New-Generation Joint Products Offer More
But you’re going to pay more, too. Limit these choices to horses that truly need the added support.
Years ago, when joint supplements first appeared, the choices were pretty simple. You went with Perna, glucosamine or chondroitin. If you wanted a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin, the only choice was Cosequin.
Next came added key vitamins, and minerals, anti-inflammatory herbs, unique processing, and more combinations of nutraceuticals. Finally, oral hyaluronic acid took the joint support industry by storm helping decrease the need for injectable HA.
In this article, we focus on a few products we think go one step further, incorporating botanical or nutritional ingredients not widely available in other equine products.
Cutting inflammation, blocking cartilage breakdown and supporting healing are the cornerstones of a nutraceutical approach to arthritis treatment. The products in this field trial address one or more of these concerns in a new way.
Results of Rapid Response
Rapid Response. We found the time to a response in common arthritic joint conditions was longer than with many joint supplements, taking one to two weeks. We didn’t find results notably different than that obtained with glucosamine and/or chondroitin supplements in terms of pain and movement in the involved joints.
However, one filly, retired from racing because of a severe ankle arthritis with beginning fusion, responded extremely well to Rapid Response, better than to glucosamine or Adequan. We also noted that horses on Rapid Response all tended to move significantly more freely overall after two weeks or so on this supplement.
We also had excellent responses with back pain that hadn’t been responsive to regular joint supplements. Several youngsters that had been on Adequan for months for stifle or ankle OCD turned the corner rapidly when put on Rapid Response. In fact, the cysts resolved, according to radiographs. How much of this was related to time and repeated Adequan treatments finally working couldn’t be determined, but the impression was that Rapid Response had made a difference.
Some of the most dramatic responses came in horses with ringbone that had been lame for months to years and unresponsive to anything except pain medications. The X-ray changes were at least arrested and, in several cases, the excess bone decreased on radiographs.
An incidental observation in a mare being given Rapid Response for multiple joint problems and back pain was that a large callus of bone at the site of a kick sustained a year before began to shrink after about two weeks. After four weeks, it was gone.
A common thread was that this product appeared to be effective in degenerative conditions that involved the bone rather than just cartilage. A Thoroughbred with a severe sesamoid fracture sustained as a foal became pasture sound after a year on Rapid Response and will soon attempt training, although the fracture remains unchanged on X-ray.
A horse with a navicular cyst and wide fracture line, extensive navicular demineralization, for whom euthanasia was recommended, was slow to respond but after seven months had complete filling-in of the cyst with bone and only a narrow fracture line remaining.
At this point, he had improved from grade 4 (worse) to grade 1 (mild) lameness at the walk and was trotting comfortably in a straight line. Whether either of these horses can return to formal use remains to be seen, but even this level of improvement would normally not be expected.
Another added benefit of Rapid Response is control of gastric-ulcer symptoms. One horse with diagnosed gastric ulcers and one suspected on the basis of clinical signs returned to normal eating within 18 to 24 hours of beginning Rapid Response.
The manufacturer recommends simultaneous topical and oral use. We found the product difficult to work with topically. Oversoftening of the skin, requiring leaving the leg open for a while, commonly occurs. Testers who couldn’t wrap or gave up on wrapping seemed to have equivalent results by increasing the oral dose, essentially giving the same amount they’d have used on the leg orally. We can’t rule out benefits from local application as well, though.
On the other hand, Rapid Response is expensive. That said, it’s the best we found in conditions like ringbone that involve proliferation of bone. It’s also the only joint product we’ve used that gave good results with back pain. It also proved helpful with two fractures and severe, refractory OCD.