Determining which joint supplement your horse needs can be a very overwhelming task. Before you start looking at all the different products available, narrow down what exactly you need the supplement to do for your horse. Are you targeting inflammation, cartilage repair, or just overall joint health? Once you have an idea of the type of supplement you need, you can start looking at your options. Here are four different kinds of joint issues and what kind of supplement you should be shopping for.
For a Joint Injury
If your horse is recovering from a joint injury, it’s important to give them all of the nutrients their body needs to recover. Look for a supplement that contains high doses of the 3 most effective ingredients for joint repair: glucosamine HCI, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), and chondroitin sulfate. One supplement that has these 3 ingredients is the Sho-Flex joint supplement. It has 10,000 mg of glucosamine HCI and 5,000 mg of MSM which are considerably higher than comparable supplements. Sho-Flex also has 1,200 mg of chondroitin sulfate, which plays a key role in the production of collagen and tissue.
[What's Methylsulfonylmethane? MSM is derived from DMSO (Dimethyl sulfoxide) and is an organic compound containing sulfur that is used to produce collagen and connective tissue. MSM helps give collagen stability and strength to support joints.]
For Joint Maintenance
For long-term joint maintenance, it’s best to look for a product that is geared toward everyday use. Try looking for something that addresses inflammation, mobility, with a focus on long-term care. The Cetyl-M Equine Pellets and Powder uses 5 omega fatty acids which help with inflammation and joint lubrication. This kind of formula is good for long-term maintenance because the pellets are easy to add to their routine and the formula is made for long-term use. When you're putting your horse on a product that will be used consistently, it's important to make sure they can tolerate it for long-term use to avoid doing any internal damage.
[Other Long-Term Options: Consider adding an NSAID to your horse's daily regimen such as Equioxx. This acts similarly to Bute, but horses metabolize it differently and are able to use it daily without causing any adverse effects, like gastric ulcers. Talk to your vet about getting your horse a prescription.]
For Complete Care
For very active horses who spend a lot of time in trailers, in the show pen, and doing other activities that strain their joints, it's a good idea to give them a supplement that covers all bases.
These kinds of formulas are usually made up of a combination of supplements rather than just one specific active ingredient. The Rapid Flex joint supplement uses a combination of ingredients that creates almost a building block of joint care. It has glucosamine HCI, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid, plus 9 different kinds of herbs that target inflammation, mobility, and joint lubrication.
[What's Glucosamine? This is a common ingredient in joint supplements. It's an amino sugar that the horse's body uses to produce and repair cartilage. It's most commonly derived from shells of shellfish and is often combined with chondroitin in oral supplements from horses.]