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Glucosamine For Horses: Effects, Uses, And Things To Know

Dean Eby

If you’ve spent any time looking at different horse feeds and supplements, you’ve almost certainly come across the mention of glucosamine. Many feeds advertise its inclusion and it’s even the staple ingredient of many joint health supplements. Of course, glucosamine isn’t just for horses. In fact, you’re more likely to have seen it on a supplement meant for people or even dogs. Purported benefits range from reduced swelling to neutralizing arthritic pain, but what is glucosamine and how well does it work? We’ll answer all your glucosamine-related questions in this article, and by the end, you’ll know enough about this compound to decide whether or not it’s a good choice for your horses.

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What Is Glucosamine?

Glucosamine is a natural compound that is used for humans, dogs, horses, and other pets. It’s found in cartilage, though supplemental glucosamine is usually lab-made or taken from shellfish shells.

glucosamine powder
Image Credit: ElenVik, Shutterstock

What Does Glucosamine Do?

Glucosamine is often taken as a supplement or supplementally added to foods for its benefits. Research shows that glucosamine is effective at reducing pain and inflammation associated with arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It can even help slow down the degeneration of joints due to arthritis. Granted, most of the research in these areas has been performed on humans, though studies do show that glucosamine decreases inflammation and supports the growth of new cartilage in horses.

Glucosamine isn’t only used as a measure of pain relief or to reduce swelling. Many people supplement with glucosamine to help prevent such conditions from arising in the first place. This is why so many feeds include glucosamine.

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Glucosamine Supplements

Aside from the glucosamine found in horse feeds, you can provide extra glucosamine through supplements. These supplements often come in the form of horse treats, making them easy to feed to your horse. In addition to glucosamine, you’ll find that many of these supplements also include other joint health supplements, such as chondroitin sulfate or methylsulfonylmethane (MSM). Furthermore, glucosamine supplements aimed at horses tend to have far greater amounts of glucosamine than supplements for people or dogs. Plus, the glucosamine used in horse supplements is usually purer and concentrated since horses require greater dosing of glucosamine due to their massive size and weight compared to humans and dogs.

There are many supplements based around glucosamine to aid your horse’s joint health, but one that we really like is the Buckeye Nutrition Reasons Joint Support Horse Treats. These contain a myriad of supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM to help your horse’s joints and reduce pain and inflammation associated with issues like arthritis.

Buckeye Nutrition Reasons Joint Support Horse Treats

What Horses Should Take Glucosamine?

Truthfully, most horses could benefit from taking glucosamine. Even if your horse is perfectly healthy, the benefits that glucosamine offers your horse’s joints can help stave off joint problems for longer than might be the case without supplementation.

Of course, the horses that will benefit most from glucosamine use are those that are currently suffering from joint health problems. Since glucosamine has shown effectiveness at reducing pain and swelling associated with arthritis, as well as the related bone and joint degeneration, it’s the ideal supplement for any horses currently suffering from arthritis. If your horse has arthritis, glucosamine can help it to live more comfortably with reduced pain and swelling, which offers improved mobility and quality of life.

How Much Glucosamine Should A Horse Take?

Horses need far greater doses of glucosamine than humans to see benefits. In studies, horses are often dosed with as much as 20,000 milligrams of glucosamine each day, split up into two doses. While this is a safe dose, you probably don’t need to provide quite as much for your horse to experience the benefits of glucosamine. For most horses, 10,000 milligrams per day will do, and for long-term usage, 5,000 milligrams each day will likely suffice.

Related Read: CBD For Horses: What Is It Good For? Everything You Need To Know!

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Conclusion

Glucosamine is a completely natural compound that occurs in cartilage, though it also appears in other places like the shells of shellfish. When taken as a supplement, glucosamine can provide benefits for many creatures, including horses. This supplement can help to reduce pain and swelling caused by arthritis, and it can even slow down the arthritic degradation of bones that leads to bone loss. It’s also great for healthy horses since it can help to prevent arthritis from setting in. Horses can safely take up to 20,000 milligrams of glucosamine each day, though 5,000 milligrams is likely sufficient for positive long-term benefits in most horses.


Featured Image Credit: ElenVik, Shutterstock

Dean Eby

An avid outdoorsman, Dean spends much of his time adventuring through the diverse terrain of the southwest United States with his closest companion, his dog, Gohan.  He gains experience on a full-time journey of exploration. For Dean, few passions lie closer to his heart than learning.  An apt researcher and reader, he loves to investigate interesting topics such as history, economics, relationships, pets, politics, and more.