Evaluation of the effect of a 3-month oral GS/CS supplement on the locomotor pattern of a veteran horse population.
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Introduction: In vitro studies more and more indicate that glucosamine (GS) in combination with chondroitin (CS) may show anti-inflammatory capacities possibly due to interference with the COX-2 pathway. Clinical in vivo studies, however, are limited and comprise only anecdotal, practical, field studies measuring overground locomotion using a home-video system, which shows the need for randomized, controlled, double-blinded studies. Materials and methods: A group of 12 geriatric horses and ponies (mean ± SD: 31 +/- 4 years) received 3 months oral supplementation (GS, CS, MSM, Group A, n=12), while 12 other equids served as control group (Group B). Clinical data were collected overground, while their locomotor performance was objectively measured (Proreflex®) at their own preferable, standard speed on a treadmill at walk and trot (n>5 strides) before and after 3 months of supplement or placebo. Besides the kinematic evaluation, the horses were also scored for their clinical performance on the straight line and the soft and hard circle, at walk and trot, together with a score for the degree of distension of several joints ( carpus, tarsus, pastern and coiffin joint). There has also been a biochemical aspect with this research, by taking bloodsamples to evaluate the concentration of the supplement and the amount of biomarkers in time. Results: There was no significant difference in stride duration between group A and B at walk and at trot. Knee ROM was significantly reduced in group A (p<0.05), but not in group B. Tarsal ROM was significantly reduced with time in both groups (p<0.05), but more in group A than in group B (p<0.10). Fore fetlock maximal extension was significantly increased in both groups (p<0.05), but more in group A than in group B, while fore fetlock maximal flexion after maximal extension was significantly increased in group A (p<0.05), but not in group B; significant differences between A and B were found only at the walk. The clinical evaluation showed small differences within the locomotor performance, negative differences as well as positive differences, but their seems to be no significant change. Evaluation of the bloodsamples is still in process. Conclusion: This study focussed on the effect of an oral supplement at walk and trot on knee and tarsal ROM for locomotor efficacy and fetlock extension for suppleness in a group of older horses and ponies. The group of horses and ponies that received the supplement needed less knee and tarsal ROM and showed more fetlock extension to walk with the same stride duration. Thus, veteran horses and ponies change their locomotion pattern after a 3-month oral glucosamine/chondroitin supplement