Oral arthritis treatments/ supplements for elderly horse?

Hello! I’m new to the forum. Seems like a great community!
Anyway, my mare is 23 and has fairly advanced arthritis in her hocks. There’s enough calcification that it’s almost impossible to get a needle into her joint for injections and she HATES needles and fusses no matter how much we sedate her, so my vet doesn’t want to risk doing injections on her anymore. They’re afraid the needle will snap off.
I’m trying to find some other supplements or treatments to give her to make her more comfortable. Does anyone have ideas?


Previcox or equivalent has done wonders for my 27 year old. Gets it just two times a week and has for about 6-7 years now, started when we cut the work way back and continued when we retired it. Helps it get up and down more easily and move comfortably.

Had some luck with the oral HAs for about 5 years in its teens but they stopped working as horse’s condition progressed, likewise the injectable HA didn’t do anything after a certain point. That was around age 21 when joint injections were no longer effective either.

All you can do for arthritis is treat the symptoms. As it progresses, that comes down to pain killers and proven anti inflammatories. There’s a lot of pricey whoo whoo out there too…save your money for the good, proven safe and effective pharmaceuticals.


All you can do for arthritis is treat the symptoms, as it progresses, that comes down to pain killers.[/QUOTE]

Wow thanks! I’ll look into those!
Has anyone tried Aspir-Eze as a pain killer?

No, but have used aspirin for navicular. But aspirin and Bute both have the potential to cause ulcers and other gastric upsets. Typically short term there’s no issues but anything longer then a few weeks could be problematic. Hence the popularity of the previcox and equivalent drugs that are easier on the tummy for long term use.

You have to be careful with supplements if you give more then one, you can increase or decrease the effect of drugs or other supplements and there’s no research. Using the above example of NSAIDS, some are also blood thinners, some ingredients found in “natural” supplements for inflammation can produce the same effect, no requirement they be listed in the label either. Given together that can create issues. That’s a simplistic example but be careful.

Again, there is no cure for age, wear and tear related osteoarthritis no matter what some ads suggest. Symptom relief is what we can do. Yes, some products let them move a little better and more comfortably, but it’s because it doesn’t hurt so much. A more targeted pain relief drug gets them a lot better then a hit or miss, unregulated supplement.

I had a older pony with similar hocks. We used previcox on him with great results. I also used Conquer gel on the same pony with very good results after getting the vets approval. Previcox is an anti inflammatory and you need a prescription for it and the Conquer is a hyaluronic supplement.
ETA: more turnout helped my guy too. It kept him from stiffening up.

Thanks guys! How often do you use the previcox?

Turnout is great idea too. Sadly it’s pretty impossible to find in my area. I’m looking for a barn to move her to where she’d have at least a paddock but it’s tough to find.

I know you said oral but I think you would be remiss not to try a course of pentosan. It’s cheap and I have seen it work miracles. It’s definitely worth a try.

I know you said oral but I think you would be remiss not to try a course of pentosan. It’s cheap and I have seen it work miracles. It’s definitely worth a try.[/QUOTE]

I’d be willing to try it but I’d need some tips on getting her to stand for the injection. Even when the vets do it, it usually takes a few people ten or more minutes to get a needle into her neck and the whole time she’s bracing and panicking like a total nut ball. Unless I can figure out how to fix that, doing injections routinely seems like a lot of undue stress on her (and me).
I did have one vet who was able to somehow massage her neck and do it just right so she didn’t even notice. He was a wizard and I have no idea what he did.

My old guy has arthritis in his hips, and was only pasture sound for years. I tired all different kinds of supplements, as well as injections, to no avail. Cetyl-M was the ONLY thing that worked, to the point where he was able to be ridden again, completely sound. He has since decided he doesn’t want to eat it anymore, so we’re going to try previcox, since I’ve heard (and seen) how well it works. Massage didn’t really help my guy, but he loves stretches. And I know you said it’s hard where you are, but more turnout is the best!

