stem cells were placed in the gap between the two cut ends of the tendon. The surgery was performed on May 24, 2012. This surgery which lasted six hours had never been done before in a horse anywhere in the world.
Over the past 7 months, Phoenix has grown out a much healthier hoof capsule and his tendon has healed with a very organized linear pattern that looks and acts like a normal tendon. He is out of his cast and walking around with a slight gimp, seemingly pain free. He has a special shoe while his hoof continues to grow. His attitude is excellent and we are optimistic that he will continue a favorable response and offering quality life.
He is the first horse to ever receive this exciting technology from Nano-fiber Solutions. His results are encouraging and a complete success on many fronts. We hope that this could develop into a new technique to help repair tendons and other maladies of the horse and possibly change veterinary medicine forever. “We hope it changes the way Vets look at these types of injuries and gives hope to other Equine owners, that there may be another way to save these precious animals,” said Williams.
He believes that all life is precious and stated, “Ranch Hand Rescue will continue to take the critical care cases and do everything they can to save these precious animals and share them and their stories with both adults and children in an attempt to inspire and provide hope for all people. We get to save animals and we get to help and touch people’s hearts, it just doesn’t get any better than that,” said Williams.
For more information on Ranch Hand Rescue, please visit: http://ranchhandrescue.org
Ranch Hand Rescue fosters, houses, feeds, and medically cares for ranch animals in distressed conditions. Ranch Hand Rescue is A North Texas Farm Animal Sanctuary and Rescue Group and is a Not for Profit Farm Animal Rescue Corporation. The organization is located in South Argyle, Texas.
For more information on Dr. John Bitter and Argyle Vet please visit:
Or contact Jenny Fidler at 940-464-3231
For more information on Dr. Ric Redden please visit:
Or 859-873-5294, 859-873-5282, or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the Nanofiber Solutions technology or Dr. Jed Johnson Please visit: http://www.nanofibersolutions.com/company.html or email Jed.Johnson@nanofibersolutions.com.
Or contact 614.453.5877
For more information on Dr. Sammy Pittman please visit http://www.innovativeequinepodiatry.com/innovative_equine_003.htm
Or call Dr. Pittman at 1.918. 235.1529