Osteoarthritis (OA), a degenerative joint disease characterized by progressive cartilage degeneration, is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide owing to the limited regenerative capacity of adult articular cartilage. Currently, there are no disease-modifying pharmacological or surgical therapies for OA. Fetal mammals, in contrast to adults, are capable of regenerating injured cartilage in the first two trimesters of gestation. A deeper understanding of the properties intrinsic to the response of fetal tissue to injury would allow us to modulate the way in which adult tissue responds to injury. In this study, we employed secretome proteomics to compare fetal and adult protein regulation in response to cartilage injury using an ovine cartilage defect model. The most relevant events comprised proteins associated with the immune response and inflammation, proteins specific for cartilage tissue and cartilage development, and proteins involved in cell growth and proliferation. Alarmins S100A8, S100A9 and S100A12 and coiled-coil domain containing 88A (CCDC88A), which are associated with inflammatory processes, were found to be significantly upregulated following injury in adult, but not in fetal animals. By contrast, cartilage-specific proteins like proteoglycan 4 were upregulated in response to injury only in fetal sheep postinjury. Our results demonstrate the power and relevance of the ovine fetal cartilage regeneration model presented here for the first time. The identification of previously unrecognized modulatory proteins that plausibly affect the healing process holds great promise for potential therapeutic interventions.