Scientific and Equine Consultant

The effect of an oral joint supplement on orthopaedic evaluation scores and limb kinematics

The effect of an oral joint supplement on orthopaedic evaluation scores and limb kinematics

Rachel Murray*, Vicki Adams~, Vicki Walker*, Carolyne Tranquille*, Rebecca Frost^.

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

Introduction: A wide range of oral joint supplements are available, but there is limited research into their efficacy. Aim: To determine the effect of an oral joint supplement on orthopaedic evaluation scores and limb kinematics.

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). Clinical orthopaedic evaluation for straight line and lunging circle (walk and trot), and during ridden exercise (walk, trot and canter) was performed. High speed motion capture (240Hz) was used to determine limb kinematics for straight line trotting. Midstance tarsal flexion, carpal extension and fetlock extension were determined.  All evaluators were blinded to treatment.

Results: S was associated with significantly lower lameness grade in a straight line (p<0.001) and circle (p<0.010) than either P or baseline. For horses with grade 1-2/5 lameness on initial assessment, supplement S was associated with significantly greater tarsal flexion than baseline (p<0.020) or P (p<0.037).

Conclusion: Oral administration of supplement S was associated with less lameness than P or baseline. Increased midstance tarsal flexion of lame limbs may indicate improved mobility or comfort during peak loading.

Acknowledgements: World Horse Welfare.

aFlexAbilityTM, (Freedom FlexTM), Science Supplements.

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:

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

Click here to view a PDF of the original article: Flex iceep abstract 2014

Date: February 04, 2015