Equine Arthritis Benefits from Intramuscular Polysulfated Glycosaminoglycan

Horses with a chemically induced inflammation of the knee (carpitis) mimicking osteoarthritis (OA) benefit from intramuscular administration of a polysulfated glycosaminoglycan product, reported a group of Argentinean researchers.

Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of lameness in horses with no known cure.

"Management includes both therapeutic and nontherapeutic measures, including drugs that are disease-modifying or chondroprotective, to prevent, retard, or reverse the changes that occur in the cartilage of arthritic joints," explained Maria Fabiana Landoni, BSc, DVM, PhD, of the pharmacology department, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of La Plata (Argentina).

At present, the number of clinically proven disease-modifying drugs for horses with OA is limited.

Landoni and colleagues therefore used a model for equine carpitis to determine the efficacy of a specific polysulfated glycosaminoglycan product (SYNTEX CSY36, Syntex Argentina S.A.).

Twelve apparently healthy horses with no evidence of joint disease received injections of the chemical monoiodoacetate into the right middle carpal joint. Seven days later, horses received either the polysulfated glycosaminoglycan or saline every four days for a total of seven injections.

"Horses which received the intramuscular polysulfated glycosaminoglycan product had less joint swelling, were less lame, and had more carpal flexion than the horses included in the control group," relayed Landoni.

These results suggest the evaluated product was effective in horses with a chemically-induced carpitis but, according to Landoni, additional research is needed.

"More studies using different experimental models of OA and horses with naturally-occurring OA are needed," she said.

The study, "Efficacy of intramuscular polysulfated glycosaminoglycan in a controlled study of equine carpitis," was published in the August 2010 edition of the Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

The abstract is available on PubMed.

About the Author

Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she's worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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