Just as we see in humans, arthritis can occur in older horses. This may become apparent in the horses’ gait and movements.
How Does Arthritis Occur In Horses – Is it Hereditary? How can we prevent it?
Arthritis is a joint disease. As a horse ages, the soft cartridge between the bones begins to breakdown. The cartilage is responsible for absorbing shock and acting as a ‘buffer’ between the bones that meet each other at the joints. This can lead to pain and, eventually, immobility.
In initial stages, the horse may begin to show signs of slight stiffness, but as the horse moves more and warms up, the stiffness seems to lessen or go away altogether. In this stage, the cartilage is breaking down at a faster rate than it is able to repair.
In the advanced stages, the cartridge becomes severely damaged, and the bone that sits beneath the cartilage pad is affected as well. Inflammation can then occurs, resulting in increased pain and discomfort.
Causes of Arthritis
The wearing down of cartilage over time is what causes arthritis. Horses that are under extra stress or who have experienced injury to arthritis-prone areas may develop arthritis. For this reason, horses in show jumping, dressage, reining, racing and other high impact shows and sports are more susceptible.
Is it Genetic or Hereditary?
So far, there is little evidence suggesting that equine arthritis is hereditary.
How can I help my horse with arthritis?
There is no known cure for arthritis, and so the primary concern should be to reduce the inflammation to reduce the speed of cartilage breakdown and reduce the pain and discomfort.
What supplements to give a horse with arthritis?
Always consult with your vet before administering any supplements. If you are interested in using holistic treatment and supplements, then find a holistic vet that will assist you. There are many supplements (and drugs) that can help in reducing inflammation and easing the discomfort the horse may be experiencing.
What can you give a horse for inflammation and pain?
There are some drugs that vets commonly prescribe. However, many of these drugs can have long-lasting side effects, and perhaps this is why you are now reading an article about CBD for equine arthritis. We will look into the potential side effects of CBD a little ways on. Kidney damage is a proven side effects of long term use of certain drugs (Butanone, quipalazone). Ask your vet about the long term side effects of any supplement or drug that is prescribed.
A holistic solution is herbal preparations that many people use. While many of these are without clinical trials, CBD is one option worth looking into. There are studies and trials that show CBD could be one of the most effective treatments for arthritis.
If the horse is experiencing pain and discomfort from arthritis because of shows and sports that you, as the caretaker, orchestrated- then it is your responsibility to help your horse as much as possible.
Arthritic Horse Exercises
If your horse is still under a heavy workload, competing in shows or traveling on tough terrain, then stop this immediately. It is cruel to continue this as it worsens arthritis and causes pain.
Light exercise is vital as it maintains the flexibility of the joints. Use a soft footing for the horse with extra bedding (not excessive). Contact a knowledgeable farrier so that your horse may be provided with the right trim and shoeing.
Is CBD Good For Horses With Arthritis
CBD is proving to be a popular choice for those looking for holistic treatments. However, there is little to none studies with horses and CBD. There is, however, a plethora of studies and papers detailing how CBD could assist in the treatment and possible reversal of arthritic damage.
While there are few horses and CBD studies, there is a wealth of positive anecdotal reports. The majority of responses from people using CBD for horses are positive, and if we look at these real-life examples, we can see that the way CBD interacts with the horses’ endocannabinoid system is much the same as it does in humans (this is generally the case amongst mammals). There are no adverse side effects (stronger doses may cause drowsiness), and it is well tolerated.
How can it help?
So far, studies tell us that CBD could be beneficial in the following ways/situations:
- Pain caused from inflammation caused by arthritis ( Kogan, L., Schoenfeld-Tacher, R., Hellyer, P., and Rishniw, M., 2018. US veterinarians’ knowledge, experience, and perception regarding the use of cannabidiol for canine medical conditions. Frontiers of Veterinary Science, volume 10.)
