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Objective—To develop a high-speed, continuous-flow, automated plasmapheresis procedure for the high-volume harvest of equine plasma in accordance with current good manufacturing practice.

Animals—143 horses (predominantly draft breeds) between 3 and 10 years of age at the time of purchase.

Procedures—Adaptations were made to automated plasmapheresis instruments and sterile disposable collection sets, which allowed for dual-instrument, continuous-flow operation. Donor horses were connected to the apparatus via 2 catheters (1 inserted in each jugular vein). The instruments removed whole blood from donors, fractionated the blood, diverted plasma to collection bags, and simultaneously returned concentrated cells to the donors. Plasmapheresis was performed on donor horses at 14-day intervals with a maximum of 22 mL of plasma/kg of donor body weight harvested during each plasmapheresis procedure.

Results—During a 5-year period, 3,240 plasmapheresis procedures were performed and > 50,000 L of sterile equine plasma was harvested in accordance with current good manufacturing practice. Donors typically remained calm during the plasmapheresis procedures and tolerated the procedures well. The high-volume and frequent plasma harvest did not result in sustained hypoproteinemia in donor horses. Adverse events associated with the automated plasmapheresis technique were infrequent, and the recurrence of adverse events was minimized by making minor adjustments to the procedure.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The automated plasmapheresis procedure described in this report can be used to safely harvest equine plasma or to perform therapeutic plasmapheresis in horses.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To determine the effects of intensive serial plasmapheresis on total plasma protein and total IgG concentrations in donor horses involved in a plasmapheresis program.

Animals—18 horses (13 mares and 5 geldings; 13 Belgians, 3 Percherons, 1 Standardbred, and 1 warmblood) ranging from 7 to 14 years of age (mean ± SD, 10 ± 3 years) and weighing 822 ± 128 kg.

Procedures—Horses from which 22 mL of plasma/kg of donor body weight was harvested at 14-day intervals for a minimum of 8 consecutive plasmapheresis donations were retrospectively selected for use in the evaluation. Automated plasmapheresis procedures were performed by use of 2 modified plasmapheresis instruments/donor horse. Plasma samples were obtained at each donation and used for determination of total protein and total IgG concentrations. Total plasma protein concentrations were determined via refractometry. A commercially available ELISA was used to determine total equine IgG concentrations.

Results—The 18 donor horses were used in 8 to 19 serial donations (mean ± SD, 13 ± 3 donations) during the study. Donor horses had significant decreases in both plasma protein and IgG concentrations over the study period.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Serial plasmapheresis procedures caused significant decreases in both plasma protein and IgG concentrations in donor horses; however, decreases were not physiologically relevant. Performing plasmapheresis in horses in accordance with the evaluated automated plasmapheresis procedures did not result in a critical decrease in total plasma protein or total IgG concentrations.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research