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Hyaluronic Acid: Relieves Equine Arthritis

Hyaluronic Acid in Equine Applications

Like people, it is almost inevitable that horses will develop and suffer from arthritis as they age. How does equine arthritis develop? What are the symptoms of a horse with arthritis? How is equine arthritis treated? What is the role of hyaluronic acid in treating equine arthritis? This article will help you research these questions.

Horses Can Develop Arthritis Too

Arthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes symptoms such as stiffness, inflammation, and pain. Just like humans, horses can also develop and suffer from arthritis. As horses age, arthritis is almost inevitable, but early diagnosis and careful care can slow its progression and minimize pain.

–Introduction to Equine Arthritis

There are over 100 types of arthritis. The most common forms are osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease) and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis typically occurs with age, involving the breakdown and loss of cushioning cartilage within the joints.

With this breakdown, lubricating joint fluid is also lost, and the entire joint loses its ability to cushion impacts and provide smooth surfaces during movement. This leads to joint pain and lameness in horses.

–Symptoms and Consequences

1. Symptoms:

  • In the early stages of inflammation, there may be mild stiffness.
  • As inflammation progresses, horses may experience joint pain, and the joints may even become warm to the touch due to inflammation.
  • In the late stages of inflammation, horses may experience more pain, lameness, and even develop bony growths.

2. Consequences:

The joint diseases in the horse can affect any weight-bearing joints in the horse’s body, including the knees, shoulders, spine, fetlocks, and hocks. These are all weight-bearing joints. Fetlocks, knees, coffin bone (inside the hoof), and navicular bone are most commonly affected.

For horses, suffering from arthritis is painful and significantly inhibits movement. If your horse shows any discomfort or you suspect your horse has arthritis, take them to a veterinarian immediately.

–Causes of Equine Arthritis

Horse arthritis is caused by cartilage wear and tear. Thus, as horses age, the likelihood of developing arthritis increases. However, it’s worth noting that specific activities also make horses more prone to arthritis.

Cartilage is tough, flexible tissue that provides a sliding, shock-absorbing surface where bones meet in joints. Over time, compression and pressure wear down the protective cartilage. Arthritis most commonly occurs in weight-bearing joints of the legs. Any extra pressure or injury to joints can lead to arthritis.

Additionally, certain activities make horses more susceptible to arthritis in specific joints. For instance, horses used for competitive training or other high-intensity activities are at increased risk if they don’t receive sufficient rest time. In fact, horses used for racing, dressage, show jumping, and other high-intensity sports are particularly prone to arthritis in these areas.

Treatment of Equine Arthritis

Once cartilage in the joint is eroded, it’s difficult to repair in most cases. Fortunately, there are some treatment options to help alleviate pain in horses with arthritis.

–Lubricating Joint Fluid Supplement

Synovial fluid injections are a common means of relieving arthritis. These injections primarily work to reduce friction between cartilage tissues and alleviate the impact of motion on joint cushioning.

Hyaluronic acid is the main component of joint lubricants. Horses naturally produce this substance, which acts as a lubricant and is widely distributed in connective, epithelial, and neural tissues. However, when horses suffer from arthritis, it indicates that the hyaluronic acid in the horse’s joints is insufficient for joint health. External injections are needed to alleviate cartilage wear and tear.

Stanford Chemicals Company (SCC) is at the forefront of developing hyaluronic acid. Providing medical-grade, food-grade, cosmetic-grade, and injection-grade hyaluronic acid. For more information on these hyaluronic acids or specific applications, please feel free to contact us to view our homepage.

–Gentle Exercise

Gentle exercise is essential for horses with arthritis. Gentle exercise serves two purposes: providing the horse with the rest time it needs and preventing joint stiffness through adequate activity.

For working horses, owners can reduce their workload. For example, jumping, traveling on rugged terrain, or other activities that may put excessive pressure on joints.

For competitive horses, owners can lead them to large arenas on rest days to allow them to relax appropriately and alleviate fatigue.

For horses showing lameness symptoms, owners need to reduce or avoid riding the affected horse.


Equine arthritis, to some extent, is difficult to avoid for horses, especially older ones. Consequently, it brings a lot of pain to horses and jeopardizes their health. Horse owners should be aware of the symptoms of equine arthritis and seek medical attention immediately upon its discovery. Supplementing horses with hyaluronic acid and other lubricants, reducing the intensity of horse exercise, can alleviate joint pain in horses.

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