What is the correct Glucosamine dosage for horses? Needing enough to be effective, yet not too much for it to go to waste, or worse, be unsafe. Here we untangle how much Glucosamine horses actually need in their diet.
What is Glucosamine?
Glucosamine is an essential component of normal, healthy articular cartilage in horses and humans. Covering the ends of bones when they come together to form joints, healthy articular cartilage is crucial for smooth, functioning joints for movement and performance.
Glucosamine for horses is an indispensable supplement, especially for older horses and those with intense workloads, aiding maintenance and recovery of joint tissue.
Forms Of Glucosamine
Horse owners can buy glucosamine for their horses in many different forms to help maintain joint health and protect joints from injury. The form in which it is administered usually comes down to the owner’s feeding preference or the horse’s preference.
Glucosamine can be administered as a;
Probably the most common form of administration, powdered glucosamine is easy for owners to supplement with correct dosages, normally packaged with a dedicated scoop, and incorporate into their horse’s diet. Combining well with hard feed, most owners will have no problem disguising the taste and appearance of powdered glucosamine for fussy eaters.
For horses who refuse anything out of the ordinary in their feed, syringing liquid glucosamine can be a useful way for owners to administer the supplement and manage joint health. Liquid glucosamine administered via a syringe ensures horses have received an entire dose but can be a difficult administration method for those who struggle with oral medication.
Liquid glucosamine can also be easily added to hard feed with no visual appearance for suspicious horses.
Not as readily available on the equestrian market, some owners find tablet forms of glucosamine the easiest way to ensure their horse receives glucosamine supplementation in their diet.
Pre-packaged and ready to go, there is no need for horse owners to weigh or estimate correct dosages, as all the hard work has already been done. Hiding within tasty treats, such as fruit and vegetables, tends to work well for administering glucosamine tablets.
How much Glucosamine Should I Give To My Horse?
There are many equestrian joint supplements on the market, all with different properties and required dosages. Current equine glucosamine supplements are marketed with an average dosage of approximately 10g per day, and not without reason. This dosage of glucosamine works out at about 0.3g per kg of bodyweight.
Administration of 10g per day, after an initial loading dose, has shown remarkable results in terms of joint range of motion. One study investigating the effects of glucosamine on veteran horses suggested that those who received correct dosages of a glucosamine supplement over a 12-week period, had increased joint range of motion, and increased stride length. In addition, those who were supplemented with glucosamine, as opposed to a placebo supplement, had an increased duration in the swing phase of their stride – this means their gait would have appeared more effortless to the human eye.
The supplementation of 10g of glucosamine in younger horses’ diets has also been suggested as effective. Adding ‘more fuel to the joint health fire’, supplementing 10g of glucosamine in a yearling’s diet was suggested by researchers to reduce the severity of inflammation and increase cartilage turnover after inducing inflammation of joints.
However, when buying a supplement, it is always recommended to read the manufacturer’s guidelines on dosage. Some supplements will contain significantly lower or higher levels of glucosamine, so they will need to be supplemented accordingly for the desired effect.
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