Further research supports the use of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine in the management of joint disease in horses.
Chondroitin sulfate plays an important role in skeletal formation and is essential for proper functioning of joints. Glucosamine also contributes to maintaining flexibility and shock absorption and reduces inflammation. Research suggests the combination of chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine may help to reduce the progression of osteoarthritis however studies have shown mixed results.
A recent study (Yamada et al., 2022) investigated the effectiveness of an oral compound based on glucosamine and chondroitin for horses with experimentally induced osteoarthritis. Chondral lesions (metacarpophalangeal joint) were induced in 16 horses divided into two groups (control and treatment who received the oral compound). Measurements were taken out to 120 days.
On physical examination the treated group had lower lameness scores. The ability to flex the joint of the treated group was also better preserved (although not significantly different between groups). The treated group also showed lower scores on ultrasound examination.
There were however no significant differences between groups for radiographic evaluations or macroscopic arthroscopic scores.
In this experimental model where chondral damage was significant, supplementation of glucosamine and chondroitin did not completely prevent deterioration or induce cartilage repair. However, this model may not be representative of clinical osteoarthritis and many parameters such as lameness scores were improved with treatment.
The combination of glucosamine and chondroitin appeared to alleviate pain, improve joint mobility and improve ultrasound scores demonstrating the anti-inflammatory potential and chondroprotective effect of these two actives combined.