Oral joint health supplements (OJHSs) “are a group of nutritional supplements that contain one or more non-nutrient, non-drug ingredient,” according to John P. Caron, DVM, MVSc, Dipl. ACVS, a professor in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at Michigan State University.
With scores of OJHSs on the market, it can be difficult for horse owners to decide which one to try. Below you'll find an outline of the seven-step “ACCLAIM” approach to assessing OJHSs — for more details, see “Oral Joint Supplements for Horses” by Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc, published by The Horse.
Below is a list of some common OJHS ingredients and what they may do to benefit horses, with dosage recommendations from the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP). Note that combination products seem to have the best results.
Steinbeck Peninsula Equine Clinics veterinarian, Amanda Hedges, reminds us that “Oral supplements rely on research in horses and other species to make claims for effectiveness. Challenges of oral supplements include lack of FDA-regulated supply, mixed results from evidence-based-research, widespread anecdotal claims, and palatability. Oral supplements may be beneficial in that they can be less expensive than some treatments and are relatively easy to administer. It is important to weigh out the cost vs. possible benefit as compared to other therapies, in the long-term.” For more information, see “Options for Managing Osteoarthritis” by Dr. Amanda Hedges.