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Interesting debate with a vet - do oral supplements really make a difference?

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  • Interesting debate with a vet - do oral supplements really make a difference?

    While on the phone with the vet that handled the vetting of my daughter's new horse, I asked him for supplement advice. In particular, I was interested in a joint supplement as a preventative. It is my intent to keep our new horse as healthy and happy as possible, for as long as possible!

    We had an interesting debate about oral supplements and how millions of dollars are spent on them every year, and yet the only proven joint supplements are those that are administered via injection such as Adequan. There are real, true, controlled and published medical studies that show improved results.

    He asked if I had ever seen any real, controlled, medical studies published about oral supplements - which I couldn't answer, because I haven't really looked. Then he said that there really aren't any.

    So...as horse owners, we want to do right by our horses and the supplements certainly don't hurt them but do they truly help? Oh - and this was only targeted to joint supplements. Others such as weight gain, digestive, hoof, etc - are known to work and studies have been produced.

    I thought this might be an interesting debate for COTH. Given the lack of true medical studies on oral supplements for joints (which I do provide to my horses I might add) should we continue spending our money on them...or should we be more demanding customers to steer our business towards companies that prove the results?

    What do you think?

  • #2
    Personally, I think that oral joint suppliments are great for making really expensive pee. Many others will swear up and down that they get great results and that's great if they do, but I would rather spend my money on adequan and/or legend.
    http://s31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...nibbystrot.jpg
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    Comment


    • #3
      I use a lesser known joint supplement, after trying almost everything out there. I swear I can see a difference when he's on it and when he's not. No science behind it whatsoever, but it is the first with such a change.

      Comment


      • #4
        I can tell a difference in my horse on Next Level, and off it.

        Comment


        • #5
          There is no question I have seen a difference in my older horses on MSM. The difference in one case was from lame to serviceably sound.

          Comment


          • #6
            Ditto.

            Comment


            • #7
              I believe Cosequin and Corta-Flx have published results.

              When I use a joint sup "just because" I'll use Corta-RX powder with HA. It's hard to find, but CHEAP (something like $30/month) and has all the major players.

              I DON'T understand spending a ton of money on feed-throughs. If you're getting up in the $40 ish per month range, use Adequan. $60? Use Legend. $100? Use both. There IS a LOT more evidence that the injectibles work. There is SOME evidence that Cosequin and Corta-Flx do something.

              Comment


              • #8
                "He asked if I had ever seen any real, controlled, medical studies published about oral supplements - which I couldn't answer, because I haven't really looked. Then he said that there really aren't any."

                There is a reason for that.

                Controlled studies are funded by drug companies, even the ones done at Universities (that are for a specific drug, not pure research). They can spend the millions for such studies because they have a 17 year patent on the formula under study and can expect substantial profits down the road. They need those studies to get their drug approved for human or veterinary use by the FDA regulatory process. Things like HA and MSM, even Cetyl-M, I believe, are not under someone's patent, do not need a study as they are not regulated by the FDA, and will not return big profits to a company on money spent for a study.

                The experiences of animal owners that these things work do not count. Every dog, horse, and human I know of that has taken Cetyl-M for joint inflamation has experienced a lot less pain - gave our old German Shepard 8 more months of comfort (animals do not lie about things like that). Our dog vet has never heard of it.
                Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design
                www.lynnlongplanninganddesign.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  If we are going to be very accurate about this, there is no published report that monthly or bi-weekly Adequan does anything

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    What Plumcreek said.

                    Those of us who pour lots of $ into making expensive pee, do it because we see a difference in our horses, for the better, when they are on these supplements. Or, heck, some of us take the same substances ourselves--the ones we buy at Walmart--and can honestly say that we feel better when we remember to take them, than we do without, and don't have bleeding guts to show for it.

                    Good ol' "whatever works", ya know ...
                    "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

                    Spay and neuter. Please.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by lolalola View Post
                      There is no question I have seen a difference in my older horses on MSM. The difference in one case was from lame to serviceably sound.
                      That's because MSM is not, strictly speaking, a joint supplement. It's an anti-inflammatory, and a good one at that.

