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Joint Supplements Help Idle and Working HorsesBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · January 16, 2017

An age-old question: can joint supplements really help my horse?

Researchers from the prestigious Animal Health Trust in Newmarket, England, rigorously tested a commercial joint supplement in 24 horses with natural lameness (grade >4 out of 10 on a subdivided AAEP lameness scale). While that number of horses may seem small, it is actually a far larger number of horses included in most published lameness studies evaluating the efficacy of oral joint health supplements.

Researchers tested the supplement when horses were put in fluctuating situations—hanging out on pasture, during groundwork, and exercising under saddle. To boot, several investigators were included to help determine whether horses benefit from the supplement. Experts included board-certified equine veterinary surgeons, riders, and handlers that evaluated movement, range of motion, muscle tone, and response to exercise.

Results of the research proved promising. The supplement was “associated with reduced lameness grade, improved ridden and groundwork scores, and improved ease of movement…in clinical patients, including those at pasture rest, in work, or during rehabilitation.”

The tested supplement contained chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, vitamin C, methylsulfonylmethane, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

Kentucky Equine Research (KER) offers several joint supplements manufactured using these effective ingredients, including KER•Flex, with chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride; Synovate HA with high-molecular weight hyaluronic acid; and EO•3, a marine-derived source of both DHA and EPA. Australian horse owners should also look for Glucos-A-Flex.

Be certain to choose nutritional supplements wisely. KER is certified by FAMI-QS, an international quality and safety certification system for the animal feed industry, as well as other governing agencies.

*Murray, R.C., V.A. Walker, C.A. Tranquille, et al. A randomized blinded crossover clinical trial to determine the effect of an oral joint supplement on equine limb kinematics, and orthopaedic, physiotherapy and handler evaluation scores. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. In press.