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Extension > Horse Extension - Research Updates > Oral Glucosamine Supplementation in Young Horses

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Oral Glucosamine Supplementation in Young Horses

There is potential for dietary glucosamine HCl supplementation to have a positive effect on joint inflammation and cartilage turnover in young growing horses.

A recent study conducted at Texas A&M University investigated the effects of oral glucosamine supplementation in young horses. The purpose of the study was to determine whether glucosamine HCl could influence joint inflammation and cartilage metabolism after an inflammatory insult.

In this 98-day experiment, fourteen yearling Quarter horses were housed individually and fed 1% body weight (BW) of grass hay and 1% BW of concentrate per day. Half of the horses also received 30mg/kg BW of glucosamine HCl top-dressed over their concentrate rations.

After 84 days, all horses received carpal joint injections with a solution containing lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from E. coli to elicit inflammation. Each horse also received an injection of equal volume of sterile lactated ringers solution (LRS) into the opposite carpal joint to account for inflammation generated in response to the injection itself. Synovial fluid was collected for analysis from each joint pre-injection and at 6, 12, 24, 168, and 336 hours post-injection.

LPS injections increased levels of the inflammatory mediator prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and proteins involved in collagen metabolism in the synovial fluid of all horses involved in the study. However, horses receiving the glucosamine supplement showed significantly reduced PGE2 and less evidence of collagen breakdown as well as increased signs of collagen growth when compared to those that did not receive the supplement. These results suggest that there is potential for dietary glucosamine HCl supplementation to have a positive effect on joint inflammation and cartilage turnover in young growing horses.

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