• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.



Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

EVIDENCE for oral joint supp's?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • EVIDENCE for oral joint supp's?

    My vet wants me to put a 7 year-old trail horse with loose stifles on a glucosamine/chondroitin oral supplement as a "preventative" since his joints have some extra range of motion.

    Years ago, I read a study that clearly stated that all of these "joint supplements" are not absorbed by equines except as simple sugar, and are basically a very expensive "owner placebo." In spite of this, my vet is convinced they do something.

    Personally, I find the idea that ~EATING~ glucosamine and chondroitin, obtained from another species, will result in that molecule "going where it's needed" to be somewhere between simplistic and magical thinking, and though I adore this horse I am loathe to spend money on snake oil.

    Does anyone know of a reliable study that shows this stuff is actually absorbed to any measurable effect? We're talking about the oral stuff here, I'm already familiar with the effects of Legend & Adequan.


  • #2
    Cosequin and Corta-Flx have both undergone clinical trials, IIRC. I would look into the data behind those two products first.

    However, I do NOT believe that anyone has ever shown any oral joint supplement is effective at *preventing* DJD. I don't think the data is even there for the injectibles like Legend or Adequan.


    • #3
      Even the Cosequin trials are extremely sketchy, and these are considered "gold standard". Which goes to show how poor the standard is with nutraceuticals.

      You're not going to find anything convincing, I'm afraid. Absorbed, yes . . . some of it is absorbed. But getting to its intended destination intact? Not much evidence for that.

      Convictions of efficacy are much easier to come by than demonstrable benefit that is clear to dispassionate observers. This is why anecdotes are "enough" for a lot of people.
      Click here before you buy.


      • #4
        I put my old, retired broodmare on Smartpak's Seniorflex a couple years ago because she was really getting stiff and ouchy. (and she was already out 24/7, so getting enough "natural" exercise to help her joints) It took about 2 weeks to notice an effect, but then the difference was like night and day. Horses can't lie-- either they're in pain or they're not, and she moves like she did 5 years ago, with absolutely no hint of pain. This is enough "proof" for me. So there's gotta be something that's getting into her system and helping.

        Now, all this being said... If your horse is having stifle problems, maybe you can try doing hill exercises to help strengthen the muscles surrounding the joint. Trot uphill, walk back down, repeat. I would start with about 5 minutes at first.


        • #5
          Check out Pentosan. It is an injectable that is being used as both a preventative and a joint/tissue supplement.

          Not sure if actual studies have been done on it in other countries. It has been in use abroad for a while and is now getting popular in the US.
          "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." --Ghandi


          • #6
            I read about a French (I think) study a few years ago that showed horses on a daily dose of 10,000mg of MSM had fewer inflammatory cells (agents, radicals?) in their joint fluid after a hard (they used jumping) work than those not on MSM.

            That's likely as close as you'll get to preventative joint care. MSM is cheap too.


            • Original Poster

              Here's the thing--we're not HAVING a "problem" yet. He's just a very loosey-goosey kind of guy with remarkable range of motion all over his body--front end and spine as well as stifles. Also, he's out 24/7, eats ONLY grass and hay to hold a good weight, and by most people's standards is lightly ridden. Being a TWH, his "work" is 98% at a brisk walk over gentle terrain.

              I'm not seeing this as a Pentosan-worthy workload.

              One of the "better" joint supps. would run me around $1,400.00 per year if used daily. If there is no empirical proof that this is justified and beneficial for an ASYMPTOMATIC light-use young horse, I'd rather put that new overhang on the barn.

              That's some pretty durn expensive "pixie dust!'


              • #8
                You're right.

                Based on your last description of your horses present and future workload I wouldn't be spending any money on a joint supplement either, at least not at this point.
                "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." --Ghandi


                • #9
                  Horses can't lie-- either they're in pain or they're not
                  But osteoarthritis can certainly wax and wane in terms of symptom severity. It is one of the characteristics of the disease. Many of my patients express it very colorfully as having "another visit from Old Arthur" when their OA flares up. Which it does periodically before quieting down again.
                  Click here before you buy.