                      A lot of feedback on this thread has been from people whose horses already have clear clinical signs of osteoarthritis or DJD. Biologically speaking, that's a far cry from how a "preventative" would work.

                      There's also the serious problem for preventative users that not all joint supplements achieve the same results in every horse. One could end up feeding a supplement for years, only to find that when the horse DOES develop arthritis that the supplement isn't very effective. Even if you're looking at two supps with the same ingredients and dosages, a lot of studies suggest that the *source* of the ingredient--for example, shark cartilage versus lab synthesized--makes a difference in the supp's performance.

                      For me and my horse, who is thankfully still young and sound, I will not be putting him on any joint supps until he shows a need. I'll keep him as healthy as I can with turnout, correct work under saddle, and a good diet. When he does show a need, I'll try an oral supp first for about a month--and if I see no improvement, we'll go right to Adequan and/or Legend.
                      Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

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                      • #12
                        IM glucosamine and oral MSM seem to be a good combo, as well as being extremely cost effective.
                        Man plans. God laughs.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The best 'supplements' I've found are simply fresh vegetables. Yam, apple, carrots, oranges, banana, mixed greens, radish, avocado, sprouts ... add some oil with garlic and rosemary and then some flax seed. Even my hairy UK Shetlands are shiny, shiny, shiny with strong little cement hooves. Bright, energetic ... they're all doing well on the veggies. Also, specific herbs (dried or fresh) for specific conditions.

                          Best source for healing = fresh sources.
                          --Gwen <><
                          "Treat others as you want to be treated and be the change you want to see in the world."
                          http://www.thepenzancehorse.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            My horse is on msm and for $17 for 180 days it really doesn't brake the bank. I've used Adequan and Legend on my horse with mixed results. I rather buy my tub of msm then shell out $40 a vial for Adequan or $65 a vial for Legend. I'm on the if I see results or improvement than I stick with it. I don't need a fancy study to tell me anything if it works on my horse.
                            I want to be like Barbie because that bitch has everything!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Well, the debate is nothing new on this board, been having the same discussion for at least 5 years.

                              Consensus is, if the oral is actually directed at what is bothering the horse-like a vitamin deficiency-it might work. Far as joint issues? Depends on what hurts and why because some it helps and some it does squat.

                              My own vet, very successful sport horse vet affiliated with a major vet school, actually does recommend the oral HA gels but with no guarantee because, as he says, helps some, expensive piss with others.

                              So, it seems, there are no absolutes because there really are no independent studies.

                              I tried numerous joint concoctions and the only one that worked was the injectable Legend. When the oral HA gels came out, maybe 4 years back, I tried them and was able to drop the shot-with my particular horse, they worked just as well. With others in the barn, they did not.

                              No simple or easy answer other then you might want to ask around and, if it has helped others with similar issues to your horse, try it for 30 days. Or stick with the injectables.
                              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Here is a recent review article that echoes what many have said: the quality of the limited research out there on these supplements is poor at best.


                                Low quality of evidence for glucosamine-based nutraceuticals in equine joint disease: Review of in vivo studies

                                Authors: Pearson, W.; Lindinger, M.

                                Source: Equine Veterinary Journal, Volume 41, Number 7, September 2009 , pp. 706-712(7)

                                Publisher: Equine Veterinary Journal Ltd.

