Medication may be used to support the health and performance of your horse’s joints, including injections, oral medication, and diet-based strategies.
Joint (intra-articular, or IA) injections deliver treatment directly into an affected joint or area, enabling your veterinarian to precisely target therapy. IA injections may also be combined with diet and exercise programs in order to decrease pharmaceutical drug reliance.
An injection of glucosamine is an effective treatment option for horses with osteoarthritis. As a natural compound that forms part of connective tissue and cartilage formation, glucosamine also plays an essential part in creating synovial fluid which aids joint health by producing synovial fluid-reducing joint issues.
Many equine oral supplements contain glucosamine; however, the concentration can differ between products. When selecting your supplement be sure that its active ingredients meet your horse’s needs.
Mad Barn’s W-3 oil contains high concentrations of DHA and EPA to promote a healthy response to inflammation and ease any associated discomfort, while herbs such as yucca, devil’s claw and boswellia are known for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Alternative treatments could include the combination of glucosamine with chondroitin sulfate and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), which has been proven to enhance action and race performance in horses. Pentosan polysulfate found in Nature Vet’s NV Glucosamine 200 Injection has also been shown to promote cartilage healing and increase production of GAGs and HA.
With so many glucosamine options on the market, it is essential that you discuss both its benefits and risks with your veterinarian before beginning therapy with this type of supplement. A small percentage of horses may experience a flare, an inflammatory reaction caused by medication being deposited into their joint, following injection. While flares may have temporary consequences they are typically easily treatable using medication.
Hyaluronic acid (HA) can be found naturally in your horse’s joint fluid and acts to create viscous fluidity for easier joint movement, helping reduce friction, inflammation and discomfort within their joint capsule. In addition, its antioxidant effects provide further comfort.
Repetitive trauma or stress to your horse’s joints during exercise, training or performance can deplete its hyaluronic acid stores, leading to pain, inflammation and inadequate lubrication. Hyaluronic acid injections such as Legend (hyaluronate sodium) may help reestablish a healthy environment within its joint space so your horse can move again with minimal permanent damage.
After administering an injection, your veterinarian will cover the injection site with a bandage and instruct your horse to remain on stall rest. If your horse experiences heat or lameness immediately following this procedure, call your veterinarian immediately – this could indicate an infection in their joints that needs immediate medical treatment.
Oral supplements combining glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and hyaluronic acid have been demonstrated to slow cartilage degradation while improving synovial fluid quality and providing anti-inflammatory benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids also play a crucial role in supporting your horse’s joint health by neutralizing free radicals that cause damage to its surface; try feeding high quality Omega-3 supplements like KER-Flex or EO-3; these come both as powders and liquid forms to make supplementing easy!
Injectable steroids may provide relief for joint pain and inflammation. Furthermore, these steroid injections can slow the progression of degenerative joint disease by blocking production of proinflammatory molecules called cytokines – molecules responsible for breaking down cartilage that causes degenerative joint symptoms in degenerative conditions like degenerative joint disease.
Steroid injections may provide relief to horses with lameness due to soft tissue injury, nipple damage and osteoarthritis. Multiple injections may be required in order to provide long-term comfort; occasionally a “flare” after receiving an injection may occur as their body responds with its natural inflammation response to foreign materials introduced into joints – however this phenomenon is usually short lived and not career limiting.
Your veterinarian can advise on the appropriate combination of medications for your horse’s specific situation, as well as suggest additional supplements and strategies to support joint health alongside injections such as essential omega-3 fatty acids found in flax and camelina oil – feeding these could reduce inflammation.
Your veterinarian will sedate and securtinize the area they intend to inject before applying an antiseptic solution to ensure the site is clean. They then pierce through skin using a 16-23G needle and insert medication. Afterward, horses should spend several days resting before engaging in hand walking and small paddock turn out before being allowed back into full work.
Veterinarians offer more joint injection solutions than just hyaluronic acid and corticosteroids; IRAP and platelet rich plasma (PRP). Both injections use solutions derived from your horse’s own blood; the vet will draw a large volume, process it in a centrifuge to separate out components, then place these platelets directly into intra-articular space for injection containing growth factors that stimulate tissue regeneration while healing cartilage healing, alleviating joint pain.
IRAP is an innovative product that targets the source of joint issues directly. By blocking Interleukin-1 binding to receptors in joints, IRAP effectively reduces inflammation and pain, dramatically improving joint function.
After conducting a comprehensive pre-evaluation, your veterinarian will select the ideal location for injections to maximize their effectiveness. Your horse may then be sedated or under general anesthesia depending on which medication was prescribed; post injection, they must remain on stall rest for 24 hours without turning out or exercise before receiving turnout/exercise permission from their owner. It is crucial that any signs of heat or lameness appear; in case they do, contact your veterinarian immediately!