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Home > General > Glucosamine for Horses: Effects, Uses, and Benefits

Glucosamine for Horses: Effects, Uses, and Benefits

glucosamine powder and capsules

If you’ve spent any time looking at different horse feeds and supplements, you’ve likely 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 may have seen it on a supplement meant for people or even dogs.

Its purported benefits range from reducing swelling to neutralizing arthritic pain, but what is glucosamine and how well does it work? Here, we answer all your glucosamine-related questions, so you can know more about this compound to decide if it’s a good choice for your horses.

new horse shoe divider

What Is Glucosamine?

Glucosamine is a natural compound that can be given to 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 horse feeds include glucosamine.


Glucosamine Supplements

Aside from the glucosamine found in horse feeds, you can provide extra glucosamine through supplements. These 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 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. The glucosamine used in horse supplements is usually purer and more concentrated since horses require greater dosing due to their massive size and weight compared to humans and dogs.

There are many supplements centered around glucosamine to aid your horse’s joint health, including Buckeye Nutrition Reasons Joint Support Horse Treats. These contain myriad 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?

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

Of course, the horses that will benefit the 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 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 them 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.


new horse shoe divider

Final Thoughts

Glucosamine is a 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. It can help reduce pain and swelling caused by arthritis, and it can even slow down the arthritic degradation that leads to bone loss. This supplement is also great for healthy horses because it can help 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.

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Featured Image Credit: ElenVik, Shutterstock

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