Wednesday, March 12, 2014

IR Horses And Glucosamine

I've posed this question on a couple of debate/question and answer threads and haven't gotten a response, so I thought I pose it here as well...

The reason Frosty blew up with me when he tried to power out of the 1st barrel is because his hocks are sore. I noticed it not long after while watching him gallop around the yard and I have been hesitant to run him since then. It's not fair to him.

As an insulin resistant horse, Frosty is sensitive to feed through glucosamine. A little doesn't bother him, but enough to actually do his joints any good affects him.

I was initially thinking that I would just take him back to my vet and have his hocks injected, but I have about $300 worth of chondroprotec (Adequan substitute) here that I 'could' start giving him in lu of injections, to see if it would help. In fact, intramuscular glucosamine is supposed to be more affective for the spine and hips than feed through glucosamine and that would also benefit Frosty.

My vet was a bit non-commital about whether the im shots would/could affect Frosty the same way the feed through glucosamine does and simply said that 'studies show' that im glucosamine is not as apt to affect IR horses as feed throughs are.

I was just wondering if anyone has had any experience with giving an IR horse intramuscular glucosamine?


The Dancing Donkey said...

Generally speaking, if an IR horse responds badly to glucosamine, it is often an indication that the IR is not well controlled. I have no experience in giving it IM to an IR horse, but it seems to me that glcosamine could cause problems for an IR horse regardless of how it is administered. I would certainly check to see how well his IR is controlled before trying it.

The other thing to consider is that hoof pain could cause the hock pain. In an IR horse, that would be the first thing I would check. I have found that most joint/muscle pain in IR horses stems from chronic, low grade pain in the feet.

I have had a fair amount of success treating joint pain using Turmeric. It is an effective anti-inflammatory when given in the proper dose. It will not treat severe pain, but works extremely well on low-grade arthritis pain. Two teaspoons/day would be the right dose for an average sized horse. It should be treated as any other NSAID and not combined with other drugs. At that dose, it will not cause GI upset, but it can if given at higher doses. It is very cheap and an easy thing to try and is safe for IR horses.

You may already be aware of this, but there is a Yahoo group run by Dr. Kellon as an IR/cushings database. There is a wealth of info there that is very hard to find elsewhere. I am not generally a fan of forums, but this one is more of a resource strictly for IR/cushings data and support and not really a discussion group:

Here is a post written by Dr. Kellon a few years ago. It is a bit dated now, but I don't think any of the research has changed since it was written:

Posted by: "Eleanor Kellon, VMD"
Tue May 8, 2007 5:19 am (PST)
As far as we know, Adequan (or Legend, injectable hyaluronic acid) is
fine. No studies, but no reason to suspect it would be a problem either.

Adequan is PSGAG - polysulfated glycosaminoglycans. Glycosaminoglycans
are complex amino sugars. In joints the two most important are
chondroitin sulfate and hyaluronic acid. Chondroitin is synthesized
from glucuronic acid and HA from N-acetylglucoamine (which is itself
produced from glucosamine). Adequan is glycosaminoglycans that have had
extra sulfur molecules attached to them. They interact with destructive
enzymes in a way that inhibits the enzymes.

The only problem with oral glucosamine that has been identified in
human studies is that people with type 2 diabetes or glucose
intolerance that take it may have an elevated blood sugar as a result,
but people with type 2 diabetes overproduce glucose in their liver.
There's no evidence to date that horses do this.

Oral glucosamine does **not** directly cause elevated blood sugar, does
**not** cause elevated insulin and does **not** worsen or cause insulin
resistance in people. What it does do is make the cells think they
are "full" of glucose already because glucosamine is a byproduct of
glucose metabolism.

Horses that are so poorly controlled that they actually have elevated
blood sugar (which makes them diabetic by definition) should avoid
glucosamine. Otherwise, if the horse really needs it and it doesn't
elevated glucose or insulin it's OK to use.

The work done in people and lab animals doesn't justify completely
avoiding oral glucosamine but caution is indicated because we have had
members report definite worsening in foot pain when they tried
glucosamine. Horses have never been studied in regard to insulin and
glucose responses to glucosamine. We just don't know if horses are
different, or if the horses that reacted badly were poorly controlled
enough to explain it by what's seen in people, or even if the products
those members were using might have been contaminated with straight
sugar, or in a sugar base.


Good luck.

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

Thank you for your input DD. That's about the extent of what I've come up with in regards to the im Adequan, however I would like to expound a little on the difference between IM and feed through glucosamine. My horse is sensitive to the feed-through in adequate quantities to provide support. The vet told me that did not mean that he would be automatically prone to being sensitive to it through im because it does not pass through the digestive system. But each horse is different.

I'll expound a little, not because your suggestions aren't helpful, but because we are already over these humps...

The downside to Frosty is that he never tested as an IR horse, despite having text-book symptoms, except for the cresty neck. So the only way I have to tell if he is under control or not is by the way he feels/moves, gains/loses weight. I'd say right now, he's as good as he was when he was a youngster. Not a single symptom or problem with him.

I can tell you with surety that his feet are not the problem. Been there, done that already. He has the classic, flat foot and thin sole of an IR horse and I gave up 'barefoot' a couple of years ago. Last summer we added rim pads to his front shoes to further lift his soles off of the ground and he is moving exceptionally well and this year his feet took off growing like they never have before, so any residual nutrient absorption problems he might have had are gone.

Frosty's sore hocks are in fact, nothing more than 'normal' performance horse stuff. He is being seasoned as a barrel horse, so he is using himself harder than he ever has and he is a 12y/o, which means his hocks are probably drying out and getting ready to start fusing. The one thing I have noticed about IR sensitive horses is that they are more apt to show pain than the normal horse.

He's on about as many natural anti-inflammatories as I can stuff into him. I am familiar with turmeric, but have not used it solo. It is one of the ingredients in the EasyWillow pain reliever product I use though. He's also on Diatomaceous Earth, Apple Cider Vinegar, ground flax and MSM. I was thinking about adding oregano to his diet as well, although at this point, I don't really think he needs additional insulin support. The extra salt and magnesium I feed him seems to be all the insulin support he needs.

kestrel said...

I've had good luck with chaste tree berry with horses like that. Buy whole and feed 2 rounded tablespoons a day, ground in a coffee grinder. Some research says that it stabilizes hormone production.

Cut-N-Jump said...

I've got nuthin' but thanks for posting this. It is always good to learn things, even if they don't apply to my horse(s).

I'm sure you will let us know what, if anything, you find out. Surely someone has got to know, has done the research or maybe it will spark an interest somewhere to make it happen.