Choosing the Right Joint Supplement for Your Senior Horse

    senior horse
    I’m trying to find a joint supplement for a senior horse. Most have similar ingredients but it seems you have to choose whether you want something with collagen, cetylated fatty acids, or hyaluronic acid. Which of these is most beneficial?

    – Katie


    Dear Katie,

    Choosing a joint supplement for a senior horse can be challenging. You can make the task easier by asking yourself these questions:

    1. Is my horse retired, being lightly ridden, or still actively competing in rated shows?

    SmartFlex® Senior
    Herb-Free Pellets

    As Low As: $39.95

    (195 reviews)
    If you are still showing him, you may want to avoid joint supplements that contain forbidden substances such as devil’s claw. However, if he is still being ridden but not shown, or simply standing around enjoying his retirement, many herbs have anti-inflammatory and other properties that may ease stiffness and discomfort. Cetylated fatty acids are also known for their ability to fight inflammation and discomfort so they would be a good choice for any category of older horse.

    2. Does my senior horse have any stiffness or comfort issues?

    SmartFlex® Senior Pellets
    As Low As: $35.95

    (835 reviews)

    If the answer is no and you just want to put him on a joint supplement as insurance, you can probably get by with lower levels of the basics: glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and MSM. However if he is consistently stiff or sore, he may do better on higher doses of these three ingredients plus hyaluronic acid, which has been shown to be a powerful anti-inflammatory agent in hot, painful, swollen joints. An older horse with a history of soft tissue problems in his past (such as a bowed tendon or pulled suspensory) may also need the added support of collagen and silica.

    Lydia F. Gray, DVM MA, currently serves as the Medical Director/Staff Veterinarian for SmartPak Equine. Prior to joining SmartPak, Dr. Gray served as the first-ever Director of Owner Education for the American Association of Equine Practitioners. She has authored numerous articles in publications such as The Horse, Horse Illustrated, Western Horseman and a variety of veterinary journals and magazines. Dr. Gray is also a frequent speaker at horse expos, veterinary conventions and other locations. After graduating with honors from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and receiving her Master's Degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication, she practiced at the Tremont Veterinary Clinic for several years. Dr Gray is active in the American Veterinary Medical Association and Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association and enjoys training and showing her trakehner Newman in her spare time.  Find Dr. Gray on Google+

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