For all the added wisdom our older horses possess, Father Time remains undefeated in limiting the physical ability and general soundness of our aging equines. On average, horses begin to see the most dramatic effects of aging between the ages of 15-20 years, when they are much more susceptible to joint lameness and stiffness associated with arthritis.
No one wants to see their horse struggle, and keeping older ones active is critical to the industry. Where would we be without those seasoned athletes or calm and attentive lesson horses in our lives?
Although there is nothing on the market that can pause time (yet…), there’s no shortage of supplements out there targeting joint health. But do they actually work?
Researchers recently studied the effects of Equithrive Joint, a supplement containing resveratrol and hyaluronic acid, in treating lameness in older horses. The study concluded the supplement could be beneficial to aging horses, based on certain biochemical parameters.
The study was led by Mary E. Umeme, DVM of the Ahmadu Bello University Department of Veterinary Medicine and was comprised of 16 horses, all between the ages of 15-22, showing a lameness score of 3. Half the horses were given Equithrive Joint each day for a month, while the control half were served a placebo. Blood samples were drawn prior to and each week during the study.
The results, published in the Journal of Equine Science, confirmed that aging and lameness can increase oxidative damage in horses, and the resveratrol supplement applied protective effects on old and lame horses by increasing their antioxidant capacity. The anti-inflammatory properties of the supplement gives older horses a better defense against oxidative stress. Additionally, the horses administered the supplement showed a significant reduction in glucose levels, as well as serum creatine kinase, which could indicate improved muscle health.
While the impact of the supplement over the longterm is still being tested and dosages get better defined, it’s promising to know there is a potentially effective method for immediately treating lameness available over the counter.
Study: Effects of a joint supplement whose main components are resveratrol and hyaluronic acid on some biochemical parameters in aged lame horses [Journal of Equine Science]