Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Plasma, Normal & Hyperimmune (in Adult)

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Fresh frozen equine plasma is an extremely useful treatment for equines with a variety of systemic illnesses. It is most commonly used in horses with intestinal diseases, especially bacterial infection (bacterial colitis or enteritis).

Plasma provides albumin, antibodies and a variety of other factors that contribute to immunity and general health. Plasma is also thought to have some anti-endotoxic effects, another useful attribute in the treatment of intestinal diseases that are often accompanied by endotoxemia.

Hyperimmune plasma comes from horses that have been repeatedly vaccinated against particular agents, causing high antibody levels against that organism in the plasma. Plasma that has been hyperimmunized to particular agents may be a life-saving treatment for horses affected by particular diseases, such as botulism and tetanus.

Plasma is usually purchased commercially from a company that maintains a herd of healthy donor horses. They periodically collect blood from these horses, the plasma (liquid portion) is separated from the cellular portion, filtered and purified. It is then packaged and frozen. Plasma is then ordered and shipped overnight to your veterinarian, who stores it frozen until it is needed.

When needed, the frozen plasma is thawed by your vet and administered through a special fitered blood administration set, and into an intravenous catheter. Horses being administered plasma are monitored carefully to ensure they are tolerating this treatment.

Consider Potential Side Effects & Complications

Anaphylaxis (body-wide allergic response) is rare but is possible. Rapid respiration, increasing heart rate, and changes in the appearance of gums and skin could indicate this life threatening complication.

There is a small risk of transmission of contaminants or viruses in blood products.

Rarely, equines that have been given plasma can end up with serum sickness; liver disease (a/k/a Tyler's Disease).

Consider Reasons Not To Use This Treatment

Plasma may not be tolerated by some horses. They may show signs of systemic allergy (anaphylaxis), including drastic elevations in heart and respiratory rates and/or hives.

Plasma is expensive and may not be an option for horse owners on a budget.

Is It working? Timeframe for effect

The clinical effects of plasma should be evident within a few hours.

It may require large quantities of plasma (many liters) to significantly increase plasma albumin levels.

Questions To Ask My Vet

  • Do you recommend plasma for my horse with intestinal disease?
  • How much will the use of plasma add to the cost of treatment?

Helpful terms & topics in HSVGWritten, Reviewed or Shared by Experts in Equine Health

MG Biologics
Immuno-Glo™ 5400
Equine Plasma
Thank you for investigating our company and products. We are a manufacturer of equine plasma, and antibodies for use in equine and other companion animals. We are focused however on the benefits we believe to be possible with hyper-immunized products. Our research program is focused on the overall goal of accomplishing very high titers and then investigating the efficacy in the animal of that response. Our hypothesis is that specific passive antibodies are always beneficial in reducing the duration of a disease, reducing the severity of a disease or in arresting the disease entirely. It is to this goal that we devote ourselves. Of the principles that we hold most dear, besides quality, value and innovation, we consider customer service to be especially satisfying.  Our day is not complete until we have satisfied the needs of the customer. Even to say it more clearly; sometimes when things don’t go right (because sometimes they don’t) we make an extra effort (nothing is spared) to see that the customer is taken care of. No excuse is acceptable if the client is not cared for. We are fanatical, intense, wound-tight, and high-strung on this point.  I believe we have this high standard of service to our customers and most importantly, I think they agree. - Founder & Head Cheerleader, Mark Meyer
Lake Immunogenetics, Inc. Antigen Select Equine HI Plasma
* Would you like to showcase your equine product or service in
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Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

RELATED REFERENCES

Divers TJ. Use of Plasma and Whole Blood Products in Equine Practice. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Italian Association of Equine Veterinarians, Carrara, Italy 2010.

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