FACING DEGENERATIVE JOINT DISEASE

May 20, 2010

FACING DEGENERATIVE JOINT DISEASE (DJD) & RINGBONE

This is one horse owner’s journal chronicling the health issues & health care of  her lovely and arthritic mare.  This is not expert advice, but simply is written in hopes that it may be of benefit to other owners facing similar situations with their own horses.   For background information on Ziba leading to this progam, read the introduction of Ziba’s Healing Journal..

At the young age of 7, Ziba came into my life  diagnosed with DJD – arthritic changes in her hocks & lower fronts, and changes in her front navicular bones.   When I first saw her, her movement was powerful, but stiff.  The owners lunged her on a short lead rope and she trotted in tight circles with head held high, back hollow and stiff, and hocks trailing out behind her. I fell in love with her despite many ‘stop’ signs!  Earlier poor training, hard riding, her natural conformation probably all contributed to her early onset of  DJD, and add to that my own learning curve – No wonder she was breaking down!

A few year ago, extremely lame, she was confirmed to have Peri-Articular Ringbone – high in right front, low in left front.   We made many changes to her hoof care which helped immensely.  Read more about this in ‘Journey to Barefoot’.

I also changed her diet to a lower sugar (replacing high sugar/carb supplements with Low NSC type supplement and later Timothy Pellets), mostly Grass Hay diet.

For Joint Support I had the opportunity to try EVERYTHING! … well at least many things including a bevy of joint supplements, Adequan, IV Legend, Intra-articular Legend cocktails (for her hocks).  It was interesting to compare products and see what effects they had.  In fact, all of these experiences and the fact that I enjoyed reading and researching therapeutic products led me to start my store, Just Equus.  Thanks Ziba!

INJECTABLES:

Adequan IM (Polysulfated Glycosaminoglycan) is very helpful and was used for a while on Ziba.  If I had an unlimited budget, I would have used Adequan throughout my time with Ziba.  For long term protocol, Adequan has been very effective in supportingthe body by providing materials used by the joint cells to actively regenerate and repair the components of damaged cartilage while replacing the synovial fluid in the joint.

Legend: Ziba’s joints were injected with a Legend (HA) cocktail which I learned also included steroids.  I have reservations about compromising the joints or introducing steroids.  There is a small risk of infection, and also steroids do have negative side effects – and they will also accelerate the fusing of the joint.  Since Ziba’s DJD was throughout various parts of her body, an Legend IV protocol was used for 1 year.  It seemed very helpful at the time and also very expensive.  Her serious lameness (see ‘Barefoot Journey’) became our main concern at which time I stopped giving her Legend.

JOINT SUPPLEMENTS:

Chosen for various reasons at different times.  I later chose supplements that were not animal derived to avoid potential allergic reactions, and also found that the liquid formulations seemed to show more effect sooner than powder or granules.

Here is a list of joint supplements that Ziba was given and their level of effectiveness (range of 1-10) that I observed:

CortaFlex OK – 3

CortaFlex HA Better – 5

FluidLine OK  –  3

Nimble didn’t observe any benefit – 2

Matrix 4 didn’t observe any benefit – 2

Activex Good – 5

Chondrogen Good – 5

Hylamotion Good – 4

Cosequin ASU-Prof. Strength Very Effective – 7     Ziba responded very well to Cosequin ASU, but benefitted most from Rapid Response.

Recovery EQ-Extra Strength Very Effective –  7   Ziba responded very well to Recovery EQ – Xtra Strength, but benefitted most from Rapid Response.

Rapid Response Outstanding! –  9     This is a less commercially available product, but was used more recently when Ziba’s Ringbone was progressing.  It was incredibly effective for her and gave her her freedom and comfort in movement again.  So much so that she wanted to go back into the ring and to do things.  She went from unrideable and uncomfortable to walk out of her paddock, to eager to be ridden and to even work lightly in the ring!  Trail riding – sure thing..  However after 1 year using this product, even Rapid Response was not enough..

Hyaluronic Acid (Hyaluronan):   In addition to the joint supplements providing Chondroitin, Glucosamine, MSM in their various forms, I supplemented Ziba with Hyaluronic Acid.   I believe that HA has been very helpful for Ziba’s DJD.  Amongst the many labels we tried, I chose Hyaluronex for my horse to use long term (and to offer at Just Equus) not necessarily because the other products were not good, but from what I learned about the formulation of Hyaluronex.

First of all, liquid HA is absorbed as soon as it enters the mouth in the mucosal linings – this seems much preferable to me than waiting for the digestive tract to ingest a solid.  Hyaluronex is in liquid form.

Second, it is a vegetal source, not derived from animals and therefore avoiding potential allergic reactions that can take place.

Third, it was designed by the man who formulated Lubrisyn, who improved upon his original formula.  With Hyaluronex he chose a range of high density molecular sizes in order to optimize its bio-availability within the horse’s body.  This made sense to me – but  I am no scientist and not an authority on the horse’s biologic processes on the cellular level.

When I supplemented with Rapid Response and most recently on using Lisa St. John’s services, I stopped using any other joint supplements including Hyaluronic Acid.

*    *   *

By late Summer 2009 despite the best protocol I could find for her (namely Rapid Response), Ziba’s Ringbone had become very painful for her again.

On the evening I finally resigned myself  to finding a nice pasture for her where she could graze and move 24/7 (which seemed to me to be the best way to ensure that she was using her body and her joints throughout the day), I read a short post on a forum from a lady who raved about one woman’s help that saved her horse’s life.  I was curious and followed her link to her horse’s video & story on youtube.  A lady named Lisa St. John had helped save her horse.  I searched for more videos and horse cases.  Some amazing results were documented.  When I saw Foxy’s story who suffered from severe arthritis and could barely walk, and who later was transformed, I started to wonder if Lisa might be able to help my horse.  On visiting Lisa St. John’s site, LAVSAGE.COM I saw even more case studies.  Hope was beginning to grow inside me.  I called Lisa the next morning.

Maybe there was another alternative to help my mare!

*    *    *

Read the next chapter in Ziba’s healing journey:   ‘Lisa St. John’s Diet


One Response to FACING DEGENERATIVE JOINT DISEASE

  1. Pingback: Ziba’s Healing Journal – articles added « justequus' blog

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