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To determine the effect of an oral joint supplement on orthopaedic, physiotherapy and handler evaluation scores in horses

To determine the effect of an oral joint supplement on orthopaedic, physiotherapy and handler evaluation scores in horses

Rachel Murray*, Vicki Adams~, Vicki Walker*, Carolyne Tranquille*, Chrissy Copeman#, Jo Spear*, Rebecca Frost^, David Marlin^.

*Animal Health Trust, Newmarket; #World Horse Welfare, Snetterton; ^Science Supplements, Bury St Edmunds. ~Veterinary Epidemiology Consulting, Bury St Edmunds.

 

Despite the range of oral joint supplements available, there has been very limited research into their efficacy.

Aim: To determine effect of an oral joint supplement on orthopaedic, physiotherapy and handler evaluation in horses.

Methods: 24 mature horses were included in the study. Horses were excluded if they were in poor body condition, had health problems or greater than 2/5 lameness.  Supplement Sa (containing chondroitin sulphate 1.62g/100kg, glucosamine 1.9g/100kg, vitamin C 0.8g/100kg, methyl sulphonyl methane  2.56g/100kg, DHA 0.66g/100kg), EPA 0.34g/100kg or placebo P (carrier/flavours only) were given to horses in their feed for 21 days each in a triple-blind crossover design; all horses received supplement and placebo in random order.  Horses were evaluated at day 0 (baseline), 21 (after first treatment) and 42 (after second treatment). Assessments included: Clinical orthopaedic evaluation for straight line and lunging circle (walk and trot), and during ridden exercise (walk, trot and canter);  Handler field evaluation, during groundwork and while ridden, grading specific criteria; Grading of range of motion (ROM) and muscle tone based on standardised physiotherapy criteria. All evaluators were blinded to treatment. Significance indicates P <0.05.

Results: S was associated with significantly lower lameness grade in a straight line and circle than either P or baseline. Both S and P were associated with significantly improved ROM and muscle tone over baseline.  Handler scores for ridden and groundwork were significantly higher with S compared to P or baseline.  After S, horses were graded significantly higher for field ‘ease-of-movement’ compared with P or baseline.

Conclusions and Practical Significance: Oral administration of this supplement was associated with less lameness, improved ridden/groundwork scores and improved ‘ease-of-movement’ in the field.  Improvement in physiotherapy assessment with both treatments over time suggests effects of ongoing training on ROM and muscle tone. Acknowledgements: World Horse Welfare.

aFlexAbilityTM, (Freedom FlexTM), Science Supplements.

 

Presenting author contact details: Rachel Murray, Institution: Animal Health Trust, Lanwades Park, Kentford, Newmarket, CB8 7UU; Tel: 01638 751908; Fax: 01638 555393; Email: rachel.murray@aht.org.uk

 

This study:

(i) Follows international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for humane animal treatment and complies with relevant legislation in the UK.

(ii) Used high standard (best practice) of veterinary care and involved informed consent of the persons responsible for horses used in the study.

 

Notes on competing interests:

David Marlin and Rebecca Frost are employed by Science Supplements. Vicki Adams and Rachel Murray are involved with Science Supplements on a consultancy basis.

 

Click here to download a PDF of the original article: Flex-Beva-2013

Date: February 04, 2015