12 Year-Old FEI Level Dressage Horse Returns to Work After Being Considered for Retirement

Allegro II (Alfie) had just started international dressage competition and was extremely successful until he suffered a meniscal tear. We initially treated the injury with PRP and stem cells, and one dose of a corticosteroid. Relief from the steroid didn’t last and the PRP and stem cells didn’t seem to make a difference. The next step was stifle surgery. Two sutures were used to repair the meniscus and the frayed areas were cleaned up. Although X-rays on that horse have always been good, the surgeon found that the femoral cartilage was not healthy, so he also put more stem cells in during the surgery.

The surgery was 3 years ago; unfortunately, Alfie was still not sound. Throughout the first year and half after surgery we treated the joint with biologics and more stem cells to encourage healing, but nothing worked to restore his soundness. With sadness, I considered sending him to a retirement facility more than a few times.

My veterinarian, Dr. Leah Patipa, and I discussed the possibility of using Arthamid but she had done extensive research on Noltrex®Vet and had recently been admitted to the clinical trial. We injected two doses of Noltrex®Vet (because the stifle is such a large joint) and positive results became apparent about a week after the first treatment (March 2016). I began lunging him, and training on a treadmill for “hill” training. We did two more treatments a few months apart (October 2016 and March 2017), with improvements in his soundness after each treatment. One day I thought “Wow, he’s sound enough for me to ride!”

In September of 2017 I began riding Alfie; he hadn’t been under saddle in two and a half years. He returned to competition in January 2018, completing his first Prix St. Georges, scoring over 77% two days in a row. He did his very first Intermediate I in February 2018, winning with a 71% and beating other top international competitors.

We recently retreated him with Noltrex®Vet again (March 2018) – his workload is increasing and he is training all the Grand Prix exercises, which demand a high level of collection and work on his hind legs. Now that he is sound, I really want to preserve the joint integrity. Yesterday I asked him for 15 straight one tempi changes for the first time ever, and he responded perfectly.

I know that Noltrex®Vet is part of the winning management protocol for this horse. Alfie had the potential to be a top International Grand Prix horse before he was injured. Because of Noltrex®Vet I’m once again very hopeful that he will reach this level of competition.