- Oct 25, 2017 -
Osteaoarthritis (OA) in horses is a painful condition, frequently resulting in loss of use and economic consequences. Considering there is currently no cure for OA, affected horses are often treated with “the kitchen sink,” meaning owners and even some veterinarians are willing to try just about anything to make an OA-affected horse more comfortable and to slow disease progression … including spirulina extracts.
“Blue-green spirulina contains a protein bound pigment called C-phycocyanin that possesses both anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties and has been shown to help humans, dogs, and horses with OA in some studies,” explained Jennifer Taintor,DVM,from Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, in Alabama.
Because some of the currently used medications for OA are associated with potentially serious adverse reactions, researchers have focused their attention on more natural products, such as blue-green spirulina extracts, for ameliorating clinical signs of OA.
To better determine if C-phycocyanin is beneficial for treating horses with OA, Taintor and colleagues employed 41 athletic horses with naturally occurring lameness due to OA. Half of those horses received a commercially available C-phycocyanin supplement while the others received a placebo. The researchers followed the manufacturer’s dosing instructions for both loading and maintenance doses and administration frequency.
Study horses continued their regular work (such as reining, equitation on the flat and over fences, and Western horsemanship) and underwent lameness examinations at the start of and and again periodically throughout the 12-month study period.
The study, “Efficacy of an extract of blue-green spirulina in amelioration of lameness caused by degenerative joint disease in the horse,” was published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science.