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IRAP® Therapy

Injecting IRAP into a joint.

Degenerative joint disease and osteoarthritis are the biggest causes of poor performance and decreased competitive life span in the horse.  Both young and old can be affected by joint disease resulting in a loss of athletic ability and possible early retirement.

IRAP is a natural treatment that has been developed for the treatment of joint disease in horses. IRAP stands for Interleukin-1 Receptor Antagonist Protein which is part of the body’s natural mechanism of stopping inflammation within joints.  Without inflammation, tissue reinjury can be avoided.

The substance used in IRAP is made from white cells in the horse’s bloodstream. We collect blood from the horse and incubate it in the presence of specially designed glass beads, which amplify IRAP production. When the IRAP has reached the desired level, it is administered to the injured horse via injection into the affected joint.


  • Effective intra-articular treatment for joint disease
  • Stimulates the horses’ own white blood cells to produce anti-inflammatory mediators
  • One blood collection can produce enough serum for 6-8 injections
  • Serum can be stored frozen up to 12 months for later use
  • Serum stimulates a regenerative response from cartilage cells
  • IRAP has a disease modifying component as well as an anti-inflammatory component

IRAP® can not reverse any permanent damage that often exists in joints with osteoarthritis, but may serve to prevent further inflammation and reduce progression of disease. It is likely that other therapeutics may also be needed in conjunction with IRAP® therapy to treat horses with osteoarthritis.

IRAP is particularly suited to the treatment of inflamed joints after an injury and in the treatment of osteoarthritis. IRAP is not suitable if there is an underlying cause of the inflammation that requires surgical treatment such as a chip fracture or damage to the cartilage that occurs in OCD.