Information And Advice About Horse Supplements
Tack stores sell a host of equine products, including tons of diet supplements. But how do you know if these supplements really work or not? Sure, marketing will have you believe that the supplement the company's pushing will fix just about any problem you can think of, but marketers aren't always to be trusted. And because horse supplements are relatively new on the market, it's not easy to tell which ones are effective, which ones are safe and which ones just shouldn't be bothered with.
For the most part, equine supplements are meant to combat arthritis and keep your horse's joints healthy. Many horses experience joint pain at one point in their life. You may want to try out supplements now to ease your horse's discomfort and pain, or you may want to start early to ward off some of those problems in the future.
There are two basic substances contained in supplements - some may contain one substance or the other, while others will include both substances. These substances are chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine. Chondroitin sulfate is found in joint cartilage. Glucosamine can be constructed chemically in several different ways. The most common form of glucosamine that's found in equine products is glucosamine hydrochloride. While chondroitin sulfate has been shown to act as an anti-inflammatory in humans, it's not yet known if it will have the same effect on horses. Plus, other studies have pointed to the possibility that chondroitin sulfate cannot actually have any affect on humans since it's not absorbed into the intestinal tract. Whether you believe that the substance is an anti-inflammatory, and if you choose to believe that it will have the same effect on horses as it does on humans, one thing is just about positive - it won't harm your horse, even if it doesn't help it. However, some have less known substances, such as Devil's Claw.
They come in two main forms - oral supplements and injections. Oral is much more common than injectables. Also, injections are made up of different substances, mainly hyaluronic acid or polysulfated glycosaminoglycans. One main reason why it's so difficult to find information on their effectiveness and safety is because only injectables are technically pharmaceuticals, which means they're the only ones regulated by the FDA. Oral, on the other hand, are considered to be nutraceuticals and are therefore not regulated for the most part.
Injectable have been proven by the FDA and show to be effective, and there haven't been any side effects associated with them. However, these supplements cannot be given if the horse has an infected joint. Oral supplements have been tested and for the most part, it seems that chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine work well together. There is also evidence that points to avocado and soy unsaponifiables, methylsulfonylmethane and cetylated fatty acids working well for a horse's joint health.
Unfortunately, due to the non-regulation that nutraceuticals have, some companies don't print accurate usage information on the labels. Sometimes the supplement contains a smaller amount of a substance than what reads on the label. Other times the recommended dosage is less than what's needed to actually make a difference for the horse. Your best bet is to stick with equine oral supplement companies that have been around for a long time. Check user reviews and speak with other people who care for horses to get the best recommendations. Also, stay on top of new research, since this topic is of high interest to horse owners.
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