Supplement Time Limit?


Just read a blog from early September regarding a suspensory ligament injury, as my mare is going through the same thing. We did stall rest with slowly increasing hand walking, icing, wrapping, anti-inflammatories, & Q 6 wk ultrasounds. I put her on SmartTendon, but now just switched her to SmartFlex Rehab as it contains more of the important joint ingredients. My question is: Is there a time limit recommended for a horse to be on this particular supplement? And what supplement is recommended to follow this one for later to possibly help prevent further issues? Thanks!

– SF, Minnesota

Dear SF,

First of all, thanks for reading the blog! Sorry to hear that your mare suffered a soft tissue injury, but it sounds like you have things under control and are headed in the right direction. I agree with you that SmartFlex Rehab Pellets might be the better supplement choice right now because it not only contains the building blocks of connective tissue (silica and collagen) that SmartTendon does but also additional antioxidants like Ginger, Quercetin, Curcumin, Super Oxide Dismutase, and bioflavonoids; more natural inflammation-fighters like Yucca, Devil’s Claw, Boswellia, Bromelain, Willow Bark, and DHA and EPA from fish oil; and, like you mention, the joint ingredients Glucosamine, Chondroitin sulfate and Hyaluronic Acid. In addition, we made sure there was plenty of protein support so horses on stall rest didn’t lose their muscle mass and topline. That’s why there’s a little more of the amino acid Lysine plus Methionine and Threonine in there. Another amino acid, Glutamine, is used by the body wherever healing is taking place, so it’s a nice addition too, as is the Marshmallow Root to support a healthy environment in the stomach.

So to answer your first question, SmartFlex Rehab can be given as long as needed. That is, there is nothing in the supplement that is only recommended for short-term use so feel free to keep your mare on it three months or six months or however long her suspensory takes to heal.

As far as question number two, that depends on what you do with your mare. My suggestion is to keep her on a supplement with joint and soft tissue support for the rest of her performance career. If you don’t plan to compete in rated shows, she could stay on SmartFlex Rehab and benefit from the wide selection of ingredients it provides. However, if you plan to compete at USEF or other rated shows, then you may want to transition to a supplement that provides support for joints and connective tissue that doesn’t include any forbidden substances like Devil’s Claw. Something like SmartFlex III Resilience might be a good choice. Keep up the good work and stay patient as your mare heals!

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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