Equine Arthritis: Risks and Non-invasive Treatments in South Africa

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Equine joint diseases can significantly compromise a horse’s quality of life and longevity. Joint deterioration is a gradual and silent process that causes friction, inflammation, and damage to the joint tissues, leading to significant discomfort and disability. However, with proactive steps to manage equine arthritis, horses can live fulfilling lives for many years following a joint disease diagnosis.


In this article, we will be exploring the risks associated with equine joint disease and how to proactively manage joint health and enhance the overall well-being of your horse.


Factors That Increase a Horse’s Risk of Joint Disease


While any horse can be affected, the following are considered to be at higher risk:

1. Age:

Older horses are more likely to develop arthritis due to the natural wear and tear on their joints over the years.

2. Genetics:

Some horse breeds are genetically more susceptible to joint issues, such as certain types of arthritis or developmental musculoskeletal diseases.

3. Physical imbalances:

Horses with conformational imbalances, such as uneven leg length, poor limb alignment, or improper hoof angles, may have increased stress on their joints, leading to an increased risk of joint degeneration.

4. Overweight:

Excess weight adds additional strain on the joints, increasing joint degeneration and disease.

5. Intensive training and performance demands:

Performance horses engaged in strenuous activities, such as racing, jumping, and endurance, experience repetitive stress on their joints, making them more susceptible to joint deterioration.

6. Injuries:

Horses that have sustained previous joint injuries, such as ligament tears or fractures, are at an increased risk of developing arthritis or other joint-related issues as a result of intensive or long-term inflammatory insult to the joint tissues.

7. Inadequate nutrition:

Poor nutrition, an imbalanced diet, or essential nutrient deficiencies can negatively impact joint health and contribute to the development of joint diseases.


It is important for horse trainers, caretakers, and owners to be aware of these risk factors and take proactive measures to minimise their impact. Regular veterinary check-ups, appropriate nutrition, equine health supplements, responsible training practises, and proper hoof care can help reduce the risk of joint disease in horses.


Equine Joint Disease: Non-Invasive Treatment Options


For the least invasive and best pain relief for horses with arthritis, an integrative treatment approach including physical therapy and natural supplementation is essential.

Common Physiotherapy techniques include:

1. Therapeutic Exercise:

Tailored exercise programmes to improve range of motion, strengthen muscles, and maintain fitness.

2. Hydrotherapy:

Water-based exercises to reduce weight-bearing on joints, improve mobility, and relieve pain.

3. Range of Motion Exercises:

Gentle movements to maintain joint flexibility and prevent stiffness.

4. Massage Therapy:

Manipulation of soft tissues to promote relaxation, circulation, and muscle tension relief.

5. Laser Therapy:

Low-level laser treatment to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and improve joint function.

6. Thermotherapy:

Application of heat or cold to alleviate pain and reduce swelling.


Consulting with an equine rehabilitation specialist or veterinarian experienced in these techniques is essential. Non-invasive physical therapy, combined with other management strategies like natural joint aids, can significantly improve joint function and enhance the quality of life for horses predisposed to joint disease.


Enhancing Joint Health on a Cellular Level


By incorporating natural extracts that promote joint health on a cellular level, along with physical therapy that strengthens muscles, maintains flexibility, and prevents stiffness, a comprehensive and effective treatment approach is created. This approach addresses the root causes of joint issues and supports the horse’s physical recovery. It maximises effectiveness and enhances the overall quality of life for horses dealing with joint disease.


Enhancing joint health in horses on a cellular level with natural healthcare like UNTAMED Animal Health’s natural performance horse supplements, is of utmost importance. Supplements providing anti-inflammatory and regenerative natural extracts like Boswellia, Curcumin, Glucosamine, and Spirulina contain bioactive compounds that provide remarkable benefits for overall mobility.


1. Reducing degenerative inflammation in joints:

By targeting cells at a cellular level, these natural extracts are highly valued in clinical research to reduce degenerative inflammation, a key factor in joint diseases. They inhibit the production of inflammation-causing enzymes such as Cox1 and Cox2, inflammatory mediators like cytokines and prostaglandins, and their migration to the active site of inflammation. This anti-inflammatory benefit helps alleviate discomfort and protect joint tissues like cartilage and bone from further damage.


2. Promote cellular regeneration of joint tissue:

Natural extracts also support cellular regeneration in joint tissues. Spirulina, Curcumin, and Glucosamine increase the shock-absorbing properties of the synovial fluid between the joints and intervertebral discs of the spine to reduce friction and physical stress on the joints. They also promote the production of collagen, glycosaminoglycans, chondrocytes, and proteoglycans which are essential building blocks for the structural integrity of joint tissue. By inhibiting tissue degeneration and promoting cellular regeneration, these extracts contribute to the restoration of joint health and function.


3. Antioxidant Protection:

Natural extracts have antioxidant properties that combat oxidative stress, a cellular imbalance caused by harmful free radicals. Free radicals are damaging inflammatory byproducts created during normal cell metabolism. (They can accumulate in and damage healthy cells, increasing the risk of cancer and various illnesses.) By neutralising these free radicals, natural extracts help protect cells from damage, decrease systemic inflammation, and slow down the ageing processes that contribute to joint degeneration.


Enhancing joint health on a cellular level with natural extracts have significant long-lasting benefits for horses, prolonging their comfort, mobility, and performance.




To ensure the well-being of your horse, it is crucial to regularly monitor their joint health and promptly seek veterinary care if any pain or discomfort is observed. By actively managing joint health through the use of natural extracts and physical therapy, horse owners can greatly enhance their horses’ quality of life. Alongside comprehensive equine health supplements like UNTAMED HIP & JOINT, incorporating regular exercise and responsible training, a balanced diet, and proper hoof care can further promote joint health and contribute to the overall well-being of your horse.


By taking a proactive and compassionate approach to joint health management you can ensure your horse lives a healthy and fulfilled life, and achieve optimal performance.


Contact us to receive guidance on the best performance horse supplements for optimal equestrian health care. Dr. Jeanne-Marie Lambrechts, our expert naturopath, will respond directly to your inquiries.











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