Performance horses undergo a wide range of movements and actions placing their muscular and skeletal systems under constant pressure. Consequently, injuries and disease to joints are a common problem which can often result in a premature end to the career of the athletic horse. In addition to ramifications to performance, pain and immobility can have detrimental consequences to quality of life and longevity.
A common disease that affects performance horses is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is characterised by the erosion of articular cartilage and is a major cause of lameness in exercising horses, degeneration of the articular cartilage can result in irreversible osteoarthritis.
An 8-year study conducted by Dr Martha R. Rodgers VMD in Lexington, Kentucky (2006), in which performance horses were supplemented daily with a high-grade Glucosamine Sulphate and Chondroitin Sulphate feed additive, revealed a significant reduction in the frequency of intra-articular injections that were required to manage osteoarthritic joints. The frequency reduced from a mean of 1.7 injections per year to only 0.85 injections per year in Glucosamine Sulphate and Chondroitin Sulphate supplemented performance horses. What’s more, this study showed that the “Administration of Glucosamine Sulphate (as opposed to the hydrochloride form) resulted in higher serum and synovial fluid sulphate levels that lead to increases in sulphate incorporation into cartilage and the sulphation process of GAGs”.
As an interest in the use of non-medical alternatives increases, the results of many more studies have become available to show that there remains a clear benefit of daily supplementation with Glucosamine Sulphate and Chondroitin Sulphate in order to:
- Enhance the integrity and resilience of healthy articular cartilage and the viscosity of synovial (joint) fluid;
- Improve the function of the chondrocytes within the cartilage matrix;
- Have protective and beneficial effect on articular cartilage by promoting the production of proteoglycans (PGs) whilst inhibiting the activity of degradative enzymes within the inflamed synovial joint;
- Yield a synergistic effect and assist in healing damaged cartilage through their affinity to bind with articular cartilage and supply a high level of sulphur;
Recent studies have made it evident that early use of a high-grade joint supplement for horses that contains Glucosamine Sulphate and Chondroitin Sulphate might delay the onset &/or progression of osteoarthritis (OA) especially after a traumatic injury, but more importantly, the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug-sparing effect is of invaluable ongoing benefit.
It is important to note osteoarthritis is a condition that cannot be cured and the goals in treating the disease are to alleviate discomfort, prevent further degeneration of cartilage and restore the affected joints too as near normal function as possible. Implementing preventative measures and feeding a high-grade joint supplement for horses that contains Glucosamine Sulphate and Chondroitin supplement from an early age prior to any signs of compromised joint integrity is recommended. Aiming to reduce irreversible articular cartilage degradation process which commonly leads to osteoarthritis.
Ranvet’s Flexi-Joint is a premium joint supplement for horses that supplies a concentrated source of Glucosamine Sulphate and Chondroitin Sulphate. It is available in a 1kg tub which lasts 66 days. For more information click here.