                                Abstract:
                                Nutraceuticals are increasingly applied to the management of equine arthritis and joint disease, particularly those based upon glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate. While the first report of using glucosamine in horses appeared more than 25 years ago, it was not until 1992 that isolated studies began to be reported. Since that time, 15 in vivo papers have been published in the equine literature, usually on products already commercially available and often seeking evidence for efficacy. These studies demonstrate an encouraging trend to manufacturers of these products investing in research, but most do not meet a quality standard that provides sufficient confidence in the results reported. This review discusses the entirety of published in vivo research on glucosamine-based nutraceuticals (GBN) for horses, including that on Cosequin, Cortaflex, Synequin, Sasha's EQ, Myristol, chondroitin sulphate, glucosamine sulphate and glucosamine hydrochloride; and considers experimental limitations of this research along with their impact on interpretation of results. A quality score was calculated for each paper according to preset quality criteria. A minimum quality standard of 60% was set as the threshold for confidence in interpretation of results. Of the 15 papers reviewed, only 3 met the minimum quality standard. Experimental limitations of each research paper are discussed. It is concluded that the quality of studies in this area is generally low, prohibiting meaningful interpretation of the reported results. New high quality research on GBN for horses is needed and recommendations for future research are discussed.
                                *Absolut Equestrian*

                                "The plural of anecdote is not fact...except in the horse industry"

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Here's feedback from someone who can talk - my mother in-law! She was in big trouble with arthritis in her knee to the point where she limped. I told her to go on MSM and now she's better! It happened practically overnight. Honest.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I read in a horse journal a report on Corta-FLX which was quite positive. I want to say it was the old Michael Plumb journal--they did their own little study with horses on either the real thing or a placebo, then left them off a while, then switched.

                                    ANYHOW. I had an older mare with lots of joint issues who developed narcolepsy because she was no longer going down to sleep at night. She'd be standing in the field and just start to buckle over her knees, stagger step and shake it off. I had her on daily bute already and was considering putting the old girl down, but decided to give Corta-FLX a whirl. Within two weeks the collapsing vanished, she was able to lie down to roll, sleep, and rise again. She was much more comfortable and stayed that way for several more years before it was time to send her across the Bridge.

                                    I've had others where clearly no improvement was shown. I think mileage varies depending on the specific horse and specific problem. I know my vet likes the feed through supplements and has several she recommends.
                                    Eileen
                                    http://themaresnest.us

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      The difference between oral supplements and injected supplements is manner of getting to the bloodstream/muscles.

                                      An injected supplement goes almost straight into the system in its original form.

                                      An oral supplement gets digested. This means stomach acids break it down into usable parts. During this process some of the base materials may be caught up in waste products and passed through the system or broken down in a way that is not as usable. Hence, oral supplements are not generally as effective as injected.

                                      My mare was on oral supplements for a long time and recently, I switched her to a new one that was liquid (It was Corta-FLX, EiRide because I heard great things about it also). Well, she did not like it and stopped eating it. She shares a paddock with another horse and they are not stalled to eat, so my alpha mare just switches food with her fieldmate. Well, now she's more stiff and less happy.

                                      I decided to give her an injectable supplement for a few reasons - one of them being, with her starting to get up in age, an injection might be better. The other is - this way I am sure she is getting her supplement and not 'giving' it to her friend!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by SpringOakFarm View Post
                                        While on the phone with the vet that handled the vetting of my daughter's new horse, I asked him for supplement advice. In particular, I was interested in a joint supplement as a preventative. It is my intent to keep our new horse as healthy and happy as possible, for as long as possible!

                                        We had an interesting debate about oral supplements and how millions of dollars are spent on them every year, and yet the only proven joint supplements are those that are administered via injection such as Adequan. There are real, true, controlled and published medical studies that show improved results.

                                        He asked if I had ever seen any real, controlled, medical studies published about oral supplements - which I couldn't answer, because I haven't really looked. Then he said that there really aren't any.

                                        So...as horse owners, we want to do right by our horses and the supplements certainly don't hurt them but do they truly help? Oh - and this was only targeted to joint supplements. Others such as weight gain, digestive, hoof, etc - are known to work and studies have been produced.

                                        I thought this might be an interesting debate for COTH. Given the lack of true medical studies on oral supplements for joints (which I do provide to my horses I might add) should we continue spending our money on them...or should we be more demanding customers to steer our business towards companies that prove the results?

                                        What do you think?
                                        My vet agrees (re: joint supplements)

                                        Comment

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