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Supporting the Arthritic Horse

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  • Supporting the Arthritic Horse

    So, when you guys are supporting your older eventers or else your eventer's non-eventing companions, have you had experience with a pain management supplement which does not have the gastric side effects of bute called B-L; it used to be Buteless but that name changed? Does anyone have any experience with this supplement? It is yucca and devil's claw with some B-12. Another one I saw that seems like it might be a more aggressive formula, available through SmartPak, was Devil's Claw Plus. It also has the yucca and devil's claw, with Boswellia Extract and Grape Seed Extract. Anyone know about that one? I know this would not be legal for an eventing horse because of the Devil's Claw, but it would be my SO's cute little Paint mare who has come up with an arthritic knee on the left. To keep this slightly OBeventer-y, she goes out hacking with my event mares to help keep us company while we get fit. :-)

    I know a lot of folks use Adaquan for their working horses; I've done a once a month on my 18 yr old when I was jumping her more last year, and my 22 year old QH who is doing Pony Club with my God daughter is also on a monthly shot. We had a snaffu with my Adaquan supplier, so it is just now finally getting shipped--after a June 26th order!!! GRRRR. Anyhow, my vet suggested once a week for four shots for a loading period, then go to once a month. I asked if a more aggressive loading period, maybe for seven weeks, then go to either once a month or twice a month, might be a more effective protocol. She seemed a little mushy on the answer, along the lines of most clients won't spend that much on the Adaquan which I take to mean 'she isn't sure if that would be more effective or the same effective' because she does not have enough patients who took a longer loading period route.' What have you Adaquan users done with loading and maintaining?

    Baby needs to be happy to trail ride, does not need to pass drug tests or be perfectly sound. With an arthritic condition, sitting in the pasture will only make her stiffen up more, so we want to do what we can to gently build and support her in the hopes we will have many more years of trail riding. She is very active and cheerful when we tack her up and take her out, and she's telling us she wants to go go go, whether or not she's trotting up perfectly or not. I really just want to support her the best way we can so she maintains that happy to head down the trails expression for a long time to come. It's also good to explore these options so that when my current crop of hard workers starts getting some age and wear and tear on their joints, I have a good notion of what works well with joint support.

    Do many of you guys inject a joint or joints? How often do you find you need to do that?

    Thanks for any information you are able to share. I appreciate it.

  • #2
    I used Adequan once a month on my older event/jumper mare. It definitely helped her out a lot--I can't actually remember what loading dose we did...sorry. But the recommended dose from the manufacturer is one dose every 4 days for 28 days http://www.adequan.com/pdf/AdequanIM_Rev8-07[1].pdf not sure if that's their recommended loading dose or what, just trying to help you out.

    I know two people who recently started their horses on it and the did one dose a week for 4 weeks before going to once a month.
    Sorry I can't offer help on the supplement either.


    • #3
      Ah, all those supplements bring back memories. I have tried every supplement you mentioned alone, together, and then some...along with injections every 6 months or so. Finally, I said forget it and decided to go with Adequan alone. I started my 20 year old OTTB with arthritis at both ends on Adequan about a year ago and it has helped the most of all.

      I went ahead and stuck with the manufacturer's directions of every 4 days for 28 days, which is what my vet recommended. I figure it's FDA approved, it does what it claims. I'm kicking myself for not switching earlier since it's a little over 40 per month which is less than a lot of the supplements.

      You may or may not need injections, but I've heard you can prolong the time between injections if you are using Adequan also.


      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by KDog View Post
        You may or may not need injections, but I've heard you can prolong the time between injections if you are using Adequan also.
        Thanks for the insights.

        Baby's knee injection clearly made a huge difference within 48 hours, so I think that was a good choice for her. I am hoping with the Adequan I might be able to stave off further injections to the joint for a long time. Right now, I am in the 'throw everything at it until she is as comfortable as we can get her, then back off a little here and there until we see what we really need' boat. I am hoping that sorts out this mild ouch on the right side without playing the block and x ray game. Again.

        We have Baby on Next Level, which is a pelleted feed through supplement. I am just hoping the bloody Adequan gets here SOON. I know it keeps my PC QH a happy little man, and while she was never unsound (and still isn't) my coach could tell the lesson before and the lesson after our monthly Adequan shot with my Appendix mare--she just was a little more punching off the ground after her shot, although she always trotted up sound.


        • #5
          I have had the pleasure of riding older horses for my entire riding career and most had some form of arthritic changes. I found the most important thing toward keeping them comfortable is KEEP THEM MOVING!

          I was able to compete one of my horse into his 30's at First Level Dressage and Novice Level Eventing even though he had arthritis in his hocks and really found that he did really well as long as he was out a minimum of five days per week.... six was better... and I rarely got to seven. This ABOVE ALL ELSE made the biggest difference. The stuff below worked well but was a poor cousin to just keeping them moving.

          In those days, we used the feed throughs and I was a religious "Flex Free" addict and I think it helped. The injectable Adequan is even better and I have used it with several older horses that came after the one above, including the one I ride now who is over 20 years old and going strong. Many folks at my barn use it with a lot of success too.

          Use the new loading dose recommendations (7 total -- look at the Adequan website for specifics) and then once per month and you will likely get great results. My mare feels so good a day or so after an injection that I actually joke that I am paying $50 (or whatever it is now that it is thankfully going down in price) for bad behavior because she feels so frisky!

          Good Luck - the oldies are the best!!


          • #6
            I started my 13 yr old draft cross (w/ arthritis in hocks & synovitis in fetlock) on adequan a few months ago. Did the loading dose as recommended (every 4 days for 28) & am giving it every other week now until his fetlock inflammation goes away. After that, it'll be once a month. I also started him on Legend injections (loading dose of 1 IV injection weekly for 3 weeks, then once a month after that. Cha- ching!!! but, it helps that I work for a vet & get a discount....
            I know of at least 1 pro rider who treats all of his (4 or 5 of them) horses during the competition season with adequan AND legend every other week, and an extra legend injection 2 days before an event. It helps that they have sponsors!
            I think that for your situation, adequan should be sufficient over the long term.
            Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it ~ Goethe