Last Updated on June 9, 2022
If your horse has lameness problems, you might be wondering what is the most effective joint supplement for horses. There are so many different products on the market, all claiming to perform miracles!
So, what is the most effective joint supplement for horses, and how do you choose the best one for your horse? Let’s find out!
What Are Joint Supplements For Horses?
Joint supplements are given to horses that suffer from problems with the skeletal system that involve the joints. To understand why a joint supplement might help your horse, firstly you need to know a bit more about problems that affect the joints of the skeletal system.
In between each bone of the skeletal system is a joint that connects two or more bones. There are many types of joints in the horse, but as a basic concept, this is the site where two bones can move against each other in a pivoting movement. For example, the hock joint enables the hind leg to be flexed upwards or extended downwards.
Each joint capsule consists of a cartilage sac, that covers the ends of the bones and is supported by ligaments and tendons externally. Inside this sac is a thick, viscous fluid called synovial fluid. It is this fluid that protects the ends of the bone from damage and lubricates the joint – think of it as a bit like oil in a car!
When a horse suffers from joint problems, stress, and degeneration cause wear and tear to the cartilage and synovial fluid of the joint. This leads to inflammation of the joint, which can be very painful for the horse. The joint capsule may become swollen and the synovial fluid can lose its thick, protective consistency. You may also hear joint problems referred to as arthritis, meaning inflammation of the joint. Arthritic conditions of the horse include osteochondritis, osteoarthritis, septic arthritis, and subchondral cyst lesions.
What Is The Most Effective Joint Supplement For Horses?
There are many different joint supplements for horses on the market, and all contain different active ingredients. Some contain just one ingredient, while others consist of a blend of different ingredients.
The aim of a good joint supplement is to provide the building blocks for cartilage, enabling damaged cartilage to repair itself. It should also contain the components necessary to restore synovial fluid. Some joint supplements also contain anti-inflammatories and protective agents to prevent cartilage breakdown.
Today, we will take a look at the most effective ingredients in joint supplements for horses, to help you choose the best one for you and your horse:
In healthy cartilage, glucosamine is found as a natural compound and is a building block for both cartilage and synovial fluid. It stimulates cartilage repair and reduces inflammation. Glucosamine is highly recommended as a therapeutic approach to managing arthritis in horses and should be included in a good quality joint supplement for horses.
Another benefit to glucosamine is that it works synergistically with chondroitin sulfate, another common ingredient in joint supplements. This means that the two components complement each other and each increases the effectiveness of the other.
Glucosamine supplements provide a cheaper alternative to injectable therapies used to treat arthritis in horses, but the horse will most likely need to continue this supplement at a low dose even after symptoms have resolved.
Chondroitin sulfate (CS)
Chondroitin sulfate is also a building block of cartilage, helping to repair damaged tissue. It also decreases synovial swelling by reducing levels of destructive enzymes in the joints. Chondroitin sulfate can enhance the effectiveness of glucosamine when the two are used together in a joint supplement for horses.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) contains sulfur, which is required for the formation of glucosamine, collagen, and chondriotin. This means that it is a useful addition to supplements that contain these ingredients.
Hyaluronic Acid – What Is The Most Effective Joint Supplement For Horses?
Hyaluronic acid helps to lubricate the joint and increases the viscosity of a synovial fluid. It also helps to reduce inflammation in the joint.
Summary – What Is The Most Effective Joint Supplement For Horses?
So, as we have learned, when deciding what is the most effective joint supplement for horses there are a few things to take into consideration. You need to be sure that you are choosing a product with the optimum active ingredients, and also that these are included in the right quantities to be effective. Commonly used ingredients to look for in a joint supplement for horses include glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid, and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM).
We’d love to hear your thoughts on what is the most effective joint supplement for horses! Do you have a particular favorite joint supplement for horses? Or perhaps your horse doesn’t seem to respond to any of the joint supplements you have tried? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!
What Is Good For Joints In Horses?
If your horse has joint problems, your veterinarian may recommend medicating the joints to help repair the damaged tissues. Joint medication is normally administered alongside a good quality oral joint supplement.
Does Glucosamine Chondroitin Really Work?
Studies on the effectiveness of glucosamine to treat joint problems are inconclusive, but there is some evidence that it can be effective in many cases. There are no detrimental side effects to glucosamine, so if you feel it is helping your horse there is no harm in continuing to give it.
Is Pentosan Better Than Adequan?
Pentosan and Adequan are both forms of medication that are used to treat osteoarthritis in horses. Both types of medication are normally given via an intramuscular injection, and your veterinarian may suggest one or the other to treat joint problems in horses. Many horse owners and veterinarians believe that Pentosan is more effective than Adequan at relieving the symptoms of joint problems in horses.
How Long Does It Take For Legend To Work In Horses?
Legend is an medication used to treat arthritic conditions in horses, and is given by intravenous injection. It can take up to two weeks for the drug to take effect, after which some relief of symptoms should be observed. It is advisable to continue oral joint supplements for the initial period while injectable medications take effect.
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
Kate Chalmers BSc (Hons) CVN, Dip AVN (Equine) Dip HE CVN REVN RVN A1