Your choice of a starting point for a joint supplement depends on the horse's symptoms. Glucosamine alone, or in combination with chondroitin, is most consistent in reducing pain/lameness but with variable results on joint swelling and active inflammation. Expect to start seeing results within one to three weeks with the optimal dosages listed in our product chart.
For active horses with acutely swollen and hot joints, or chronic cases experiencing a flare-up, effective levels of MSM, devil's claw or hyaluronic acid will bring them under control quicker. Horses who already have advanced joint damage are most likely to benefit from products that include these and other herbal or nutraceutical supports, which will be discussed in part 2 of this series.
We chose horses from all age groups and activity levels, with acute and chronic problems. Horses with obviously unstable joints or those otherwise known not to be good candidates were not included. Horses had either never received a joint supplement, or had not received one for six months or longer beforehand. Read our results as well as our ratings in order to choose the product you think might best fit your horse's situation.
Note, too, that we found the manufacturer's suggested initial and maintenance doses aren't necessarily the most effective. If this is the case with a product you're considering, remember that your daily costs would be higher than maintenance listings, so you may not really save money.
A number of products in this trial performed very well, as you can see by our ratings. However, we always like to factor in price, especially when we're considering a lower-cost group of products.
By far the least expensive supplement in this trial was the original Joint Renew, pure glucosamine at a cost of only 74¢/day for a full 10,000-gram therapeutic dose. It provided effective improvements in pain, especially with chronic arthritis problems.
However, NuPro Multiflex is a standout for potency, with combination ingredients, and is effective at only the regular dose for 89¢/day, making it our overall choice in this section of our series.
For maximum anti-inflammatory kick in this group of products, MaxForm delivers both high doses of joint-support ingredients and a full therapeutic dose of MSM at the loading dose. You could also buy bulk MSM yourself, of course, at about 90¢ to $1/day for a 20-gram dose.
If you prefer a non-chemical approach for rapid inflammation control, consider ProMotion EQ. It's expensive, but it was very effective in our trial horses.
Finally, we noted that the results from liquid products in this trial were generally poor. We were careful to keep them out of the direct sun, but environmental temperatures during the trial were high. Research to develop more specific storage and stability information on labels might be helpful.