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Efficacy of intravenous administration of hyaluronan, sodium chondroitin sulfate, and N-acetyl-d-glucosamine for prevention or treatment of osteoarthritis in horses

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  • 1 Gail Holmes Equine Orthopaedic Research Center, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 2 Gail Holmes Equine Orthopaedic Research Center, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 3 Gail Holmes Equine Orthopaedic Research Center, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 4 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To evaluate the efficacy of IV administration of a product containing hyaluronan, sodium chondroitin sulfate, and N-acetyl-d-glucosamine for prevention or treatment of osteoarthritis in horses.

ANIMALS 32 healthy 2- to 5-year-old horses.

PROCEDURES The study involved 2 portions. To evaluate prophylactic efficacy of the test product, horses received 5 mL of the product (n = 8) or saline (0.9% NaCl) solution (8; placebo) IV every fifth day, starting on day 0 (when osteoarthritis was induced in the middle carpal joint of 1 forelimb) and ending on day 70. To evaluate treatment efficacy, horses received either the product or placebo (n = 8/treatment) on days 16, 23, 30, 37, and 44 after osteoarthritis induction. Clinical, diagnostic imaging, synovial fluid, gross anatomic, and histologic evaluations and other tests were performed. Results of each study portion were compared between treatment groups.

RESULTS Limb flexion and radiographic findings were significantly worse for horses that received the test product in the prophylactic efficacy portion than for placebo-treated horses or product-treated horses in the treatment efficacy portion. In the prophylactic efficacy portion, significantly less articular cartilage erosion was identified in product-treated versus placebo-treated horses. In the treatment efficacy portion, joints of product-treated horses had a greater degree of bone edema identified via MRI than did joints of placebo-treated horses but fewer microscopic articular cartilage abnormalities.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that caution should be used when administering the evaluated product IV to horses, particularly when administering it prophylactically, as it may have no benefit or may even cause harm.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Frisbie (david.frisbie@colostate.edu).