Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hope in a Tub?

A few of you asked in the comments section of my last post about the joint supplement I am giving My Boy. As some of you might remember, My Boy was a little off this past year and I had a chiropractor out to do an assessment and work up on him. Last spring, my veterinarian recommended a joint supplement by the name Platinum Performance, specifically the Ortho-Chon line. She stressed that the key three combination of ingredients for an effective joint supplement were glucosamine, MSM, and chondroiton. I felt this was a brand that I could trust because she recommended it, it but it was also a bit pricey and seemed to only be available via the Internet. I discovered this by mistake, as I called a local farmer's Co-Op asking for this Platinum Performance. They said they had it and put a tub on hold for me. However, when I went to pick it up, it was actually Platform joint supplement made by Farnam and they did not carry the other brand. The Platform contained the key ingredients and was affordable, so I went ahead and purchased it, trying it for a few months. I did not notice a strikingly huge difference in my horse's movement. I also knew that there were other supplements out there with higher dosages of these ingredients (of course, the higher the doses, the higher their cost.)
The next supplement I tried was a brand called Horse Guard, located in Oregon. They make a variety of supplemental products. I tried their joint supplement Chondroitin Plus. I liked the quantities of ingredients and I do think I noticed a marked improvement in my horse's comfort and range of motion. However, the 7 lb tub I purchased, which was nearly $80 and I thought was to last for 64 days, ran out after about a month (I think I misinterpreted some signage at the Co-Op on the breakdown of price per dosage.)

The next time I needed joint supplement, they were out of the Chondroitin Plus, so I tried a different one also made by Horse Guard, called Trifecta. This one contains probiotics, a hoof supplement, antioxidants, and all the key joint supplements. It too is a little pricey and I realized at some point that I am only feeding a half dose. I continued on the half dose, realizing that this will make it last longer, but most likely weaken it's effectiveness. Also, I already feed my horse a separate, more thorough supplement (My Boy thinks it is grain, but it is not a grain based supplement.) Therefore, I do not want to over supplement him (although my mother, who also used Trifecta for a while, was told that the vitamins in the Trifecta would not lead to over-dosing with other supplemental grains being fed. Still, I worry.)

I have heard from family members, via personal experience, that both humans (and canines!) with knee and joint problems have found glucosamine to be effective. However, I know that these supplements are not regulated, particularly for equines. I also know that supplements that sell well probably do so because they are found to be effective and show visible benefits. Or, perhaps the owners using them, like myself, are just full of hope?

I want to offer my teen-aged arthritic ex-reining horse the best comfort and range of motion that I can, for a price that fits my horse budget. I would appreciate any feedback that you may have on your experience with joint supplements. Do you think they work? Are there any particular brands or formulations that you have had success with? I will add that joint/hock injections or supplements that require a shot are not an option for my horse, due to his terror of needles. I need something that I can toss into the bucket with his regular daily supplement.


  1. Hey PG! I use Farnam's "Joint Combo" for my 27 yo mare. I wasn't sure if it was working so I stopped using it for a few months this spring.
    WOW. She was getting very stiff in her hocks.
    Put her back on it and within a short while she was back to "normal". (how she had been before I stopped using it)

    A lot of vets say the feed through joint supplements are garbage, that you're just throwing your money away.
    I spoke to my "miracle vet" (I have to haul 5-6 hours if I need to take a horse to him, only go for real big problems!). Read him the ingredients to Joint Combo and he said it sounded good to go ahead and try it.

    Long story short, it seems to work for me (well, my mare) and is not too hard on the wallet.

  2. HI again...please be the first to "Follow" my Blog!
    I think you are on the right path here...maybe look into "Springtimes" Suppliments. I love that company, and have used the joint product with huge improovment.

    Ride on!

  3. PG - My vet just recommended Platinum Performance. I'm going to try it and I'll let you know how it works out. I've used Equinyl which has something in it to soothe the horse's stomach - Watch out because all glucosimine and chondrotin is not created equal and some can be really hard on the digestive system. Silk did really well on the Equinyl.

  4. Upon my vet's recommendation, I started using Cetyl M for Hank's arthritis 2-1/2 years ago, and he's been on it ever since. Before Cetyl M, when he slept laying down, he did so with his right leg always stretched out - it was uncomfortable for him to keep his knee bent. And he also often limped at the trot. After about 8 weeks of Cetyl M, those problems disappeared. However, in the last few months, it's obvious his knee is bothering him again. We have a vet appointment in a few weeks and I'll be checking into injections.

  5. Victoria~ good point about the stomach issue. I have heard that joint supplements can cause gasey issues, which My Boy had a lot of previously, but I thought mostly due to the rich alfalfa hay he was on. That, combined with the supplement, was probably awful for him! We tried probiotics which did not seem to help. He is now on an orchard grass and it's considerably better!

  6. I have always liked Cosequin. We used it on our reiners and older pleasure horses at school. Since then I haven't had to use it.

    I have also used a liquid called Sound. It's really good and it's about 16-20 dollars a container. I used it for my TB mare when my kids rodeo on her.

