21st December 2018

Winter Horse Care – Joints

Winter Horse Care - Joints

Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective covering on the ends of the joints, the cartilage, wears down causing the bones to rub together resulting in swelling, stiffness and pain. Joint wear and tear is a natural part of the ageing but elements such as work load, conformation, nutrition, excess weight or hoof imbalances can all speed up the process.

It's at this time of the year with the mud and the cold that joints can really suffer, but there are supplements you can feed to ease your horses joints and make him more comfortable this winter.

Joint supplements either contain ingredients intended to stimulate joint tissue, or that are known for their anti-inflammatory and painkilling properties, some even combine the two .

Ingredients lists can be confusing, so here's a break down of the main ingredients:

Glucosamine -naturally found in joint fluid, plays an important role in building cartilage.

Chondroitin - is important for the structure and shock absorbing properties of cartilage.

Green lipped muscle - contains Chondroitin and Glucosamine alongside other joint boosting ingredients such as omega 3.

Hyaluronic acid - found in cartilage and essential for the viscosity of joint fluid to keep the joints lubricated and working smoothly.

Amino Acids - amino acids are the building blocks for proteins, which make up every tissue in our body. Glucosamine and Chondroitin are chains of amino acids and amino sugars essential for the building of joint tissue.  Some supplements break down these chains and provide just the amino acids, which the body will then use to create Glucosamine and Chondroitin.

MSM - is bio-available sulphur believed to reduce inflammation as it passes through soft tissue. This quality also makes it a good addition to help with the absorption of other nutrients.

Turmeric - a spice, traditionally used in Indian cooking, has been know for its beneficial health benefits for hundreds of years. It contains curcumin which is used for its anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidant properties. Black pepper should be added to Turmeric to activate the curcumin.

Ginger - in the same family as Turmeric and like Turmeric is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Vitamin C - Vitamin C is a powerful anti-oxidant important to protect the joints from free radicals, which can damage cells and trigger inflammation.

Rosehips - anti-inflammatory benefits, plus good levels of vitamin C.

Devils Claw - a plant native to South Africa with roots full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.

Boswellia - native to India the extract of this plant have been used for centuries to treat inflammation, as well as other health conditions.

Bromelain - an enzyme found in pineapple that has anti-inflammatory benefits.

Which you choose will most likely depend on the age and expected work load of the horse. If you have any questions or need any help choosing the right supplement for your horse please pop in.