Resveratrol shown to be of value in treating hock lameness in horses

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An oral supplement containing a proprietary form of resveratrol has been shown to be effective therapy as part of a treatment regime for hock lameness in horses.

The randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial was organized to determine the effect of resveratrol administration in performance horses with lameness localized to the distal tarsal joints.

It used 45 client-owned horses with lameness localized to the distal tarsal joints, who underwent an enrollment examination to assess its severity.

All horses received injections of triamcinolone acetonide in the centrodistal and tarsometatarsal joints of both hind limbs.

Each horse then received either a placebo or a supplement called Equithrive Joint which contains resveratrol – best known to the public as the healthy ingredient in red wine.

Horses were fed twice daily for four months by their owners who did not know whether each animal was receiving the placebo or the supplement, which contained a proprietary resveratrol product known as Resverasyn.

The researchers then assessed the outcome based on both the opinions of the owners on horse performance – whether it was better, worse, or the same – and any changes in lameness severity from the enrollment examination.

Complete information was obtained for 21 horses that received resveratrol and 20 that received the placebo.

The percentage of riders who reported that the horse’s performance was better, compared with worse or the same, was significantly higher for the resveratrol group than for the placebo group. After two months, 20 out of the 21 owners whose horses received resveratrol reported an improvement compared with 14 out of 20 on the placebo. After four months, 18 out of 21 owners whose horses were on resveratrol reported an improvement, compared with 10 out of 20 using the placebo.

The four-month recheck examinations backed the observations of owners in a measure of what is known as the A1:A2 ratio, with better outcomes for horses in the resveratrol group. However, subjective lameness scores and degree of asymmetry of pelvis movement did not differ between groups.

“Results suggested that in performance horses with lameness localized to the distal tarsal joints, injection of triamcinolone in the centrodistal and tarsometatarsal joints of both hind limbs followed by oral supplementation with resveratrol for four months resulted in reduced lameness, compared with triamcinolone injection and supplementation with a placebo,” the resesearchers reported in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The study was led by Dr Ashlee Watts, a large animal surgeon in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at Texas A&M University. She is the director of the university’s Comparative Orthopedics and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory.

“This was a two-year research project and it is very exciting to me because blinded, randomized and controlled clinical trials are not commonly performed in equine veterinary medicine,” Watts said.

“This type of study is especially rare in the equine supplement industry due to time and cost involved and there are no requirements for understanding the mechanism of action or even for proof of efficacy of supplements marketed in the United States.

“This is in contrast to drugs, which are strictly regulated by the FDA, where companies are required to demonstrate safety and efficacy in client-owned horses with naturally occurring disease prior to approval in the United States.”

Watts will present her research findings in December during the annual American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) conference.

Equithrive Joint has been on the market since 2009.

A randomized, controlled trial of the effects of resveratrol administration in performance horses with lameness localized to the distal tarsal joints
Ashlee E. Watts, Robin Dabareiner, Chad Marsh, G. Kent Carter, and Kevin J. Cummings
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 2016 249:6, 650-659

The abstract can be read here

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