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Discuss Joint supplements for YOUNG performance horse/ safe effective??? at the Horse Health forum - Horse Forums.

Hi I have feed joint supplements to older horses with great results. My question does ...
  1. #1
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    Jan 2007
    Nova Scotia Canada

    Joint supplements for YOUNG performance horse/ safe effective???

    I have feed joint supplements to older horses with great results. My question does anyone know if it safe and effective to feed YOUNG horses who are at work as a preventive measure? Does anyone do it and is there any research on it.
    If so what is the best product to buy? Which form of glucosime the most effective, and what combination of ingredients are recommended.

  2. #2
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    Jess!'s Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    Good question, I'd like to know as well.

  3. #3
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    Blistering Winds's Avatar
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    I don't think the research is out on joint supplements and young/growing joints.

    Some vets believe the sooner you start hock injections, the more likely you will continue them for the rest of the horse's life.

    But as for feed through, even in humans they are up in the air about them.
    Nothing like seeing nature from the back of a horse!

  4. #4
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    Safe? Yes. Effective? No way to know - can't know if the horse would have developed problems if there was no supplementation. The only type of valid study on that would be to take a large number of young horses of similar breeding, have a pasture puff control group, a light riding group, a heavy riding group, whatever variations, for each of the "prevention" and "let nature take its course" set. Not very feasible.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member+ royalrox's Avatar
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    yea I mean if their in heavy work you can do it there's just no gurantee that it will prevent anything but then if you didn't and they did develop something you know of that goes:IF i had just put them on it then maybe...LOL
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  6. #6
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    Nova Scotia Canada
    Tell me about it. There is so much information around it is hard to decifer good stable managent practices over not so good practices.We all want our horses to be safe, healthy, sound and happy.We can harm them from neglect and also from kindness. I keep asking questions, read whatever I can get my hands on and try and fiqure out what will give them longevity.It can be like trying to piece together a neverending puzzle. I do not ride much anymore my body has to many aches and pains. I however love being a show mom and particularly enjoy the stable management and ground work.
    My moms well respected rhematoligist has started her on glucosamine,stating that research is strongly showing that it does have benefits.
    I have been given two different responses from fellow local equestion friends regarging feeding glucosime when they are young,
    - one was told that to get the full benefits from glucosime feed it when they are young and starting work to help any stress put on their joints from becoming a bigger problem.
    _The second person believed it could take over the horses own ability to heal itself and then at a later date if the supplement was necceccary they could be immune to it.
    ( I believe these to be personal believes not based on clinical findings;
    If anyone comes across any research or studies about feeding glucosime or any other joint supplements please post them. Everything I find is some company promoting their products and would prefer to see a study submitted by the scientfic community.

  7. #7
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    tbtrainer's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    We have used Cosequin on both young horses and older horses. It is the only joint supplement approved by the FDA. I sound like an add...
    Last edited by tbtrainer; 01-26-2007 at 08:57 PM.

  8. #8
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    One thing I have heard (and I can't remember where) is that you will need to up the dosage once problems arise, so if you do it, I'd consider starting at small doses. Again, research is ambivalent, but that's something to consider, as well.
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  9. #9
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    I feel SmartFlex "Maintenance" to my 7 year old (who has no existing joint problems). I'm not sure if you consider that "young". It's formulated for horses without existing joint problems, but that are working in a way that makes them "at risk" for joint problems. This is the spiel on the smartflex packaging:

    SmartFlex I provides basic support of equine joint health. SmartFlex I helps maintain healthy joint function by ensuring availability of the biochemical building blocks used by the horse’s body during the dynamic process of tissue breakdown and repair that occurs with training.

    SmartFlex I is a concentrated formulation consisting of 4,000mg of Glucosamine, 5,000mg of MSM, and 1,250mg of Vitamin C
    I really like how that bolded part sounds. Maybe it's just marketing but eh, if there's a chance that for $16 a month I can keep my horse comfortable and able to do his job for a few years later in life, it seems worth it.

  10. #10
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    Joint supplements work in a variety of ways....MSM reduces inflammation, glucosamine/chondroitin helps repair strength cartiledge and hylaronic acid helps lubricate the tendon sheaths.

    So, here is what you have to ask yourself:

    Given that feeding some supplements (eg thyroid meds) makes the body think that it is producing enough or whatever is being fed...so the body sends a signal to reduce or eliminate production of that substance. While we know this is true of some things....I don't know of any reseach to support this in joint supplementation...but its intended use is for when natural aging processes slow production of joint support fluids and structures.

    We know that repetative movements, working too hard/too young and incorrect movement puts the hrose at risk for joint issues at any given time.

    We also know that poof hoof form effects hocks, stifles, hips, backs, necks, knees and shoulders. This is the primary factor in preventing arthritis in horses...hard working or non-working.

    So, my conclusions from this information is that no supplementation will provide protection/prevention for a horse that is incorrectly worked/ridden or trimmed/shod.

    On a side note: I once asked my trainer friend what she thought about how our dressage horses breakdown compared to European horses...she said that a world famous German trainer (whose name escapes me) remarked during a public lecture/training demo....it is the age of the horse that matters. Working horses before they are 4 and taking them to top levels and world competition before age of 9-10 is just too hard on them.
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