Joint disease and osteoarthritis (OA) are common causes of impaired performance and economic wastage in the equine industry. Traditional therapy often targets symptom modification using either locally or systemically administered agents that can help control some of the symptoms of pain and impaired function associated with joint health challenges (corticosteroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s).
But beyond these intervention and symptom-modifying approaches to joint disease, preventive approaches have become more desirable and popular. To this end, some injectable products, like hyaluronan (HA) and polysulfated glycosaminoglycan (Adequan), have been developed. More recent products in this similar class, but with different overall modes of action, include Polyglycan, Pentosan, Nortrex and Arthramid). And in what is often referred to as regenerative therapies, products like IRAP, stem cells and platelet rich plasma (PRP)have also gained popularity. But these products still require injection, and treatment is usually started once clinical signs are already present. It is also unclear how they can best be used in an ongoing preventive or maintenance type situation.
Oral nutraceutical supplements are based on a nutritional, preventive approach to joint health. Some products, like Myristol, have undergone an equine clinical trial, where improvement in stiffness and soreness in treated horses over controls was documented. Other separate research also showed positive results for the antioxidant used in Myristol PRO, with data suggesting a possible protective effect on muscle cells, as well as on cartilage. A high-quality joint and muscle health supplement should be able to provide these types of benefits and have this type of supportive research documentation.