Feeding Integrity

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I do not add glucosamine or chondroitin sulfate to Integrity formulas. Any over-the-counter (OTC) medication needs to be administered by body weight of the animal. Feeds that contain medication thus would have different levels of the ingredients relative to how much is being fed.

For example, a horse fed 1 lb./day of a commercial formula would receive ¼ the glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate of a horse that is fed at 4 lb./day. In fact, relative to glucosamine & chondroitin products for humans there are two reports that found approximately 70% of these commercial products did not contain the levels of the active ingredients as listed on the packaging. If the human industry has difficulty in guarantees with active ingredient levels, then one must also consider that the animal industry has even less oversight.

There is also the question of effectiveness. Even in the humans the studies are mixed, with most reviews and studies NOT supporting the claims for these types of products. The injectable forms have demonstrated success, but the oral forms are only supported by anecdotal story lines.

If you do decide to use one of the OTC products, you would be better served to top dress the ingredients and feed relative to body weight.

I understand the popularity of these OTC products for treating/preventing arthritis, joint issues, etc. including omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine & chondroitin, copper, manganese & zinc, vitamin E, and herbs; nevertheless, there is no clear science base evidence that these products have any benefit and the professed stated or written evidence most often referenced are testimonial and antidotal.

There are injectables with hyaluronic acid that can provide some benefit. You will need to visit with your veterinarian regarding whether this type of product would benefit your horse. Of course, there are NASIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) that have also been proven effective, but you will need to discuss those options with a veterinarian as well. NASIDS administered daily as a prophylactic is not recommended.

I do believe that conditioning can delay the consequences of the disease. Horses that are over-weight, out-of-shape, will place more strain on the limbs; a body condition score of 5 (BCS 5) needs to be accomplished. Exercise is critical, must be consistent and should be linear. Of course, an accomplished rider who has a true balanced-seat will minimize the weight bearing effects on an exercising horse. Also, the horse’s hooves are critical for balance and should be managed every 6-weeks. I discourage shoes for arthritic horses since shoes restrict the natural mechanism of the hoof with blood/fluid circulation in the lower extremities.

Depends on the amount fed and if your horse is an aggressive “eater”. No harm in adding water to moisten the food but soaking is not necessary unless there are gum/hind teeth issues, or the horse is unable to adequately chew.

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