    I have also used Corta Flx. That is a good one too. Here is a web page that kinda breaks things down for you. Plus it's smart pack which is easy feeding!!

    I have always looked at the amount of MSM. The more the better, I think.

  7. I started using Fluid Flex for my 21 yr old Appy mare and noticed a difference within a month. She actually "covorts" now when I turn her out in the yard, running and kicking like a youngster. It costs me $26.00 per month and has glucosamine and condroitin (sic) but no MSM. I had been using just MSM before and it wasn't enough.

  8. I am shopping for a new product at this point because I used Recovery EQ last winter and was not sold on the results. Look forward to hearing more about your readers experiences with different products!

  9. Supplements and feeds are tough - lots of different opinions and no real sound research material out there.

    I don't have any suggestions, but hope you can find something that works for your boy and your wallet...

  10. I use Flex_a_min. If I can take it, my horse can too. $20 or so at WalMart.

    It has Glucosamine, MSM, Chrondrotion, and Hylaronic Acid.

    I know when I dont take it for a day or two, I can barely move with out pain. The horses we have used it on do fantastic with it too.

  11. With so many supplements on the market, it is hard to decide what's best. You're right about no FDA regulations for nutraceuticals; so what it says on the label may not be what you're getting. The only two joint supplements that guarantee their ingredients and their data/research can be obtained if requested are Cosequin and DVM Pharmaceutical's Synovi G3. However, many veterinarians and owners swear by Platinum Performance. They are quickly gaining a very reputable relationship in the supplement market for equine and humans. They can be purchased for discount prices thru your vet if you have a good doctor/patient relationship. That could save you some money - just ask your vet. Another point to bear in mind is that what works well for one, may not work as well for the next horse. Just like in us people, I prefer Advil, while my husband prefers Tylenol. Try a few brands and stick with what works for your horse. On the vitamin/mineral choices, I highly recommend Horse Guard - I don't think there's anything better (not to be confused with the joint supplements though)on the market, and for the price, you can't go wrong. Also, overdosing is generally not a major concern with most vitamins as they are water soluable and your horse will discard excess thru the urine, however this does place extra wear and tear on the kidneys and liver, which is unnecessary. Except, vitamin E, which is fat soluable and is stored and can be overdosed. Selenium is a mineral that can prove to be toxic if over-supplemented. So, generally not a very good idea to overuse the supplements. Find one good vitamin/mineral supplement and one good joint supplement and stick with them. There's an awful lot of companies producing useless products out there just hoping to get rich off us consumers - so buyer beware! I think My Boy is looking fantastic.

  12. Howdy Mrs. Mom~ if it is for human consumption, what dosage and how do you feed it to your horses? Thanks!

  13. PG_ We used Grand Flex on our old girl and she did quite well on it. It also has a human equivalent.For a while we used Corta-flex and that worked too, and was a little more affordable. I have heard good things about the Platinum line- lots of good press here in Ca too. Is it worth the money? I haven't had to use it since our old girl passed to the big pasture in the sky but I would try it if I needed a supplement.

  14. I tried a joint supplement years ago that several people swore by. I can't remember what it was called but it wasn't any of the ones mentioned here so far. It was inexpensive compared to a lot of the other supplements. It didn't seem to work.

    I've heard a lot of really great things about Recovery EQ.

    I very much like the supplements made by Equerry's. They have a new one that has everything they need plus the joint stuff, called "glucosamine pellet." They're very nice people and seem to honestly care that their product does good for horses. If they don't have a distributor near you they'll mail it to you.

    That said, I feed Horse Guard because I love it and my feed store carries it. I would probably feed the Equerry's if it were available locally though.

  15. Andrea~ I checked the Equerry's site and I read something that was interesting, I will quote it here: "When a horse's arthritis creates pain or the horse is under stress quite often appetite and digestive disorders occur. Equerry's Glucosamine formula is fortified with a high impact microbial and enzyme blend to help maintain healthy appetites and proper digestion through stressful periods."
    I hadn't even thought of the possibility that the pain of arthritis could cause other stress and health issues for a horse.

  16. Oh hell yes--pain can cause all kinds of crazy gut reactions--I have been dealing with an old cutter for 7 years and been through the ups and downs of his pain cycles, his weight issues, his everything issues all that time---I have learned that the number one sign he needs some help is loss of weight.

    Every horse is different of course, but to keep him comfy enough to work him- which he WANTED to do- I had to put him on Adequan. Yes, it cost, by by God it worked. When I decided he needed to be done short of toting small children for their first rides, which makes him deliriously happy, I quit the Adequan and he started to fall apart. Now we do what we can short of hundreds of bucks a month to keep him there and his is mildly stiff most of the time---when he says it is too much, we will be done.

    None of which has anything to do with what you are talking about, I just got to rambling there.

    I do have a Great Dane whose hips are going and I need to start her on a glucosamine, Chondroitin supplement and I know horse stuff will be cheapest--any suggestions, team?

