In equine medicine today, horses from a variety of backgrounds can easily succumb to career-ending joint injuries. Just as with human athletes, high performance horses in the sport and racing worlds can sustain traumatic damage to cartilage in their joints or develop early onset osteoarthritis. 

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Equine veterinary medicine has long suffered from a lack of innovation. Currently, horses with cartilage lesions in the knee are treated with arthroscopic and microfracture procedures. Cutting-edge stem cell techniques are also currently being employed, but similar to contemporaryhuman clinical trials, they have shown poor outcomes. In addition, utilizing devices for treatments that are currently used on human patients is prohibitively expensive. 

Nanochon’s unique 3-D printed joint replacement option could provide a viable implant for injured equine patients. We have begun to explore the possibility of tailoring the human-designed implant to be more customizable in the OR setting, to help overcome the challenges caused by the often-unexpected nature of equine veterinary diagnosis and surgical treatment. 

The operating principles of the Nanochon implant would be the same for equine patients as it would be for human patients: to provide mechanical stability and support to the lesion over the short-term, and to encoure tissue growth and cartilage healing over the long-term. 

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The Nanochon implant has the potential to facilitate fast and complication free healing of a cartilage or osteochondral defect. In a rat study conducted at Children’s National Medical Center, full thickness osteochondral defects were treated in the trochlear groove in the left knee. After 1 and 3 months, rats treated with the Nanochon device showed faster bone grafting, and more complete and mature cartilage, trabecular bone and vasculature long term.