Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist protein therapy, known as “IRAP,” is used to treat inflamed or arthritic joints. This treatment involves injecting an autologous (derived from the horse being treated) serum sample into a horse’s affected joint. The serum contains anti-inflammatory proteins that block the harmful effects of interleukin-1, an inflammatory protein researchers have found worsens osteoarthritis by degrading cartilage.
The autologous serum is obtained from the horse by drawing blood, which is incubated for 24 hours to amplify IRAP levels. It is then centrifuged to separate blood cells from serum. We inject the resulting serum into the affected joint on a weekly to biweekly basis for a series of three to four treatments.
IRAP is an extremely safe alternative to traditional corticosteroid joint injections.