Consequences of Drug Use
NSAIDs such as Bute® (phenylbutazone), Banamine® (flunixin meglumine), and Surpass® (diclofenac) are very effective at controlling inflammation, but they come with their own set of negative side effects. The most concerning of these is the development of ulcers from prolonged use. Researchers have shown that just seven days of NSAID use causes ulcers of grade two out of four or higher. Ulcers create a host of new problems for the horse such as pain, body condition changes and poor athletic performance.
Joint injections also come with risks which can range from temporary discomfort and lameness to career ending situations. Joint flare, also known as reactive synovitis, refers to inflammation of a joint that causes acute lameness within a few hours after the injection. It is rarely career ending, but the lameness can last up to six weeks. Joint infection, also known as joint sepsis, can occur three to five days after a joint injection. A horse with a joint infection will typically be non weight-bearing and experience pain, heat and swelling. Joint infections can be career ending if not caught early and treated appropriately. Laminitis is another concerning side effect that may develop from the use of corticosteroid injections. Laminitis is a painful condition where the soft tissues that connect the hoof wall to the bone become inflamed and begin to separate. Finally, high doses and frequent use of some corticosteroid injections can cause joint cartilage to break down over time.
What are the Alternatives to Drug Use?
Certain supplements are showing promise as alternatives to the use of drugs. Researchers conducted a 12-week study evaluating pain associated with arthritis and found that the active ingredient in Rewind® significantly reduced pain in joints within four weeks. Researchers noticed a compounding effect, meaning the longer the study lasted, the more relief there was from arthritis pain.
Another study, using the same active ingredient, evaluated lameness grades and joint range of motion in horses. Results of this study showed that horses fed the daily supplement had better range of motion in their joints and reduced lameness grades compared to a placebo.
What is Rewind®?
Rewind® is a natural anti-inflammatory supplement for horses. It is unique because it contains an omega 3 not available in other supplements. This special omega 3 is called “ETA,” which is short for eicosatetraenoic acid. ETA is effective because it cues the body to make lipoxin, “nature’s way” to resolve inflammation. This natural process has been shown to be more effective than NSAIDs and does not have negative side effects. In fact, some horses are responding so well to Rewind® that drug therapy has been either reduced or eliminated completely*. Rewind® is available as a daily pelleted supplement or as a topical liniment from Stride® Animal Health.
*Results are dependent on the unique conditions and management protocols of each horse. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your horse’s program.