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  • August 03, 2023 3 min read

    Joint Supplements: The Perfect Timing

    Have you ever wondered when the perfect time is to give your horse a joint supplement? Or rather, wondered if giving your young horse a joint supplement is beneficial or just money down the drain? Well, research suggests that joint supplementation given to a horse before any diagnosis of joint disease will be beneficial and may delay the onset of conditions such as osteoarthritis^. In this article, we will not only explorewhen to give your horse a joint supplement but also how to choose the best supplement for your horse.

    When should I give my horse a joint supplement?Research has shown that joint supplements containing glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, or hyaluronic acid may proactively delay the onset of osteoarthritis. So, it is best to start offering these supplements to young and healthy horses before they experience joint trauma or natural wear and tear. 

    But, if you have missed that window, and your horse has already shown signs of joint disease, don’t worry! It is still beneficial to start giving joint supplements right away, as soon as the injury has been detected. Joint supplementation in this case can play a role in managing the condition and providing additional support to the affected joints. It may also help to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation and support the healing process. 

    Research is currently continuing and developing in this space. One study* is even exploring early diagnosis using special genetic material called noncoding (snc) RNA sequences. These molecules could potentially serve as biomarkers for osteoarthritis, helping to implement strategies to slow its progression and prevent chronic pain. 

    How do I choose the best supplement for my horse?There are a multitude of joint supplements on the market, and some are better than others. Before investing in a good supplement, it is always a good idea to consult your treating veterinarian, as they may have suggestions about whether the supplement is suitable for your horse. 

    When choosing a joint supplement, it is always a good idea to buy from a reputable company, and one that has conducted scientific research on their product, or at least the ingredients used. When choosing a joint supplement, it is also good practice to ensure the following ingredients are included in the supplement, as these have been researched to show to support joint health:

    • Glucosamine: A widely researched compound, glucosamine helps to maintain cartilage structure, whilst reducing pain. 
    • Chondroitin: Chondroitin and glucosamine work hand in hand to protect joint cells, whilst maintaining joint structure. It is a great anti-inflammatory and helps to reduce swelling. 
    • MSM: Methylsulfonylmethane is a form of sulphur that occurs naturally, and it helps to reduce inflammation, whilst supporting cartilage bones and connective tissue. It is also a great supplement for hooves!
    • Hyaluronic Acid: HA may reduce or relieve inflammation in the joint. It also helps to promote the growth of new cartilage and bone tissue within the joint, whilst encouraging joint lubrication.

    If your supplement does not include some of the ingredients mentioned above, it certainly doesn’t mean you should disregard the product. In some instances, some products may only contain a few ingredients listed above, but scientific research has shown them to be effective. Hence it is important to consult with your veterinarian to determine which supplement will be the best for your horse. 

    At Oakford Stockfeeds we stock a wide range of joint supplements. Come on in and visit us in-store, or online and we will do our best to help!

    ^ E. van de Water, M Oosterlinck, M Dumoulin, NM Korthagen, PR van Weeren, J van den Broek, H Everts, F Pille, and DA van Doom. 2016. The preventative effects of two nutraceuticals on experimentally induced acute synovitis. Equine Vet Journal 49(4): 532 - 538.

    * C. Castanheira, P. Balaskas, C. Falls, Y, Ashraf-Kharaz, P. Clegg, K. Burke, Y. Fang, P. Dyer, TJM Welting and MJ Peffers. 2021.  Equine synovial fluid small non-coding RNA signatures in early osteoarthritis. BMC Veterinary Research 17(1):26

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