Learn about arthritis and how supplements can benefit your horse

Learn about arthritis and how supplements can benefit your horse

Horses are magnificent animals that often amaze us with their powerful yet elegant movements. Healthy joints play a crucial role as they act as hinge points and shock absorbers. Joint problems such as osteoarthritis unfortunately are one of the most common health issues in horses. Joint wear and tear not only occur in old age but can also develop at a younger age due to intensive training or trauma. Other factors that may contribute include prolonged joint inflammation, overloading, being overweight, and genetics. Once osteoarthritis sets in, the cartilage, which serves as a sliding surface in the joint, will deteriorate. The production of normal joint fluid, which has a lubricating function, will also be disrupted. In some cases, the underlying bone may also be affected, further worsening the situation.

How do you find out if something is wrong with your horse?

Swelling and warmth: Osteoarthritis can lead to swelling and warmth around the affected joints. Regularly feel your horse’s joints, especially after training, checking for abnormal warmth or swelling. However, this is not always the case, especially in more severe instances.

Changes in gait: Pay attention to changes in your horse’s gait. Osteoarthritis can cause stiffness and lameness, particularly noticeable at the beginning of riding or after periods of rest.

Stiffness/Limited mobility: If you notice your horse struggling with certain movements, such as bending or stretching joints, this may indicate osteoarthritis. You may also observe a general stiffness.

Changes in behavior: Osteoarthritis causes pain. Horses may change their behavior in response to this. Reduced activity, difficulty with certain exercises, or a general change in temperament can be indicative.

Veterinary examination: Consult a veterinarian for a thorough clinical examination. The vet can form an initial impression by palpating the joints, assessing movement on hard and soft surfaces, and performing flexion tests. Further examinations, such as local anesthesia and X-rays, can confirm the issue afterward. For a more detailed diagnosis, a CT scan, MRI scan, or even arthroscopy may be beneficial.

How can my horse be helped?

Adequate movement without overloading is of primary importance. Additionally, physiotherapy and general anti-inflammatory medications can contribute to increased comfort. In some cases, a local joint injection or even arthroscopy may be recommended. Supplements can also play a significant role in supporting painful joints.

How can supplements contribute to healthy joints?

Cartilage support: By providing the necessary building blocks supplements contribute to the maintenance of healthy cartilage and increase the potential for restoration after damage. 

Anti-inflammatory properties: Actively reducing inflammation not only significantly increases the horse’s comfort but also helps decrease the rate of cartilage and joint deterioration.

Antioxidant support: Antioxidants aid in reducing oxidative stress, which can be beneficial as oxidative stress plays a role in inflammatory processes.

Flexibility: By improving the quality of joint fluid and joint function, supplements help the horse move more smoothly.

Pain relief: Through the aforementioned effects, such as cartilage support and anti-inflammatory action, joint supplements contribute to reducing pain associated with osteoarthritis. This enhances both the horse’s quality of life and performance.

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