The bones make up the skeleton and foundation of every horse and are directly involved in every joint. When we have a failing joint in the horse, it is really a matter of failing bone. Bone health is paramount for overall support, movement, and joint function. In every horse, especially as they age or are heavily under work, the bones will gradually change over time and joints will remodel. The long-term effect is typically seen as osteoarthritis or simply arthritis, which impacts upwards of 80% of all horses, creating discomfort, reduced range of motion, and impaired performance. Arthritis in the horse, or joint associated lameness, is often the most common reason for an owner to seek out veterinary advice. Despite all of our efforts and means of intervention, the long-term outlook for bone and joint health in the horse is often not what we would desire it to be. Is Cur-OST® EQ Bone Support a new approach for long-term bone and joint health in the horse?
Joint pain is the number one complaint for most of the horse owners that I work with directly. It is the number one reason for performance limitations and failure to compete at the desired levels, or simply to remain comfortable even after retirement. The majority of my patients have had prior joint injections with corticosteroids and hyaluronic acid, which have helped in the short-term, but the problems keep coming back. For many of those horses, retirement is the only option and even then, they continue to suffer with discomfort on some level. Many require constant medications or even injections, just to keep them content.
In another article, I discussed the topic of ‘Joint Dysfunction; Are Injections the Only Solution?”. This article was created to discuss the ongoing epidemic of joint injections in the horse, how some respond in the short-term, mainly due to pain relief, but the degenerative issues continue. In another article, I discussed ‘Getting the Most out of the Joint Injections’, targeting those owners with horses that require ongoing injections, helping them to add in other modalities to stretch the interval between those injections.
In our rehabilitation facility and in my personal patients, my number one goal in managing a joint problem is to combat the inflammatory problem, as this inflammatory event is what is behind the degeneration that is taking place. The joint capsule remodeling, the cartilage loss, and changes in bone density are all a result of cellular signaling pathways tightly connected with inflammatory events. I don’t use joint injections as part of my therapy any longer, as for most of my patients, this route has been over-exhausted. Secondly, these medications are not tackling the inflammatory events to the level that I desire for optimal outcomes.
The main formulas that I traditionally use for joint related conditions in the average horse include:
These formulas help me to manage the inflammatory events and also support cartilage health. However, for many horses with moderate joint degeneration, there has always been a void that needed to be filled. This is where the new formula, Cur-OST® EQ Bone Support has become a major part of my therapy approach.
Cur-OST EQ Bone Support; Optimal Long-Term Bone Health in the Horse
While the 3 formulas mentioned above help me in the short and long-term with inflammatory events associated with joint pain in the horse, for many, I have needed more long-term benefits directly associated with bone health. A high percentage of horses that present to me already have significant joint changes on radiographs, indicative of ongoing degeneration, so it would be ideal to be able to modify that bone to some degree, if possible.
Cur-OST EQ Bone Support utilizes 3 ingredients to target bone health and signaling pathways:
- Shilajit 50% Fulvic Acids (Primavie®)
- Eleutherococcus senticosus 0.8% extract
- Hawthorne berry 4:1 extract
Although each of these ingredients do promote a healthy inflammatory response in the horse, not just in the joints but in the entire body, they also promote healthy bone signaling pathways. This is unique to an extent as this benefit helps to open doors for improved bone remodeling and regeneration over time.
Clinical Research Benefits:
- Shilajit enhances osteoblast survival and proliferation (1)
- Shilajit enhances extracellular matrix protein secretion (1)(2)
- Shilajit may enhance collagen, elastin, and fibrinonectin through ECM-related genes (2)
- Shilajit may enhance elasticity, muscle transduction properties, repair, and regeneration (2)
- Shilajit is a concentrated source of many organic and inorganic elements found including fulvic acids, humic acids, iron, zinc, magnesium, copper, nickel, calcium, potassium, manganese, silicon, stronium, sodium, sulfur, iodine, phosphorus, carotenoids, terpenoids, vitamins B, C, E, polyphenols, phenolic acids, oxalic acids, and tannic acids which can directly impact bone health and density.
- Eleuthercoccus senticosus has been shown to improve bone mineral density and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capabilities (3)
- Hawthorn berry has been demonstrated to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and vasodilatory capabilities which may improve circulation to the bone and muscle. (4)
The bottom line with all 3 ingredients is that they offer tremendous support, not just in regulating or promoting a healthy inflammatory response for improved joint and body health, but it is possible for them to alter gene expression, which may result in improved bone health, density, repair, and potentially regeneration.
The Cur-OST® EQ Bone Support is not designed to be a short-acting formula for those horses with moderate joint discomfort, but is intended for long-term support. I will personally use this formula as a part of our overall regimen, often incorporating the Cur-OST® EQ Inflammend or the EQ Plus, to help further with promoting a healthy inflammatory response.
What are the clinical benefits with Cur-OST® EQ Bone Support in the horse? Multiple benefits, actually. What I find, as a veterinarian, is that over time, when using this formula, not only can I reduce my dose or dependence on other formulas for joint health, but many horses can maintain in the long-term on just the Cur-OST® EQ Bone Support formula. For many other horses, we have noted in some that there are long-term positive bone changes to the joints, including the back vertebrae, and the coffin or pedal bone. These findings were discussed in my article, “Equine arthritis and bone degeneration; Is reversal possible?”
The overall goal with any horse that has joint pain or discomfort is to improve their overall well-being and soundness. The process of inflammation is at the root of every case, and how you choose to manage it in the long-term will often dictate the results. Joint injections are very common, producing results for many and getting them back in the ring, but long-term we are often left seeking better solutions. For me, in my position of rehabilitation, I have a choice, and I choose herbal nutraceuticals to benefit my patients. The Cur-OST® EQ Bone Support is high on my list for almost every case!
Take your horse’s joint support to the next level! Look to the long-term, not just the short-term.
Author: Tom Schell, D.V.M, CVCH, CHN
- Labban, NY. Shijajit: A novel regulator of bone and cartilage healing. 2013. Post Doc Thesis.
- Das, A et al. The human muscle skeletal transcriptome in response to oral shilajit supplementation. J Med Food Sci. 2016. 19(7),701-709
- Lim, DW et al. Preventative effects of Eleutherococcus senticosus bark extract in OVX-induced osteoporosis in rats. Molecules. 2013. Jul 8;18(7):7998-8008
- Wang, J et al. Effect of Crataegus usage in cardiovascular disease prevention. Evidence Based Compl Med. 2013.