- Inflammation in general, as well as possibly reducing levels of leptin (Tarragon, E., and Moreno, J.J., 2019. Cannabinoids, chemical senses, and regulation of feeding behavior. Chemical Senses, Vol 44, pages 73-89.)
- Anxiety, especially during confinement in the stall or during treatment (Maroon, J., and Bost, J., 2018. Review of the neurological benefits of phytocannabinoids. Surgical Neurology International, volume 9)
- Appetite Regulation (Garamond, J.A., Whalley, B.J., and Williams, C.M., 2012. Cannabinol and cannabidiol exert opposing effects on rat feeding patterns. Psychopharmacology, volume 223, number 1, 117-129.)
- Healing after surgery
- Leaky gut and ulcers
- Stress if traveling
- Immune system depression (from oxidative stress)
- Insulin resistance
This interview helps to clear up some misconceptions about CBD oil for animals:
Endocannabinoid system in horses
Just like us humans, horses have an Endocannabinoid System. In fact, most mammals have an endocannabinoid system. This ECS system is the receptor system that interacts with the cannabinoids present in CBD products (or just CBD if you are using a CBD-Isolate). This interaction between cannabinoids and the ECS system helps to regain and then maintain homeostasis, which promotes healing.
This ECS is known as a signaling system, and it monitors the overall body systems. If there is any instability within these systems, then a healthy and functioning ECS will return it to a balanced state.
If this system is not working efficiently, then disease and health conditions occur, and the body systems will struggle to heal.
When cannabinoids such as CBD is administered, the ECS is given a ‘boost.’ Cannabinoids (both produced by the body and those found in nature) are activators for the ECS and have a myriad of functions. The overall function of the ECS system is supported.
The body produces its own cannabinoids (known as endogenous cannabinoids) and are produced when the signal is received that they are needed. However, these are often degraded rapidly. CBD is an exogenous (produced outside of the human body) and offers a boost, like vitamin C to the immune system, for the ECS.
What’s the Best CBD for a horse with Arthritis?
The best CBD is a product that has high safety and quality profiles. When you are selecting which product to use, the following are absolutely essential:
– Where does the Hemp Come From?
Different areas have different regulations for growing hemp. You need to know that the hemp comes from an organic farm, and where it comes from. Some areas have stricter growing standards than others, and this could result in hemp that is contaminated. Hemp grown in soil containing harsh chemicals, bacteria, and heavy metals will absorb these substances, and they will make their way into the final product.
– Only Buy Products that Offer a COA
A certificate of analysis is extremely important in today’s CBD market. There are many CBD products available for purchase, but not all of them offer a safe product- or even offer the cannabinoids that they advertise. This COA should be provided by a third-party testing facility and should be easily viewed on the company’s website.
The above two factors are imperative when choosing a CBD product.
You should also bear the following in mind:
– When you are researching a particular brand’s COA, check what percentage of THC is in the product (don’t simply take the company’s word for it)
– Make sure you check the particular product’s CBD content per dose, as this can vary in strength with each product
Our Recommendation: Green Flower Botanicals
Green Flower Botanicals offer a specially formulated equine CBD product. It is extracted using CO2 and has a 0.0% THC.
This is one of a handful of brands that offer products based on different strains of hemp. These strains each have their own unique profile of terpenes, cannabinoids, and flavonoids.
The hemp is sourced from sustainable farming practices in Colorado, and are religious in their testing to ensure consistent quality.
Green Flower Botanicals offer 30ml bottles in a range of potencies:
Use Coupon Code: GREATHEMP20
Both veterinarians and animal caretakers (let’s avoid the word ‘owners’) are becoming more and more interested in using CBD products. So far, research shows us how CBD can be used as a tool to achieve health and healing.
Aside from arthritis, consider using CBD to treat a variety of health issues. Research is showing that CBD has the following qualities:
Using a quality, full-spectrum CBD product for your horse offers your horse a path to comfort and ease. It is essential that you consult your holistic vet before you make any decisions.