Can you try one of the IM joint prescriptions? I think Adequan is IM. May be easier than doing IV.

My old guy gets previcox once a day. It seems to work well for him.

My old guy gets previcox once a day. It seems to work well for him.[/QUOTE]

It sounds like previcox might be a good solution to try. Do you have to give it daily or can you give it less frequently?
And is it possible to get it without a prescription?

I have two horses on Previcox. I give it daily in the winter and every other day during the summer months. I can’t tell the difference between the “on” and “off” days during the summer. BUT, the horses have 14–16 hours of turnout, plus 32’ x 12’ runs attached to the stalls.

I don’t know of any outlet that sells previcox w/o an RX. If you find one, let us know.

PS–You might try injections in the rear half of your horse. There’s lots of muscle back there & somewhere online there’s bound to be a “map” showing where it’s safe to place the needle. Also, you can pinch the skin to numb it for 10-30 seconds before you place the needle, or you can try some topical lidocaine.

Both times that I have used the previcox I gave it daily. I tried every other day for awhile, but the symptoms would slowly start to return. It’s available by prescription only as far as I know.

I give my 29 year old mare MSM & Glucosamine twice a day in her feed. Has made a big difference for her…no longer stiff sore. Worth a try but like everything else ,what works for one horses, doesn’t alway work for the next horse.

Previcox is always a option if all else fails.Yes you need an RX for previcox.

The injectibles - Legend, Adequan, Pentosan, or off-label use of polyglycan (IV) or Ichon (IM) - work best, in my opinion, but if they’re not an option for you, I would also look into an RX option. Bute and other NSAIDs can irritate the gut and contribute to ulcers. Previcox/Equioxx is easier on the gut but harder on the liver, so if your mare has any existing hepatic concerns, it might not be the one for her.

My 21-year-old with hock and ankle arthritis gets daily Corta-Flx HA (glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid) as well as MSM. He has more comfortable range of motion when on the Corta-Flx than when off it. He also gets IV polyglycan every two weeks. The absolute biggest thing for his continued health is that he stays physically fit so that his muscles can support his joints. He is comfortable in consistent moderate work.

My senior, with arthritis, is also on previcox. I buy the 227mg size pill and cut the pills into 4s as that is the horse dose. I stick the 1/4 pill in a piece of banana (she loves them) and she happily chews it up. If I have no bananas I just toss it into her grain. It also comes in a 57mg size and her dose would be one whole pill. The dosage I’ve given is the standard amount.
She too has arthritis in her hocks. She was always just a pleasure horse so never really jumped or had joint stresses but developed the arthritis. I had used MSM for many years as a preventative but she still got arthritis. The MSM did not help with any pain management so I moved on to the previcox and she is a happy camper.
Yes you need a script for it.

Unsung-- I have a mare who was extremely needle-phobic (caused by former owner’s vet using 18 gauge needles (ouch!) instead of 20 gauge) to the point where my vet refused to give her the annual shots because she became so dangerous. When she smelled the alcohol on the gauze she would start to go nuts even before it was stroked onto her neck.
Plan: every day, put alcohol on a gauze while standing beside her and give her a small piece of carrot; when she no longer freaks at this, progress to stroking her neck with the gauze–treat. When she accepts this, add a toothpick and lightly prick the skin with it–treat. Repeat until she looks forward to the procedure.
My delicate flower is now no problem to vaccinate.

Once upon a time I had a fractious, sensitive mare that needed to get tetracycline IV for three days. The vet had us hold a freshly frozen cold pack on the injection site for close to a minute, then got down to business. She didn’t feel a thing.

I know you said oral but I think you would be remiss not to try a course of pentosan. It’s cheap and I have seen it work miracles. It’s definitely worth a try.[/QUOTE]

Laurie beat me to it. Pentosan has ben a miracle for my older horse. (See the advice about carrots/toothpicks & the cold pack tricks above to deal with the needle phobia.)