  17. My horses are on LMF Super Supplement which is just a vitamin/mineral supplement. I do not feed my horses a joint supplement.
    Although, this year I found out after my Paint Fritzy had a hoof abcess that she has really thin, weak soles so my vet recommended that I put her on Nu Foot, a hoof supplement. (Do not get this confused with Nu Hoof, totally different and from what my vet says Nu Hoof is not good). Fritzy has only been on this hoof supplement for maybe 2 months.
    I have taken glucosamine/chondroiten for my bad knees. I really could not tell if it helped. I did quit taking it after I had knee surgery but have recently had some problems with that same knee again. I might go buy some to see if that helps at all.

  18. Andrea, Equerry's is another one that my vet recommended for PG's boy. (PG, you might not remember this)
    Something to check into a little more Sis! I thought she said you could get it up north. Remind me to tell you where I think she said you could get it.

  19. Hi, Love your blog! Photos are awesome. Just want to say that you're right equine supplements are not regulated and there is no scientific research that validates whether they help or not, but experience shows they do in most cases. I've used many of Farnams products for years and I really notice changes when I stop using the Vita plus, which is basically all the supplement my horses get.
    Great job trying new things and reporting on them. That willingness to try stuff helps others:0)

  20. I really like the HorseTech line of supplements. They are horse people and their supplements all come with lots of ground flaxseed for omega-3's and digestive benefits.

    For my older OTTB I use their Reitsport, highest doses of MSM, glucosamine, chondroitin I have found.

    Johnny gets Glanzen-3 for "hoof, coat, and attitude", of which attitude he has plenty!

    Check them out at Their site has lots of information and is fun to peruse. They ship super-fast and no charge for shipping, and they put chocolate chip cookies in each shipment!!

    My problem with all supplements is not going to the barn daily, so they don't get it every day but only 3-4 days. However I still notice, or seem to notice, a benefit.

  21. I don't have any advice on which supplements to use for horses, but I can tell you that I have hip dysplasia in both of my hips.

    It has gotten so bad in the past that I could not even lift a leg to take a step forward. Excruciating!

    For about 10 years I took what out vet prescribed for our German Shepherd dog's hip dysplasia: Fish Oil.

    I started off taking 1 gel tab a day, and then it worked up to 4 ge tabs a day. I could barely tolerate those large gel tabs and the fishy burps. gah!

    About 6 months ago I finally discovered glucosamine/chondroiten and have been taking 2 tablets a day.
    What a huge wonderful difference this stuff has meant to my mobility and comfort.

    I will admit that it took almost 2 weeks for the benefits to kick in, and if I miss more than 3 days, the pain and stiffness comes back in full force.

    Makes me wonder if the glucosamine/chondroiten take even longer to take effect in a horse's more complex digestive system?
    I'd think it would take at least 3-4 weeks for the horse (and human) to notice any of the effects of the glucosamine/chondroiten.

    And maybe even longer for the full effects.

    And I can personally vouch for pain affecting other parts of a human's life (and animal, too). Pain brings on nausea, headaches, in ability to eat, and grouchiness.

    Best wishes finding the best supplement for your handsome boy. :)

    Laughing Orca Ranch
    New Mexico

  22. Well it's not cheap but the woman who massages the horses at my barn thinks Lubrisyn is the best. It's made of the same fluid that surrounds joints I believe. There's a 21 year old horse at the barn who was quite sore - his owner tried it on him and was really impressed. I've been put off by the price - I think I will try some of the less expensive products listed here first.

  23. Hi, Pony Girl, thank you for stopping by my blog, too! Also, thank you for posting about joint supplements. There are just so many that it completely befuddles me. :P Thank you to everyone for their suggestions here!

  24. Ooooohh...this post came at a great time, because I am wanting to start Bo on something. I was going to google it, but now I have a bunch of names that I can start my research with.
    Thanks to all of you! :)

  25. I think I gave my mare, aged 18 at the time, Joint Flex.(correct name?) I used whatever I could find with the three key ingredients and it helped her a lot. She got a full dose every day. I still rode her lightly, about twice a week, mostly weekends, and didn't do much galloping and she was pretty darn good. My vet gave me some Bute to give her in her feed on riding days, but I didn't seem to need it. She has arthritis in the back end and would, pre-supplement, come home after a ride and just lie down soon after, in pain. It's hard to keep the old injured ones going but this helped and I would add the bute if needed. I gave her away before I moved to AK a few years back and know she still gets the supplements and some light trail riding now and then. She's almost 24....she's a real charger so it's sometimes hard to remember to go easy on her.....

  26. Everyone~ this has been great advice and insight on joint supplements! Thank you for all of the recommendations, I have some new leads to check out. It has been extremely helpful to me, and other readers, as well. If you haven't already, please add your input. Thanks!

  27. Pony Girl, I am late to this party, but in need of advice for my arthritic old man my self. Let us know what you settle on!

  28. Funny about this topic. It is a great one... but at work yesterday one of my coworkers asked if anyone had their horse linament. 3 of us piped up that we didn't have any on us. And one of them was not a horse owner.. LOL

    I will keep watch to see what you end up liking the most.


I love hearing from my readers!! I truly enjoy all of your feedback, advice, helpful tips, and stories. You all make me laugh and I learn so much from you, too. I will try to post replies to your comments as often as I can.

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