|Supplements for Pain Relief in Horses
Information in this article should not to be used in place of professional veterinary diagnosis or advice. Please consult your horse's veterinarian prior to administering any medication or supplement to your horse.
Pain is nature's way of telling a body that something is wrong, and it is designed to make the body slow down to allow time for healing. Pain is caused by nerve endings becoming irritated, often by pressure created as injured tissues become inflamed with fluid. Inflammation, in turn, is caused by the body sending blood with oxygen and disease--fighting cells for healing. Inflammation can result from acute injury or long-term overuse and damage. Reducing inflammation usually provides some degree of pain relief.
If your horse exhibits symptoms of pain, consult a veterinarian for help in identifying the cause of it. This step is important for developing a way to help your horse with either acute or chronic pain. If you simply mask symptoms of pain--the body's signal for help--without addressing the cause, more extensive damage may occur to the body.
Natural substances or herbs with anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties may make your horse feel more comfortable if faced with the aches and soreness of arthritis or injury. These substances are said to be helpful when a horse needs long-term pain management, but where the use of prescription drugs designed to target pain and inflammation, such as Phenylbutazone and Equioxx for Horses, are not recommended because of their side effects. Like prescription drugs, natural substances may help to reduce inflammation and provide analgesic effects if dosed correctly. However, as with any medication or supplement, they will produce varied results in different individuals.
Along with prescription, nutritional and herbal pain relief methods available today, some innovative products are intended to reduce inflammation that causes pain. See the topic Pain Therapies for Horses for more information. In the presence of joint deterioration and arthritis, supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin may complement either prescription solutions or herbal substances as they address the underlying deterioration of the joints that causes the pain.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a sulfur compound that is found naturally in certain foods. It is used by the body to reduce pain and inflammation, such as that related to arthritis, and has been found to increase circulation. MSM, which looks like a coarse granulated white sugar but has almost no taste, is vital for the ongoing health of connective tissues, which are tendons, ligaments and muscles. MSM that is manufactured in a laboratory is virtually identical as that found in nature. You can buy pure MSM from Select and Vita-Flex and find it mixed into an array of joint and hoof supplements. See the chart provided at the end of this article to identify blended products containing MSM.
Common herbal analgesics such as Devil's Claw, Yucca and Boswellia can be found in various supplements for horses.
See the chart provided at the end of this article to identify products that contain one or more of these herbs.
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Pain Therapies for Horses
Maintaining an Equine Medical Kit