The use of nutraceuticals for osteoarthritis in horses

Vet Clin North Am Equine Pract. 2005 Dec;21(3):575-97, v-vi. doi: 10.1016/j.cveq.2005.08.004.


In horses, lameness is often attributable to some degree of osteoarthritis (OA), a complex disease process that is highlighted by eventual degradation of articular cartilage. Conventional therapies for OA in horses are designed to relieve pain and discomfort and often include pharmacologic intervention with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or intra-articular steroids. Oral administration of nutraceutical products to the horse is common and easy and is perceived to be a benign treatment for OA in horses. The main goal for use of nutraceuticals is to use them in OA cases to attempt to lower the dose of other drugs that are more problematic while potentially preventing further degradation (disease or structure modifying). This article attempts to define a nutraceutical, identifies areas that need to be considered when these products are used, and describes the known scientific effects of the most common compounds contained in currently available equine nutraceuticals.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cartilage, Articular / physiopathology*
  • Chondroitin Sulfates / therapeutic use
  • Complementary Therapies / methods
  • Complementary Therapies / veterinary*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Glucosamine / therapeutic use
  • Horse Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Horse Diseases / pathology
  • Horses
  • Lameness, Animal / drug therapy*
  • Lameness, Animal / pathology
  • Osteoarthritis / drug therapy
  • Osteoarthritis / pathology
  • Osteoarthritis / veterinary*
  • Phytotherapy / methods
  • Phytotherapy / veterinary
  • Safety
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Chondroitin Sulfates
  • Glucosamine