Article Text

Equine Practice
Drugs used to treat osteoarthritis in the horse
  1. Peter Clegg

    Peter Clegg qualified from Cambridge in 1987. He is a lecturer in equine orthopaedics at Liverpool University, with clinical and research responsibilities. He holds a PhD for studies on equine joint disease, the RCVS certificate in equine orthopaedics, and is a diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons.

  2. Todd Booth

    Todd Booth graduated from the University of Queensland in 1989. After seven years in practice, he undertook a residency at Liverpool University in equine orthopaedic surgery. He is currently lecturer in equine surgery (orthopaedics) at the University of Edinburgh. He holds the RCVS certificate in equine surgery (orthopaedics) and is a member of the Australian College of Veterinary Surgeons.


LAMENESS is an important cause of equine morbidity, and osteoarthritis is the single most common cause of lameness in the horse. Osteoarthritis and its management is therefore of considerable economic and welfare concern. This article reviews the medical treatments available for the management of this disease in the horse. These may be broadly divided into symptomatic agents (predominantly the NSAIDs) and disease-modifying agents (glycosaminoglycan compounds and, potentially, the corticosteroids). The disease-modifying agents may also have a major symptomatic effect. The nutraceuticals (oral glycosaminoglycans), a new type of compound, may also be disease modifying; however, critical evidence of their efficacy in vivo in the horse is currently lacking.

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