Pain, heat and swelling around a joint can all be signs that a horse's joint is being stressed. Now, scientific studies show what many equine owners already knew. Joint supplements for horses can help alleviate pain and they might even aid in the prevention of further damage to the joint and surrounding tissues.
Equine joint supplements really do work. What is even more inspiring is the fact that there are now formal studies taken of horses that will substantiate this claim. Nevertheless, if you have personally tried several different horse joint supplements, you have likely discovered that some equine joint supplements work a bit better than others to help your horse move about in comfort or to control the heat and the swelling in his joints. An explanation for this is that there is a variable quality found within the ingredients of different brands. Another reason is that certain supplements may actually not contain the ingredients that they claim. In addition, horses vary. So, individual horses that have similar conditions might still respond differently to the exact same product and dosage. Some horses could show quick improvement. Other horses may show little or no apparent benefit at all.
It would be easy to get confused due to all the products available. There are approximately 75 brands of oral horse joint supplements for horses on the market right now, with several manufacturers offering many different products from which to choose. Furthermore, new and improved ingredients keep cropping up.
The joint supplements that have been out there in the stores for a long time are most likely effective or they would have probably been weeded out by now. Still, you will want to read the labels carefully to make sure you are getting the right ingredients in the right amounts for your horse's needs.
First, make sure the product contains Glucosamine as it is the single most well researched ingredient in horse joint supplements. It is the basic building block of connective tissue and therefore an important part of healthy joint function. It has also been shown to be absorbed and used quickly by the horse to restore joint tissues. Chondroitin is another highly researched ingredient and while it may not be as easily broken down and put to use from an oral supplement, it is often paired with Glucosamine and shown to have good results. Paired with Glucosamine, Chondroitin seems to work better than either work alone. HA is a common ingredient that seems to help the horse when there are flare ups. It reduces swelling and heat in joints. MSM also appears to be an effective ingredient for treating inflammation of joints but it needs to be fed in rather high doses, (20,000 mg a day) to be truly effective.
Copper and Zinc as well as Vitamin C are other ingredients to consider beneficial in joint supplements for horses. Whatever product you choose to treat your horse, be sure to consult your veterinarian for advice to keep your horse comfortable and productive.