After your horse has been diagnosed with arthritis, the first line of defense is usually a two-part injection of hyaluronic acid and a corticosteroid.
Hyaluronic acid is naturally produced by the joint fluid, which produces an anti-inflammatory effect. When this is injected into a horse's joint and prevent arthritis in horses, it tends to strengthen the joint and also prompts the body to begin producing more hyaluronic acid.
Given in combination with hyaluronic acid is a corticosteroid, which also produces anti-inflammatory effects. However, the benefit of the corticosteroid is that it has the ability to halt to the deterioration of the joint relatively quickly, essentially providing a tremendous amount of pain relief.
Depending on the severity of arthritis and lameness, this type of injection is usually given once every six to 12 months.
Medications and Supplements
If your horse has arthritis, it goes without saying that you will most likely be medicating him and providing supplementation for the remainder of his life. The most commonly prescribed is an NSAID (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug).
This type of medication is not as strong as a true steroid, but it can provide a tolerable amount of pain relief and inflammation. Feeding supplements to your horse can sometimes be difficult because of the vast selection available to you.
For a horse with arthritis, you should be specifically looking for a supplement that includes glucosamine and chondroitin, which are also compositions normally created by the body. A supplement with these two ingredients can aid in the repair of damaged cartilage and in the return of elasticity to the cartilage.