                  • #10
                    Another product with research on it is Actistatin. However, I still am not convinced of the COST effectiveness of oral joint supplements. My hand was pushed to Legend/Adequan by an injury and it is actually less than 1400/yr and gives good results. Not to mention pentosan.


                    • #11
                      Here's the one (or at least one of the ones) on Corta-Flx. Tiny sample of horses with DJD. Horse Journal also did a review of joint supplements in 1999 and saw results from Corta-Flx also, but I wasn't able to find a description of the procedures they used to evaluate it, nor a sample size.

                      If there's any data on efficacy for preventative use, I sure don't know about it.
                      "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

                      Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
                      Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.


                      • Original Poster

                        Delta, what do you think of the Corta-Flex study above?

                        (Of course, I'm imagining it was paid for by Corta-Flex!)


                        • #13
                          You might find that a properly designed exercise routine by an equine physio-therapist would be more effective and if done diligently would be longer lasting.

                          I had one that entailed some cavaletti, stretching, hills, etc.
                          Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                          • #14
                            I thought my horse was just a little stiff and was convinced to put him on Pentosan. I had tried a few oral supplements and noticed no difference so stopped them. The Pentosan has literally given me a new horse...he has movement I never thought he had. It's only $20 a dose so a loading dose of 4 shots plus one a month is 300 a year the first year and 240 a year after that. If your vet is really pressuring you maybe try it and see it's not that expensive. If there is no difference whatsoever after a few months stop using it until you do see him getting stiff and then try different supplements to see what works for your horse. I do know of the oral supplements my cousin who is a vet (and doesn't believe in oral supplements much) says the only ones with half decent studies behind them that she would recommend are cosequin and platinum performance.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Lady Eboshi View Post
                              Delta, what do you think of the Corta-Flex study above?

                              (Of course, I'm imagining it was paid for by Corta-Flex!)
                              Too short, too few horses, the endpoints they chose are difficult to sift through, they supply very little validation of the various kinematic measurements WRT what they actually mean in terms of prognosis/function, and it appears that they put everything in a blender and plucked out things with a significant p-value to put forward as "evidence".

                              If they were hard core and wanting to REALLY put their product to the test, they would have selected 2-3 of the kinematic parameters that are STRONGLY validated as correlating with improved soundness (I'm not sure there are any that fit this description) and used a larger group of animals with a longer period of treatment, including a crossover period where the "test" horses became the "control" horses to account for the variable of "things getting better on their own". No fair using weird, unvalidated parameters as evidence of benefit just because there happens to be a p value <0.05. That's cheating.

                              In the scheme of "studies done with oral joint supplements on horses" I'd give it a 6. But most other "studies" get about a 2 or 3, so it's "better" than those. Sadly, though, when compared to good, solid, hard core studies that "6" would fall on a scale of 1-100.
                              Click here before you buy.


                              • Original Poster

                                That's about what I thought you'd say. The very low numbers pretty much killed it for me as "proving" anything. I found the following article pretty enlightening:


                                What I find interesting is that all this uber-expensive stuff has been on the market since at least 1990 and NO ONE seems to have been able to satisfactorily come up with any data. You and I both know that one reason for that can be because no one really WANTS to fund research that just might prove their oh-so-profitable product to be mostly worthless. I strongly suspect that might be the case here. Actually, just read another article that talks about "3% to 4%" bioavailability with even the BEST orals, in this case Cosequin. Pretty much killed THAT idea in the cost-benefit ratio department!

                                After looking pretty closely at all the options, I've pretty much concluded I'll opt for brand-name Adequan only if I think I see a problem. In the meantime, on days he works I'll give him a dose of MSM.

