Last Updated on July 8, 2022
If you’ve got a horse with joint problems or age-related arthritis, your veterinarian may suggest that a hyaluronic acid for horses injection would be beneficial. But what is hyaluronic acid, and is the injection better or worse than oral feed supplements? Let’s find out!
What Is Hyaluronic Acid?
When horses suffer from joint problems, one of the most commonly recommended treatments is hyaluronic acid. But what is this substance, and what does it have to do with joints?
Hyaluronic is a naturally occurring substance found in the synovial joints of horses and other mammals. Synovial joints are the place where two bones meet and are required to move against each other, such as the joints in the legs.
A synovial joint is an enclosed capsule that cushions the ends of the bone and enables them to move smoothly and without friction. Inside each joint is a thick, sticky liquid called synovial fluid. This lubricates the joint, and is made of a range of different compounds.
One of these is hyaluronic acid, which helps to retain water and keep the joints lubricated. This creates a thin coating on the joint capsule. This makes hyaluronic acid an essential component in keeping joints pain-free and healthy, but why is it given to horses? Let’s find out!
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Why Is Hyaluronic Acid Given To Horses?
Although hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in the body, it is sometimes given as a supplement or injectable medication. But why is this?
As horses become older, or when they suffer from an injury, they can benefit from increased amounts of hyaluronic acid. This improves the condition of the horse’s joints, by enhancing the viscosity of the synovial fluid. Synovial fluid helps to lubricate joints and reduce friction, in much the same way as engine oil works in a car.
Reducing friction within the joints helps to reduce degenerative changes to the cartilage cause by wear and tear. This helps to stave off long-term degenerative conditions such as arthritis. Giving hyaluronic acid to horses helps to prolong their active lifespan and reduces age-related discomfort.
Another huge benefit to hyaluronic acid in horses is that it helps to reduce pain and inflammation, and has powerful antioxidant effects.
When joints are well lubricated, levels of pain are greatly reduced, as well as inflammation. This leads the body to produce less hyaluronic acid than normal, creating a vicious cycle of pain, inflammation, and inadequate joint lubrication.
Hyaluronic acid also helps to reduce inflammation by neutralizing free radicals. These are naturally produced through normal metabolic processes, but can be detrimental to tissues at a cellular level. The antioxidants in hyaluronic acid reduce this oxidative stress, contributing to a reduction in inflammation.
This miraculous joint repairing substance has been given to horses for many years as an oral feed supplement, often in conjunction with glucosamine and chondroitin. However, it is also available as an injection, which is either administered directly into an affected joint or by intravenous injection.
But what are the benefits of this injection, and which is better – injection or oral supplement? Let’s find out!
Is Hyaluronic Acid For Horses Injection Better Than Oral Supplements?
The hyaluronic acid for horses injection is used to medicate joints that are severely inflamed. It is normally injected directly into the joint, normally in conjunction with corticosteroids to reduce inflammation. Some forms of hyaluronic acid for horses injection are given via intravenous injection.
All types of hyaluronic acid for horses injection can only be administered by a qualified veterinarian. The intravenous form is considered to be relatively risk free, but when used to medicate joints there is high risk of infection. It can also lead to flares of inflammation, which may outweigh the benefits of the injection.
Unless there is a specific reason why the injection is required, such as a deterioration in your horse’s lameness, it is normally preferable to use oral feed supplements instead. However, your veterinarian will be able to fully discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each type of hyaluronic acid for horses, helping you to decide what is best for your horse.
If you do decide to use a feed supplement for your horse with joint problems, make sure you opt for a high-quality product that contains a broad spectrum of joint-enhancing ingredients.
Summary – Hyaluronic Acid For Horses Injection
So, as we have heard, the hyaluronic acid for horses injection is sometimes suggested as an alternative to conventional oral hyaluronic acid feed supplements. Hyaluronic acid for horses injections are normally given directly into the joint by your veterinarian, or via intravenous injection. Although this is a convenient way of administering this useful joint supplement, it is normally preferable to give an oral feed supplement either instead of or as well as the injection.
We’d love to hear your thoughts about hyaluronic acid for horses injection! Do you prefer to give your horse oral joint supplements rather than expensive injections? Or maybe you’ve found another way to help a horse with joint problems? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!
What Are The Benefits Of Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid is found naturally in the body, and helps to retain moisture and keep tissues and joints lubricated. When taken as a supplement, it can be beneficial for many body systems including the joints, skin, and eyes.
Is Hyaluronic Acid Good For Horses?
Hyaluronic acid is mainly given to horses as a joint supplement. It has antioxidant properties that help to reduce age-related deterioration of the joints, by neutralizing free radicals.
What Is The Best Form Of Hyaluronic Acid To Take?
Horses with joint problems are given hyaluronic acid in one of two ways - as an oral feed supplement, or as an injectable medication administered by a veterinarian. The injections are normally given directly into an affected joint, or intravenously.
Does Hyaluronic Acid Help Ulcers In Horses?
The use of hyaluronic acid to help ulcers in horses is a relatively new concept, and research is still ongoing. However, one study has found that good results were obtained when treating horses with gastric ulcers with a 30 day course of hyaluronic acid. We would not recommend that you attempt this form of treatment without discussion with your veterinarian first.
Kate Chalmers is a qualified veterinary nurse who has specialized in horse care for the vast majority of her career. She has been around horses since she was a child, starting out riding ponies and helping out at the local stables before going on to college to study Horse Care & Management. She has backed and trained many horses during her lifetime and competed in various equestrian sports at different levels.
After Kate qualified as a veterinary nurse, she provided nursing care to the patients of a large equine veterinary hospital for many years. She then went on to teach horse care and veterinary nursing at one of the top colleges in the country. This has led to an in-depth knowledge of the care needs of horses and their various medical ailments, as well as a life-long passion for educating horse owners on how to provide the best possible care for their four-legged friends.
Kate Chalmers BSc (Hons) CVN, Dip AVN (Equine) Dip HE CVN EVN VN A1 PGCE