Poll Recap: Managing Equine Arthritic Aches and Pains

Of the 515 respondents, 232 (45%) said they use joint supplements to help keep their arthritic horses comfortable.

Photo: The Horse Staff

As horses age, the wear and tear of training and daily work can lead to aches and pains of arthritis. How do you keep your arthritic horses comfortable and active? We posed this question to our readers in last week’s online poll. More than 500 people responded, and we’ve tallied the results

Of the 515 respondents, 232 (45%) said they use joint supplements to help keep their arthritic horses comfortable, while 127 individuals (25%) use non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS). Another 77 respondents (15%) said they use joint injections to help manage their horses’ arthritis, and 17 people (3%) use IRAP therapy. The remaining 62 respondents (12%) said they used other methods to keep arthritic horses comfortable.

Additionally, more than 50 people commented about how they keep their arthritic horses comfortable and active:

Several people commented that they use joint supplements or nutraceuticals to help manage their horses’ arthritis:

  • “Cosequin has helped my senior girl considerably.”
  • “Joint supplements and firocoxib”
  • “Joint supplements and keep them moving with reasonable riding.”
  • “The supplement Recovery has kept several old arthritic horses comfortable.”
  • “Golden Paste (Turmeric)”
  • “Supplements seem to work well, plus regular riding”
  • “Glucosemide+shark cartilage extract =perfect supplements”
  • “Dynamite Free and Easy. It has hyularonic acid and lots more.”
  • “Both my old mare and gelding get glucosamine, and my mare has navicular so she's on previcox.”

Others said they rely on exercise to keep their horses comfortable and active:

  • “Exercise with ability to move about fairly freely 80 - 95% of the time throughout the year.”
  • “I keep him moving...arthritic horses thrive on movement.”
  • “Consistent light exercise, hand walking”
  • “Consistent gentle exercise...use it or lose it.”
  • “24-hour turnout to keep moving”
  • “Pasture to ease the stiffness by movement.”
  • “Almost constant turnout”
  • “24/7 turnout”
  • “Pasture turnout with run in, no stall.”
  • “Regular low-impact riding (ie. walk, walk, walk)”

Some people mentioned using joint injections to help with their horse’s arthritis:

  • “Polyglycan”
  • “Adequan injections”
  • “Osphos”
  • “Pentosan”
  • “Systemic joint treatments (Legend & Adequan), Osphos or Tildren in some cases.”

Many people shared other methods or products they use to help minimize their horse’s aches and pains:

  • “We try to keep them active but when they are stalled: liniments, poultices and wraps to soothe aches.”
  • “I use Back on Track products as well. Helps with circulation and warmth.”
  • “Light, sympathetic, strengthening work and massage therapy”
  • “Massage (infra-red) with arnica gel, comfrey ointment”
  • “Back on track wraps”
  • “PEMF Therapy”
  • “57 mg tablet of Previcox works well for my 29-year-old mare's arthritic hocks and ringbone.”
  • “Acupuncture”
  • “Purica Recovery, Back on Track boots - walks and good turn out with a buddy”
  • “Topicals, heat therapy, bandaging”
  • “Management first (movement, blanket, appropriate work program), herbs, BL Pellets, and all the above.”
  • “Acupuncture and massage and photonic red light”
  • “Photonic light on acupressure ting points for arthritis. Magnetic rug and boots, arc equine.”

A few people mentioned that they use multiple methods or products:

  • “Frequent turnout/exercise, coupled with joint supplements. Bute on really bad days.”
  • “I have used all of the above. Massage and acupuncture used for brood mares. Gentle exercise for all.”
  • “Supplements and occasional hock injections”
  • “Supplements, injections, meds as needed, exercise”
  • “Bute, vet/chiro advised stretches and very light exercise to keep joints active.”
  • “Previcox, joint supplement and special shoeing help my guy with lower ringbone.”

While others left general comments:

  • “My horses aren't arthritic yet.”
  • “I tried injections, it did not help.”
  • “Waiting on my vet’s recommendation”
  • “My horse is young and isn’t arthritic yet.”

You can find more information on managing equine arthritis on a budget, how to keep the aging horse comfortable, how to know when to retire an arthritic horse, equine joint therapies, supplements, joint injections, and more at TheHorse.com

This week, we want to know: who eats breakfast first in the morning: you or your horse? Vote now and share your comments at TheHorse.com/polls

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com.

About the Author

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

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