                                While I have heard the "miracle" anecdotes with regard to Pentosan, I've also heard that it's unapproved, is compounded overseas by some pretty sketchy outfits, and is being used off-label and may ultimately be banned. None of that makes me want to inject it into a young, HEALTHY animal!

                                Delta, you're an eventer of long experience with a number of horses, knowledgeable and motivated about soundness. Do YOU feed your guys oral glucosamine/chondroitin preparations or other "nutraceuticals?" Would you, if they were on good pasture 24/7 and were not jumping?
                                Last edited by Lady Eboshi; Mar. 14, 2013, 08:45 PM.


                                • #17
                                  I do not use any nutraceuticals or supplements other than vitamins/minerals that I know my hay or soil are lacking. I do use Pentosan on one of mine, with mild hock arthritis. Dressage scores in the 20a and no longer randomly stopping at simple XC fences are the endpoints I've observed.

                                  I am reasonably comfortable with compounded drugs (Pentosan is made in the USA) and with drugs from overseas as well. But one cannot ask another individual to adopt one's own comfort level, so YMMV, as they say.
                                  Click here before you buy.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Many thanks, Delta, for the input. I think I'm going to just leg him up with the pole and hill work someone else suggested above (as did my vet) and see where it goes once he's fit for the year.

                                    The whole question of a horse needing "joint support" just to walk around seems a little silly to me, but for one factor; he does have a lot of laxity in his stifles, and he's a smaller guy than I've historically ridden as my primary horse--he's a dainty 14.3 and probably not more than 800 lbs. Being 150 I'm a little more aware of him carrying my weight. That said, there's not a lot of concussion involved since he's gaited. I do follow "cavalry protocol" resting his back intermittently by getting off and leading him a few minutes per hour on longer rides. He's a gallant little soul and will do anything I ask, and I'd like to still be riding him when I'm old(er) and gray(er)!


                                    • #19
                                      I recently switched both of my horses from a more expensive "joint" supplement to straight MSM, and both seem to be doing just fine. MSM is significantly cheaper, even if you are paranoid like I am and will only buy the MSM manufactured in the US (which costs more than the MSM made overseas).


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Lady Eboshi View Post
                                        That's about what I thought you'd say. The very low numbers pretty much killed it for me as "proving" anything. I found the following article pretty enlightening:


                                        What I find interesting is that all this uber-expensive stuff has been on the market since at least 1990 and NO ONE seems to have been able to satisfactorily come up with any data. You and I both know that one reason for that can be because no one really WANTS to fund research that just might prove their oh-so-profitable product to be mostly worthless. I strongly suspect that might be the case here. Actually, just read another article that talks about "3% to 4%" bioavailability with even the BEST orals, in this case Cosequin. Pretty much killed THAT idea in the cost-benefit ratio department!
                                        I had a long conversation with the owner of one of the better known supplement manufacturers about the lack of data. He told me that he started his career working with pigs. With them you could have a large number of genetically identical animals, feed them a supplement and then slaughter them and analyze the impact of the feed/supplement/drug. With horses, it's a lot more complicated!

                                        Of course, there is also the problem that many of these supplements may well do little to nothing and no one wants data that shows that.

                                        Anecdotally I've seen very good results with MSM, although if you feed it for a long time my vet tells me the efficacy drops off. She recommends feeding it for awhile and then giving your horse a break during seasonal down times.

                                        Way back when supplements were less ubiquitous than they are now, I did start my older horse on an oral joint supplement and was shocked by how much it helped him. Can't remember what it was called . . . this was back in the early 90s, maybe it was Flex Free? So I think to a certain extent it depends on your horse and what the problem is.

                                        I've tried many supplements since then and most of them have provided little to no improvement. I do currently feed my horse Corta-Flx and I do think he moves better on it. I will tell you for sure that it helped my dog significantly. Not exactly an apples to apples comparison, for sure, but interesting.
                                        Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                                        EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.