Joint inflammation and osteoarthritis (OA) are common issues in competition horses. These conditions often lead to decreased performance and lameness.
Veterinarians can treat OA via joint injections, which involve placing drugs directly into the joint capsule. Some drugs commonly used include corticosteroids, polysulfated glycosaminoglycans, and hyaluronic acid. Biologic therapies like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cells can also be used.
Vets determine which drugs to use and how often to administer them based on their clinical experience; this is often guided by anecdotal evidence rather than scientific findings. This lack of direct comparisons between treatment options means there are no guidelines for how often a joint should be injected – or for which treatment is best.